The Story of Tundale

By Edward O'Shaughnessy

Tundale was an Irish knight, a brave man, a good soldier, but unfortunately he led a bad life. The following story of his conversion made such an impression that it was translated into German, French, Italian, English, Norman, Norse and Irish. It was written by an Irish monk about the year 1149.

Once, when sitting at table, Tundale became unconscious and would have been buried had not his body retained some warmth. He remained in this unconscious state from Wednesday to Saturday.

On regaining consciousness, he was completely changed, gave thanks to God and did several penances for his past life. He told his friends that his soul seemed to have left his body and he found himself surrounded by demons, who strove to take him to Hell, but his angel guardian appeared and drove them away. Tundale told the angel how grievously he suffered and the angel in reply said: "I have always been by your side but you never asked me to help you. He promised Tundale that he should receive mercy but would suffer for some time. Then, led by the angel, he passed through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, suffering at first, but then comforted. He saw people whom he had known on earth. He saw St. Patrick and other Irish saints in Heaven, and he saw two Irish kings in Purgatory.

These facts made a deep impression on all who heard them, and were translated, as we said above, into many languages.

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