21st February

Piran And His Animal Monastery

Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats. Isaiah 11: 6

When Piran arrived in Cornwall he lay down to sleep under a tree which a wild boar used to frequent. At first the wild boar kept away out of fright, but soon it sensed the child-like love in Piran, and they became friends. Piran thought of him as his first monk, and the boar did, indeed, become a servant of community. It tore branches and grass with its teeth with which to make a simple cell. Soon, other forest animals came along to join Piran and the boar; these included a fox, a badger, a wolf and a doe. Piran regarded them all as his monks.

However, as you might expect, the fox was more crafty than the others. He stole Piran’s shoes, abandoned the “monastery”, and chewed the shoes back at his old lair. Piran talked to the badger about this. The badger went to the fox, bit him, and with his fur in his mouth, pulled him back to the “monastery”.

‘Why have you done this, my brother, which is something a monk should never do?’ Piran asked the fox. “We all share the same water and the same food; and if you were hungry, God would have turned the bark of this tree into food for you.’ The fox became penitent, and showed this by refraining from eating until Piran gave the go ahead. From then on, all the animals lived at peace with Piran as their ‘abbot’.

Deep harmony of the forest be mine
Child-like love for God’s creatures be mine
Growing trust in God’s providence be mine