St. Columba and the Loch Ness Monster: The Earliest Extant Story

David Russell Mosley

Description English: Columba banging on the gate of Bridei, son of Maelchon, King of Fortriu. Date	1906 (published) Source	Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall, Scotland's Story Author	J. R. Skelton (Joseph Ratcliffe Skelton; 1865–1927) (illustrator), erroneously credited as John R. Skelton Permission (Reusing this file)	 PD-art

Ordinary Time
25 July 2017
The Edge of Elfland
Hudson, New Hampshire

Dearest Readers,

Did you know that the story of the Loch Ness Monster dates back to at least the seventh century (c. 697) when Adomnán, ninth abbot of Iona, wrote his Life of St. Columba? In all likelihood, the story goes back even further since it is about Columba who lived between c.521-597. Even if we were to assume the story was untrue and not indicative of any even in the saint’s life (which even the translator of my edition, Richard Sharpe, does not believe, though he assumes the monster may have been a walrus or some other such beast), we can easily assume that a story about the Loch Ness Monster, or in this case, the River Ness Monster is over 1100 years old. So, without further ado, here is the story of “How a water beast was driven off by the power of the blessed man’s prayer.”

Read the Rest at Letters from the Edge of Elfland.


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