Saturday, March 16, 2013

Decorative relief carved Celtic Hound ceramic tile

4x18 relief carved Celtic Hound tile
Today I'd like to share a wee story about Patrick MacAlpern, better known today simply as St.Patrick and how his life was strangely entwined with Irish Wolfhounds. Now when he was but a lad of sixteen, Patrick MacAlpern, as he was known, was abducted and taken far from his home in Ireland. For six years he was kept enslaved as a shepherd, a hound being his sole companion. Then one night a dream came to Patrick that foretold of a ship that would return him to his homeland. Following his dream some 200 miles to the coast he finally found the ship, making ready to travel from Gaul to Ireland with a cargo of stolen Wolf hounds. Well now as a penniless, runaway slave, Patrick was not at first very well received when he tried to board the ship. But the Captain had noticed the lad seemed to have a calming effect on dogs, with over a hundred furious and frantic giant hounds stolen from their homes in the hold, Patrick might be just what the captain needed. So in exchange for caring for the hounds Patrick received his passage home. After some time at sea, the very badly provisioned and very off course ship reached a bleak and deserted shore somewhere in Gaul. With nothing left to feed dogs or men, the ship was abandoned and the crew with hounds (worth much more than the ship) headed inland. After not too long a time of finding no food or inhabitants on their trek, dying of starvation seemed eminent for them all. The captain, being in a, not surprisingly, foul humor and having learned that Patrick was a Christian, said to him tauntingly ' If your Christian god is so great as your always saying boy, then pray him to send food!' Patrick did just that, and low and behold a herd of wild boars just appeared, seemingly from nowhere. I tell you, the swine did not run, but stayed within reach while the starving men with assistance from the hounds killed enough to feed everyone. Predictably, Patricks reputation among the men rose considerably after such a miracle. So when the scoundrels finally found their way to the civilized world and the ill gotten dogs were sold, the ships crew gifted Patrick MacAlpern with a wee meager bit of money and food to help the lad resume his journey home to Ireland, not a word of a lie.

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