Today is the feast day of St Mungo, so let us unearth one of his diary entries, for this day in 573, precisely one thousand five hundred and forty years ago.
Woke up in the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Sausages for breakfast. Thought about building another cathedral but quite honestly did not feel up to it. While I knelt in the muck praying, a messenger person came hurrying along and told me that a mad prophet by the name of Lailoken was rampaging about the place. He is apparently one of those wild men of the woods, the only difference being that he spouts prognostications which have the effect of turning the heads of the peasantry away from the glory of Christ Jesus.
“Can you do something holy to bring an end to his mischief?” said the messenger person.
“I shall see what I can do,” I said, wearily, for forsooth I was weary and footsore and had many another malady as tend to afflict those of us living in such barbaric times.
I struggled up from my knees and tottered off towards that part of the blasted and inhospitable countryside where this mad fellow was reportedly to be found. On my way I saw a bird that never flew and a tree that never grew and a bell that never rang and a fish that never swam. It is not often you see a bird and a tree and a bell and a fish all together in close proximity. A bird and a tree together, yes, and conceivably a bird and a tree and a bell, but the fish as well, that seemed anomalous. I wondered if it might be a miracle sent by the Lord. If so, what did it portend? These are weighty matters of great spiritual significance.
Something that is most definitely not of great spiritual significance is the raving of this wild man Lailoken, who I found cutting capers at the edge of the forest. He was engarbed in animal pelts and exceedingly wild and hairy. I brandished a jewel-encrusted crucifix from the cathedral at him and bid him desist on pain of hellfire. It started to rain and he retreated into the woods. I blessed a few Strathclyde peasants who were loitering thereabouts and was pleased to hear them begin wailing and keening my name over and over again – “Mungo! Mungo! Mungo!”, they wailed and keened. It was music to my ears.
In the evening I had a bath and an eerie premonition of death in a bath at some point early in the next century. Oo-er, missus!