Saint Patrick's boyhood name was Maewyn Succat. You will notice his last named ended with the word "cat." Ahem, so that probably means that once upon a time, when he was all grown up and had escaped being a slave and then the pirates, and finished with his church schooling and returned to Ireland, he really probably had a cat. History doesn't Record him having a cat, but all good Irishmen have cats so he must have had one. How could you have a name like Succat and Not have a cat?

In 1932, while prowling through the old and musty antique books in a little shop near Braemar, Scotland, I ran across an old scroll. It had lots of torn edges and faded words on vellum and smelled vaguely of catnip. It was in Latin, but I was able to translate as strange a story as I've ever read. This was the title, written in flourished letters with green colored ink .


Along with the text were a few old drawings, hand colored of course. I tried to reproduce them and think I've done a pretty good job. They almost look like photographs now. Sadly, the drawings are all I have left. During the Blitz, when London was being bombed almost nightly, the scroll was destroyed.


Here follows the story as best I can remember it...


Way back when, around 432 AD, there were Lots of snakes in Ireland. Wee serpents you could hold in your palm, medium sized serpents who hid under rocks, and huge serpents who killed the cloven hoofed beasts. No one remembered a time when there were no snakes.

About this time a Monk and his cat sailed into the Lough. They had traveled far, all the way from Gaul (France). The man's name was Father Patrick and his cat was known as Sydney. Sydney was born in Scotland of a fine and prosperous feline family. When he was a young bairn he'd hitched a ride with the Fairies when they moved to France. As you know, Fairies move every six months. Father Patrick didn't know this. He'd never asked Sydney were he was born. He never believed in Fairies either. They met while Father Patrick was journeying to reach his ship, and Sydney, who was homesick for Scotland, figured if he hitched a ride to Ireland, he could eventually return home. Poor Sydney hadn't been able to find the Fairies for six years and had decided not to wait on them.

After they anchored and disembarked, they traveled around the northeast part of Ireland. Father Patrick would tell Sydney stories of his childhood - how he had guarded the beasts of the field from snakes being a favorite theme. The good Father didn't care much for snakes. Sydney didn't really care one way or the other.

One day, Father Patrick told Sydney that he'd once laid down in the field on the rocks. For a guy who didn't like snakes, Sydney thought that was pretty strange. And pretty uncomfortable. Sydney tried it just to see. Yes, it was Very uncomfortable.



Lots O Snakes

Sydney On The Rocks



Next Page Link