Thursday, January 17, 2008


Here is a short description of the life of Saint Winifred, which was edited from "A Dictionary Of Saintly Women" by Agnes Dunbar:

Gwenfrewy, more commonly called Winifred, was a descendant of the early Kings of Powys and the daughter of Tyfid, a great and rich man in North Wales: Lord of the townships of Abeluyc (Trefynnon alias Holywell), Maenwen & Gwenffynnon in Tegeingl. After being harassed by some young Princes of Powys, her uncle, St. Beuno, decided to move home with his family and offered to become Winifred's teacher in return for some land on which to build a church. Tyfid gave him Abeluyc and here, in the steep Valley of Sechnant, Beuno set up house. Daily, he instructed Winifred in the little church he had built and, eventually, gave her the religious veil, with the approval of her father and mother.

One day, Winifred's parents and their servants were all at church, Beuno was officiating, and Winifred was left alone in the house. While they were out, Caradog, son of Prince Alaog, Lord of Pennarlag (Hawarden alias Pennard Halawg) rode by and stopped at the house to ask for a drink. He was so overcome by Winifred's beauty, that he made improper suggestions and, when rejected, moved to force himself upon her. Winifred fled to join her family at Abeluyc. The young horseman easily overtook her, however, and, in a fit of rage, cut off her head on the steps of the church (22nd June).

Caradog stood with his sword in his hand, unable either to stir from the spot or to repent. At all the commotion, St. Beuno came rushing outside. Distraught, he cursed the young prince for his terrible crime, who immediately dropped down dead and was whisked away by devils. Beuno informed the assembled Christians that Winifred had vowed to die a martyr to her virginity and Christianity. Then he took up her head from the ground and set it back in its rightful place.
From where it had fallen, there instantly sprang up a well of pure clear water. At the same time, he commanded the congregation to pray that Winifred might be restored to life and fulfil her vow; and, when they arose from praying, she arose with them. For the rest of her life she had a red mark round her throat where it had been sliced through.

For the full story, go to this page about St. Winifred.

Winifred finally died in 660 AD, and this story about her life didn't get transcribed until about four centuries later - enough time for the fantastical to blend in with the truth in the retellings. For alls I know, as Stuart Best would say, she got nicked on the neck by Caradog, that dog. And that simple tale got blown out of proportion into her losing her head.

As far as the St. Winifred of the real world, that is......

But when it comes to Toobworld, I fully support the legend. After all, this is a world in which your wife could be a witch and your uncle a Martian; a world full of talking cars, talking horses, talking dogs, talking toasters, and singing toilets. Just this week I watched a cyborg pixie toss around a cyborg linebacker and that in a week when there was hardly anything of interest for Toobworld due to the writers' strike. Imagine how much more wonders can be seen when all of the shows are up and running!

So a woman who gets her head lopped off and then reattached to continue living? All in a day's work for Toobworld, even back in the 7th Century!

But don't tell Benny16 that I'm going around saying that!

Toby OB

No comments: