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On his first landing on the eastern coast a tall savage man named Dichu, attended by a no less savage dog, attacked him in presence of a large crowd, and both in a moment became as stiff in joint and limb as if they were made of stone. At the saint's intercession they were restored to power and flexibility, but their savage nature had quitted them, and Dichu becoming a convert, granted his large barn to the Apostle for the purpose of worship. The tradition of the incident was transmitted in the name of the better-built church which succeeded it, and was called Sahal Fhadruig (Patrick's Barn).

Patrick approached the royal fortress at the end of Holy Week, and on Easter Saturday evening was reading the offices suitable to the occasion in his temporary lodging, some distance eastward from Tara. It happened to be the eve of the Bealtein [a] when no fire was to be seen through the length and breadth of the land. As darkness fell, the king, and his nobles, and his Druids, all assembled on the hill and the neighbouring plain, were awaiting the propitious moment for lighting the Sun's Fire. Watchers were stationed on every high hill through the whole island at the moment, their eyes turned in the direction of Tara; and as each caught sight of the blaze on a height in that direction, he lighted his own heap of dry brush with sparks struck from flint stones. A portion of the rest of the night's occurrences is legendary.

[a] The latest day on which Easter Sunday falls is the 26th of April. Bealteiné was held on May 1st; no authority hitherto consulted by us has alluded to this discrepancy.

Next: St Patrick's Contest with the Druids