فصل 04

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 04

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CHAPTER FOUR

St Patrick, the Church, and the Vikings

In 401 some Irishmen came to Britain. They took many people back to Ireland and sold them. One of these people was Patrick, who was only sixteen. For six years young Patrick worked with sheep on a farm.

Then, when he was twenty-two, he ran away to France.

He learned about God from monks at a school in a French monastery. In 432 he went back to Ireland to teach the Irish about God. The Irish kings listened to him, and he built an important church in Armagh.

A hundred years later, Ireland was one of the most important Christian countries in Europe, with beautiful churches and monasteries everywhere. Irish writers wrote famous, important books like the Book of Kells, which you can see in Dublin today, and there are pictures of St Patrick in many Irish churches.

Another Irish churchman, called Brendan, sailed to Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, and America in a small leather boat. Some people said that this was not possible, but in 1976 an Englishman, Tim Severin, built a leather boat called Brendan and sailed it from Ireland to Iceland and America. You can see the Brendan at Craggaunowen in County Clare in the west of Ireland.

There were many beautiful, expensive things in the Irish churches and monasteries, and Norwegian Vikings came to Ireland to steal them and kill the monks. Because of this, the monks built tall round towers beside their monasteries.

When the Vikings came the monks ran into the towers to hide. You can see these towers in Irish villages today.

One of the most interesting Irish monasteries is on Skellig Michael. It is an island in the Atlantic sixteen kilometres south-west of Ireland. It is a beautiful, windy place. The island is 240 metres high, and in bad weather no boats can get there. ‘There is no danger here,’ the Irish monks thought; but they were wrong. In 824, Vikings came in their long ships to attack Skellig Michael too.

But some Vikings came to Ireland to stay. They built towns by the sea - Dublin, Cork, Waterford, and Limerick.

The Celts liked to live in the country, but the Vikings lived in towns. Some of the Vikings married Celts, and learned the Celtic language.

The Vikings came to the north of Ireland too. One day two different Viking ships came to a beautiful place in Ulster. Both groups of Vikings wanted to stay there and build a town, but there were too many of them. The two groups of Vikings looked at each other angrily.

‘We must fight,’ said a Viking from the first ship. ‘The winners will live and keep the land, and the losers will die.’

‘No,’ said a man from the second ship. ‘I have a better idea. Let’s race to the beach in our ships. The first man who holds the land in his hand can keep it. His people can stay, and the others must leave.’

So the two ships raced towards the beach. One man stood at the front of each ship, ready to jump down to the beach. Then one ship went in front of the other. The man in the first ship looked back at the second ship, and laughed. ‘We’re going to win,’ he said. ‘This land will belong to us.’

‘No, it won’t,’ said the man in the second ship angrily. ‘You will never win. Never!’ Suddenly, he took out his sword, and cut off his hand with it. Then he threw the hand over the heads of the men in the first ship. The hand fell on the beach, and its bloody fingers closed on the land.

‘This is our land,’ said the man with one hand. ‘It will never belong to you. Never, never, never!’

That, is the story of the Red Hand of Ulster. You can see the Red Hand on the flags of Northern Ireland. To learn why it is so important, we need to learn a little more about Irish history.

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