19th February

Brynach And His Stags

Swear by the swift deer and the gazelles that you will not interrupt our love. Song of Songs 3: 5

Brynach was a hermit in 6th. century Pembrokeshire, who every so often felt God leading him to move on and make another little hermitage which he would furnish with his meagre belongings. But how would he move his furniture, books and kitchenware?

This man who had no human or worldly support, had developed such a harmony with creation, that he felt even wild animals were part of a support network. So when the time came for a move, he would “invite” two of the most friendly stags from the nearby herd, and tie his furniture to them. They went ahead of Brynach, with all his belongings, to his new abode. When Brynach took the yoke off them, they returned to the rest of the herd.

Brynach also selected an especially productive cow, and introduced her to a wolf. Each day the wolf would lead this one cow to a particularly lush patch of pasture, and bring it back at evening. In this way Brynach always had ample milk, and a good security system.

This Pembrokeshire hermit emerges from the mists of legend as a person at peace with both the natural and the supernatural world. It was said that he frequently met and talked with angels on the mountain between Nevern and Newport, which, as a result, became known as The Mount of Angels (‘Carn Ingli’).

Almighty Creator, you have made all creatures.
The world cannot express
even though the grasses and trees should sing,
all your glories, provisions and riches.
O Lord, how glorious you are.