Total Pageviews

Sunday 25 January 2015

Dying Like Christ Between Two Thieves

As is well known, Christ died on the cross between two thieves, namely Dimas and Gestas, and on the third hour gave up the ghost. According to Mark 15:34, ‘And at the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a load voice, “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The cross, or crucifix, remains the central religious symbol of Christianity.
            As the crucifixion is one of the central themes of Christianity theology, it has left a powerful and influential resonance on many aspects of iconography, art, literature a well as folktales. The following tale was recorded, amongst other religious tales, and transcribed shortly afterwards by Calum Maclean on the 18th of February 1951 from the recitation of John MacDonald of Highbridge, Brae Lochaber:

Duine Nach Robh Airson Tachairt ris an Donas

Bha duine anns an dùthaich seo agus bha e gu math easlainteach. Agus bha an lighiche a’ freasdal dha cho math is a b’ urrainn dà agus bhiodh am pears-eaglais a’ tighinn a choimhead air. Ach ’s e an co-dhùnadh gus an tàinig iad, nach robh e a’ dol a dh’fhaotainn a’ chuid a b’ fheàrr dheth. Agus an oidhche a bha seo, thuirt an lighiche ris:
“Rinn mi mo dhìcheall airson an t-slàinte a thoirt dut, ach tha e a’ fairtleachadh orm.”
“Agus ’s e an t-aon rud a th’ ann: ma tha tiomanadh agad ri dhèanadh na airgead agad,” thuirt e, “dèan an-dràst’ e fhad ’s a tha an dithist againn a-staigh, mi fhìn agus am pears-eaglais.”
“Ma-tà, tha ceud not agam,” thuirt e.
“O, tha glè mhath agad,” thuirt e, “ach tha aon rud ann,” thuirt e. “Bha mi a’ tighinn cho tric is a b’ urrainn domh a choimhead ort agus bidh mi ag iarraidh leth-cheud not dhe seo.”
“O, ma-tà, chan eil agad ach a ghabhail,” thuirt e. “Gheibh thu e.”
Thuirt am pears-eaglais an uair seo:
“Bha mise a’ dèanadh mo dhìcheall cuideachd air do shon agus tha mi a’ dol a chur dùrachd math na do chridhe: a bhith a’ cuimhneachadh air an t-slighe air a bheil thu a’ dol agus a bith cuimhneach daonnan air an Aon Neach. Agus mar sin, bidh mise a’ tagairt leth-cheud eile.”
“Gheibh thu e.”
“A-nise bi daonnan cuimhneach air an Aon Neach a tha sin, agus chan eagal dut. Agus na cuireadh e cùram sam bith ort.”
“Chan e an Aon Neach sin a tha a’ cur cùram orm-sa idir,” thuirt e, “ach am bugair dubh eile (G303.2.4.). Shin am fear a tha a’ cur orm-sa,” thuirt e.
Agus ghlaodh e an uair sin a-nuas air a’ mhnaoi: “Thig a-nuas, Ealasaid.”
Dh’innis e dhith gun robh esan a’ dol a chaochladh, mar a dh’innis iad dhà. Thòisich i air gal ’s air cur dhith:
“O, na bidh a’ gal na caoineadh,” thuirt e. “Na bi a’ gal, a ghalghad,” thuirt e. “Nach eil mi a’ dol a dh’fhaotainn a cheart-bhàs agus a fhuair Crìosda, eadar dà mheairleach (X313.). Agus fan iad glè shàmhach. Chan eil fhios ’m nach ann a shlaodas iad dhìot na lùirichean a th’ ort agus nach fhàg iad falamh thu, mar a dh’fhàg iad Crìosda.”

And the translation goes something like the following:

A Man Who Did Not Wish To Meet the Devil

There was a man in the locality and he was quite ill. The physician who was attending him did his best and there would also be a clergyman who would come and visit. But the decision they came to was that he wasn’t going to get any better. On this night, the physician said to him:
“I’ve done my best for you to try to make you better but I’ve failed.”
“But there is one thing: if you have to make a will or if you’re to bequeth your money,” he said, “do it just now while the both of us are here, myself and the clergyman.”
“Well, I have a hundred pounds,” he said.
“O, that’s very good,” he said, “but there’s one other thing. “I came here as often as I could to see you and I want fifty pounds of this sum.”
“Well, then, you only have to take it,” he said. “You’ll get it.”
Then the clergyman said:
“I was doing my best as well for you and I’m going to give a good blessing to your heart: to remember the way in which you are going and to always remember the One Good God. And, so, I wish to have the other fifty pounds.”
“You’ll get it.”
“Now always remember the One True God, and don’t be afraid. Don’t let anything trouble you.”
“It’s not the One True God that is troubling me at all,” he said, “but the other black bugger (G303.2.4.). That’s the very thing that’s trouble me.”
He then shouted for his wife: “Come down, Elizabeth.”
He told her that he was going to die, just as they had told him. She started to crying and lamenting (cur dhith).
“Oh, don’t be crying or lamenting,” he said, “Don’t cry, my dear for am I not going to suffer the very same death as Christ: between two thieves (X313.). And they remained very quiet. I don’t know whether they’ll steal the jewels from you and they’ll leave you empty handed, just as they left Christ.”

This international tale has been classified as ATU 1860B and the summary may be given as follows:

1860B Dying like Christ – between two Thieves. A dying man and his wife summon the lawyer and the notary (clergyman and sexton). When they stand both sides of his deathbed, he says he feels like the dying Christ, between two thieves [X313].

Variants of this international tale have been collected from far afield as America, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany and Finland.

SSS NB 3, pp. 283–85

Christ being crucified between two thieves

No comments:

Post a Comment