ST. BRIGID'S CLOAK

From Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts by Patrick Kennedy

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The King of Leinster at that time was not particularly generous, and St. Brigid found it not easy to make him contribute in a respectable fashion to her many charities. One day when he proved more than usually niggardly, she at last said, as it were in jest: "Well, at least grant me as much land as I can cover with my cloak;" and to get rid of her importunity he consented.

They were at the time standing on the highest point of ground of the Curragh, and she directed four of her sisters to spread out the cloak preparatory to her taking possession. They accordingly took up the garment, but instead of laying it flat on the turf, each virgin, with face turned to a different point of the compass, began to run swiftly, the cloth expanding at their wish in all directions. Other pious ladies, as the border enlarged, seized portions of it to preserve something of a circular shape, and the elastic extension continued till the breadth was a mile at least. "Oh, St. Brigid!" said the frighted king, "what are you about?" "I am, or rather my cloak is about covering your whole province to punish you for your stinginess to the poor." "Oh, come, come, this won't do. Call your maidens back. I will give you a decent plot of ground, and be more liberal for the future." The saint was easily persuaded. She obtained some acres, and if the king held his purse-strings tight on any future occasion she had only to allude to her cloak's India-rubber qualities to bring him to reason.

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