Here next followeth the Life of Saint Cuthbert of Durham.
Saint Cuthbert was born in England, and when he was eight years old our Lord showed for him a fair miracle for to draw him to his love. For on a time, as he played at the ball with other children, suddenly there stood among them a fair young child of the age of three years, which was the fairest creature that ever they beheld, and anon he said to Cuthbert: Good brother, use no such vain plays, ne set not thy heart on them. But for all that Cuthbert took none heed to his words, and then this child fell down and made great heaviness, wept sore and wrung his hands, and then Cuthbert and the other children left their play and comforted him, and demanded of him why he made such sorrow. Then the child said to Cuthbert: All mine heaviness is only for thee, because thou usest such vain plays, for our Lord hath chosen thee to be an head of holy church; and then suddenly he vanished away. And then he knew verily that it was an angel sent from our Lord to him, and from then forthon he left all such vain plays and never used them more, and began to live holily. And then he desired of his father that he might be set to school, and anon he drew him to perfect living, for he was ever in his prayers, night and day, and most desired of our Lord to do that which might please him and eschew that should displease him. And he lived so virtuously and holily, that all the people had joy of him, and within a while after, Aidanus the bishop died. And as Cuthbert kept sheep in the field, looked upward and saw angels bear the soul Aidanus the bishop to heaven with great melody. And after that Saint Cuthhert would no more keep sheep but went anon to the abbey of Jervaulx, and there he was a monk, of whom all the convert were right glad, and thanked our Lord that had sent him thither. For he lived there full holily, in fasting and great penance doing. And at last he had the gout in his knees, which he had taken of cold in kneeling upon the cold stones when he said his prayers, in such wise that his knees began to swell and the sinews of his leg were shrunk that he might neither go nor stretch out his leg, but ever he took it full patiently and said: When it pleaseth our Lord it shall pass away.
And within a while after, his brethren for to do him comfort bare him into the field, and there they met with a knight which said: Let me see and handle this Cuthbert’s leg; and then when he had felt it with his hands, he bade them take the milk of a cow of one colour, and the juice of small plantain, and fair wheat flour, and seethe them all together, and make thereof a plaister and lay it thereto and it will make him whole. And as soon as they had so done he was perfectly whole, and then he thanked our Lord full meekly. And after, he knew by revelation that it was an angel sent by our Lord to heal him of his great sickness and disease.
And the abbot of that place sent him to a cell of theirs to be hosteler, for to receive their guests and do them comfort, and soon after our Lord showed there a fair miracle for his servant Saint Cuthbert, for angels came to him oft-times in likeness of other guests, whom he received and served diligently with meat and drink and other necessaries. On a time there came guests to him whom he received, and went into the houses of office for to serve them, and when he came again they were gone, and went after for to call and could not espy them, ne know the steps of their feet, how well that it was then a snow; and when he returned he found the table laid and thereon three fair white loaves of bread all hot which were of marvellous beauty and sweetness, for all the place smelled of the sweet odour of them. Then he knew well that the angels of our Lord had been there, and rendered thankings to our Lord that he had sent to him his angels for to comfort him.
And every night when his brethren were abed he would go and stand in the cold water all naked up to the chin till it were midnight, and then he would issue out, and when he came to land he might not stand for feebleness and faintness, but oft fell down to the ground. And on a time as he lay thus, there came two otters which licked every place of his body, and then went again to the water that they came from. And then Saint Cuthbert arose all whole and went to his cell again, and went to matins with his brethren. But his brethren knew nothing of his standing thus every night in the sea to the chin, but at the last one of his brethren espied it and knew his doing, and told him thereof, but Saint Cuthbert charged him to keep it secret and tell no man thereof during his life. And after this within a while the bishop of Durham died, and Saint Cuthbert was elected and sacred bishop in his stead after him, and ever after he lived full holily unto his death, and, by his preaching and ensample giving, he brought much people to good living. And tofore his death he left his bishopric and went into the holy island, where he lived an holy and solitary life, unto that he being full of virtues, rendered his soul unto Almighty God and was buried at Durham, and after translated, and the body laid in a fair and honourable shrine, where as yet daily our Lord showeth for his servant there many fair and great miracles. Wherefore let us pray unto this holy saint that he pray for us.