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where it had alighted, and, as if it were a tame bird, came to her, and she took it in her hands, and held it there as if it had been lifeless. What then did the girl do? She carried it home, showed it to her father, and to him and the rest of the family related in what manner it had come to her hands. Some of them said, let us kill and eat it :' others said, do not hurt it, but let it go.' So the girl opened her hand, to see what it would do. The pigeon, finding itself at liberty, fled to the ground, and joined the poultry which were then picking up their food, nor did it afterwards go from the house, but remained in their company as if it belonged to them.
“ All therefore regarding, with no common wonder, the remarkable tameness of this pigeon, which indeed was not a tame bird but a' wild one, they went to a priest in the adjacent city, and acquainted him with the circumstances.
The priest, giving good counsel to the girl and her father, as he was bound to do, said, we will go together to our Lord the Bishop on Sunday, and act as he may think proper to direct us in this matter.' Accordingly on the Sunday they went to Pistoja, and presented the pigeon to the Bishop, who with his Canons was then devoutly celebrating mass in honour of Santiago, upon the holy altar which had been consecrated to his honour. The Prelate, when he had listened to their story, took the bird, and placed it upon the wall of the chancel, which is round about the altar of Santiago, and there it remained three weeks, never departing from thence, excepting that sometimes, and that very seldom, it flew about the church, but always returned without delay to its own station, and there mildly, gently, harmlessly, and tamely continued; and rarely did it take food.
“ But people from Lucca, and other strangers, plucked feathers from its neck, that they might carry them away for devotion, and moreover, that they might exhibit them to those who had not seen the bird itself. From such injuries it never attempted to defend itself, though its neck was skinned by this plucking, and this the unthinking people continued to do,
till at length the pigeon paid the debt of nature. And it was no wonder that it died; for how could any creature live that scarcely ever ate or slept ? People came thither night and day from all parts, and one after another disturbed it; and every night vigils were kept there, the clergy and the people with loud voices singing praises to the Lord, and many lights were continually burning there : how, therefore, could it live, when it was never allowed to be at rest? The clergy and people grieving at its death, as indeed it was a thing to be lamented, took counsel, and hung up the skin and feathers to be seen there by all comers.
“ In such and so great a matter what could be more gratifying, what more convenient than this wonderful sign which the Almighty was pleased to give us ? There is no need to relate anything more concerning the aforesaid pigeon; it was seen there openly and publicly by all comers, so that not only the laity and clergy of that city, but many religious people from other parts, abbots, friars, clergy, and laity, are able to attest the truth. And I also add this my testimony as a true and faithful witness, for I saw the pigeon myself for a whole week, and actually touched it with my own hands."
There is a postscript to this story, as melancholy as the tale itself. The sick, and the crippled, and the lame, had been brought to this church, in expectation of obtaining a miraculous cure by virtue of the new relics which had arrived. Among these was a poor woman in the last stage of disease, who had been brought upon her pallet into the church, and was laid in a corner, and left there ; nor was it observed that this poor creature was in articulo mortis, till the pigeon flew to the place, and alighted upon her, and so drew the attention of the people in the church to the dying woman, quam quidem, prout credimus, nisi columba monstrasset, nemo morientem vidisset. They removed her out of the church just before she breathed her last, . . and in consequence of this miracle, as it was deemed, they gave her an honourable funeral. — Acta Sanctorum, Jul. t. vi. p. 64.
What became of the halter I know not,
- p. 263.
“ Antiguedad sagrada, el que se arriedra
De te, sera su verso falto y manco.”.
So Christoval de Mesa observes when he proceeds to relate how the rude stone, upon which the disciples of Santiago laid his body when they landed with it in Spain, formed itself into a sepulchre of white marble. El Patron de España, ff. 68.