In the year of our Lord 687, in cause of an early, wet spring, the body of Saint Cuthbert was laid in the ground to rest. On the tomb were figured angels and seraphim of plain but wonderful design. And among these flitted cherubs, like apricots set into the stone. Thus carved, the tomb was set upon a patch of ground a low word’s reach from the road, where wild grass grew and flowering thyme.
But as is often the case with men and women of such holy incorporation, this was not the end of what God had planned. For not two weeks after the body was laid to rest, a certain woman passed by on the road that went through that place. Now, this woman had long wished for a child to cherish, and to dandle upon her knee, but never as yet had she been able to conceive. Passing by the tomb, she happened to murmur her wonted prayer, and went her way. And by the time she stepped across her own threshold some four leagues thence, she knew a change in her body, and felt a quickening that had not been there before. And before the year was out, she had given birth to a daughter—whom she called Murmur, for that with the intercession of the holy saint, she had by a murmur been called into life.
But such is the power of those whom God has favored that this was by no means the end of what took place. For it happened that not long after, a young man, bald as an egg, and with no hair even where on another the eyebrows might be found, walked all the way from Lincoln in order to kneel at the tomb and pray. This being accomplished, at once a mustache began to sprout upon his upper lip, and so speedily did it grow and so full that the young man rose and hurried home for fear that it should become yet thicker and cause him to fall into the sin of Pridefulness.
Nor indeed was the power of the saint yet exhausted. For this young man had been delivered in the week of Lammas, and before Saint Martin’s Day was come and gone, a little dog—lazy and intractable and altogether accounted a rather foolish dog and of little ability, so that none had a care for it nor wished for its service—chanced to stray by the place where the body was laid. Being lost, and night beginning to fall, the little dog leaped up onto the tomb all covered with angels, and curled itself up in a ball, and there fell asleep. And coming away from that place in the morning, the dog was able to sit and roll over, and to speak the French language, and to hover some inches above the ground before returning safely. All this though prior to that day it had been quite uninstructable in even the meanest study.
Yet for all that these events were surpassing remarkable, greater still were the miracles concerning the body itself. For in the year 698, in cause of a widening of the road, the body of the holy saint was disinterred that the tomb might be lifted and removed farther off. But when the tomb was opened, the monks were exceedingly astonished to find the saint’s body still fresh, and its clothes undecayed, and the joints still flexible as they had been in life, so that it appeared to be but sleeping there in the tomb.
In the year 708, the tomb was opened once again at the request of the bishop Eadfrith. And once again the monks had astonishment for their meat, for this time they found that the body gave forth a sweet odor as of campion, and was even more flexible than it had been before, and could touch the palms of its hands to the bottoms of its feet without taxing itself in the least. It was observed, moreover, that the saint’s beard had not ceased to grow, but had become full and luxurious, and of an alluring curl, so that though the body was to all observance that of an old man, yet there was to it a freshness not easily told. In 712, the eyelashes were seen to be long and full, and a handsome yet modest blush was observed in the cheek. In 718, the whiteness of the teeth could scarce be believed, and with no apparent effort could the body sombresaut, and spring backward, and stand upon its head.
And when, in 751, the tomb was for the fifth time opened, Saint Cuthbert’s incorruptible body arose and walked out.