Friday, February 19, 2010

Irish Saints and other Human Oddities

In the course of researching my new novel—(what a terrible thrill I just got when I typed that!)—I came across a delightful book called Irish Eccentrics by Peter Somerville-Large. The chapter on "Miracle Makers, Rhymers, Witches, Giants and Oddities" is especially weird and entertaining:

There were ten speckled saints and eleven leper saints. Others more fantastical had attributes connected with ancient fertility beliefs. Many were prolific, like the female saint, Darerca, who had seventeen sons and two daughters. The sons all became bishops while the daughters remained virgins. A bisexual like Mochue Cicheach had remarkable breasts which 'fed babies of future eminence.' Other saints had three and even four breasts. Others were odder still, like Fer Caille, who had buttocks like cheese, one arm and one leg and a long enough nose to be looped around the branch of a tree.

(No, I'm not making this up.)

More excerpts to follow...

4 comments:

Daniel said...

Wow - those are awesome! Nose long enough to wrap around the tree... Does it have Saint Moling? I read about him once that he was like the saintly version of Renfield - he ate a bird that ate a spider that ate a fly, then barfed up the bird who barfed up the spider who barfed up the fly, and they were all unharmed! Sorry to write "barf" so many times in your comments :) Thanks for sharing this!

Pare said...

Well, gee, doesn't the cover say it all?

Kate said...

"Buttock like cheese" ... where do you find this stuff?! ;)

Camille said...

Cheese and butts. Right up your alley.