Poem introduction

St Brigid of Ireland has had many miracle stories told about her. Often these show her to be kind and generous. Sometimes she manages to increase food and drink to feed unexpected guests. For it was said that, as a young cow-girl, Brigid could draw more milk from a cow than anyone else. She has a special way with animals.

St Brigid and the Baker

As Brigid was walking
the old narrow track
she passed by a baker
with bread in his sack.

She put out a hand
from the fold of her cloak,
and these are the words
she softly spoke:

“Please give me a loaf
for my sisters and me,
and we’ll share it tonight
as we sit to our tea.”

But the baker, he muttered
and shook a mean head.
“If you want to eat, sister,
then bake your own bread.”

She looked in his eyes then,
but all that she found
was a stare that was hard
as the stones on the ground.

So Brigid passed quietly
along the hard track
as the bread turned to stone
on the baker’s back.


from Plum (Barn Owl Books 1998), © Tony Mitton 1998, used by permission of David Higham Associates Ltd on behalf of the author

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