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St Patrick

10 11 escaPIng slaVery visions and pledges One night, while fasting, presumably as a selfimposed religious discipline, Patrick had his first vision. It is good that you fast, as you will soon go home, a voice said. Look Your ship is ready. He escaped across two hundred miles of Irish terrain, and found a departing boat. Its captain initially refused Patrick, though he offered the wherewithal for his travel, but then the crew invited him, even though he refused to suck their nipples. This must have been a ritual for binding oaths of loyalty and is the only information Patrick gives about pagan customs. Male nipples must have had a particular symbolic significance in Ireland an Irish Iron Age human sacrifice recently found in a bog had his nipples cut off. Instead Patrick said he would come in the faith of Jesus Christ. I suspect the crew intended offering their services in Britain as mercenaries or labourers, and took Patrick along as a useful guide. On arrival they wandered through wasteland for twentyeight days, starving. Were they keeping low until they found a community that wanted them The captain taunted Patrick that his Christian god was not helping them, he refused some honey as it came from a pagan offering, but they all gave great thanks to God when they came upon a flock of pigs, which they slaughtered and feasted on. After that, and probably suffering from the effects of a glut of pork on a starved stomach, Patrick had his sleep paralysis experience at dawn the next morning.
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