The Legend of the Other Saint Enda
This text is taken from a slip of paper, enclosed with a small image of a saint that was carved from fossilized peat. It was a gift from a friend in Galway, Ireland.
The icon you now possess is the figure of Saint Enda, the 12th century Irish patron saint of innkeepers and publicans. Enda, or Fucked Up Enda as he was affectionately known (in Ancient Irish) by his drinking friends and fellow blackguards, was the only son of an unsuccessful innkeeper, who died and left Enda with a shambles of an inn and a mountain of debt. Having been robbed a number of times when travelling about the lonely bogs and boreens of Western Ireland, or the Land of Toothless Women, Stunted Children, and Improvident Drunks (as it was called in the Ancient Irish tongue), Enda happened upon a life-changing idea: he too would waylay travelers but rob them in the comfort of his inn. And so he set about his work.
First, he began distilling a poteen (the Irish version of moonshine) of such brain-deranging potency that one glass would render the drinker legless and two would produce unconsciousness so profound that the victim’s memory of the last three years would be vaporized. This would allow Enda to empty their purses at his leisure, put them on a donkey cart bound for the farthest reaches on Connemara (The Land of Fuck All Nothing in the Ancient Irish tongue) where they would awaken a week later, at a loss to even remember their names.
In no time at all, Enda’s debts were paid off and he added a well-equipped kitchen, additional accommodations, and hired some comely young colleens (see photo) of no discernible virtue to serve his customers. The fame of his inn, now called Drumbhanoch (or as it was known in the Ancient Irish tongue, the Inn of Alcoholic Fog and Two Day Old Cheese Sandwiches) spread far and wide, and Enda was able to be more choosy about whom he robbed. He also is credited with one of the first exercises in capitalism when he enlisted the support of some of his more deranged and violent drinking companions to burn down competing establishments, thus making Enda’s inn the only one within three day’s travel. Accordingly, he doubled his prices, served only the cheapest and most indigestible food, and the money poured in. He also scoured nearby villages for their local idiots of whom there was no lack. Enda attached signs to the idiots (later named in the Ancient Irish tongue Marketing Consultants) touting the excellence of Drumbhanoch.
In no time at all, business was booming, and Enda’s greed and evil knew no bounds.
One dark and stormy night, a mysterious stranger arrived at Enda’s door. Although his clothes were soaked through from the heavy rain (known in Ancient Irish as the Bloody Fucking Unending Soul-Destroying Rain from Hell), the stranger seemed to suffer no discomfort. When asked what he would like to eat, the stranger replied that a crust of stale bread would suffice. For drink, he asked only for the distilled juice of the mimwee bush, known to be the preferred drink of saints and lunatics, often one in the same. Enda saw no profit in the man at all. While Enda’s other customers were drinking, playing grab ass with the colleens, and generally roistering about the place, the stranger sat calmly, radiating a benign and tranquil presence. Enda saw the stranger as a potential wet blanket on the riotous atmosphere and approached him, asking if he was done with his meal and would he be leaving soon. At that moment, the stranger’s hand shot out and grabbed Enda’s wrist.
“Ye must quit you evil ways, Enda, or your soul will burn in eternal flames.”
Enda tried to free his wrist, but the stranger’s grip was one as made of iron.
“What the fuck are you on about, you fuckin’ tosser, ye!” roared Enda.
“I know who I am and the Lord will not abide your evil any longer. Change now or face your doom,” the stranger whispered.
It was at this moment that Enda experienced his conversion. He envisioned his shrunken blackened soul being endlessly tortured by the imps of Satan and knew in that instant that he would abandon the paths of capitalism, marketing, debauchery, drunkenness, bad food, and crippling drink.
“Who the fuck are ye?” Enda asked in wonder.
“My name’s Padraig (or Patrick),” said the stranger as he rose and walked out into the stormy night.
From that day on, Enda was a changed man. He changed the food to a fairly priced tasting menu, with a few specials each day, with all the produce coming from local organic farmers. The poteen was banished in favor of a small but fine selection of sauvignon blancs, Rieslings, chenin blancs, Bordeaux, and cabernets. He hired a pastry chef from France to create desserts that were so light and delicious that they fairly hovered over the plates on which they were served. Enda trained his servers to no longer display their ample bosoms to the patrons and engage in slatternly hijinks but to serve them quietly and with finesse. To the poor travelers that arrived at his door, he would serve canapés and tiny ginger cookies and ask for no payment. He made amends to those whom he had harmed, and as the years increased, he became known as a holy man, which is also translated in the Ancient Irish tongue as a fuckin’ eejit. But there was no going back for Enda. His death came when he sampled a delivery of shellfish; Enda ate a spoiled scallop and that was end of Enda.
The icon that you now own shows Enda holding a cross, denoting his devotion and holiness and a staff with a question mark, symbolizing the question, he was never able to answer: “Who was that holy man who changed my life?” Recent scholarship into ancient codices have shown that the stranger was not, as many have assumed, St. Patrick himself at all, but St. Patrick’s ne’er do well nephew – Seamus the Silly – who enjoyed dressing up in humble garb and going about imitating his sainted uncle, performing fake miracles that were mostly card tricks, and watching the holy havoc he could induce into the lives of perfectly happy sinners.
This piece was first published in the online humor site The Yellow Ham.