Monday, 11 October 2010

Nine Things You Didn't Know About Edward the Confessor

8. He had a lot of visions. One day he was in church and at the moment of the elevation, he burst out laughing. Afterwards, the people around him asked what was so funny.

Edward said he had seen a vision: "The king of the Danes was making preparations with a countless army and a great fleet of ships to come and harry our land, and just as he was stepping up into his ship from a boat, he fell overboard and was drowned."

Not the funniest story I've ever heard, but it has a certain slapstick charm.

Another time, he was sitting at a feast and, again, burst out laughing. He was asked what he saw, and he said that the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus had been lying on their right sides for two hundred years, and he laughed because he saw them turn over to their left sides. They would lie on the left side for forty-eight years, and in that time there would be much upheaval and turmoil in the world. Apparently "he described them as exactly as though he had often stood by the Seven Sleepers," although how you would know, I'm not sure...

(These slightly bizarre stories are found in the earliest lives of Edward, and also in the fourteenth-century Icelandic saga about him, Játvarðar saga).

No comments: