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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France

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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE
Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France
page 41



A.D. 1248.] • MIRACLE AT SEA. 883 of stopping and plundering all merchants and pilgrims that passed that way. It was the month of August in this same year that we embarked at the rock of Marseilles,* and the ports of the vessel were opened to allow the horses we intended carrying with us to enter. When we were all on board, the port was caulked and stopped up as close as a large tun of wine, because when the vessel was at sea, the port was under water. Shortly after the captain of the ship cried out to his people on its prow, " Is your work done ? Are we ready?" They replied, " Yes : in truth, we are." When the priests and clerks embarked, the captain made them mount to the castle of the ship, and chant psalms in praise of God, that he might be pleased to grant us a prosperous voyage. They all, with a loud voice, sang the beautiful hymn of "Veni Creator," from the beginning to the end ; and while they were singing, the mariners set their sails in the name of God. Instantly alter, a breeze of wind filled our sails, and soon made us lose sight of land, so that we only saw sea and sky, and each day we were at a farther distance from the places from which we had set out. I roust say here, that he is a great fool who shall put himself in such dangers, having wronged any one, or having any mortal sins on his conscience ; for when he goes to sleep in the evening, he knows not if in the morning he may not find himself under the sea. I will tell you the first marvel that befel usât sea. It was a great round mountain which we met with about vespers, off Barbary : when we had passed it, we made all the sail we could the whole night, and in the morning we supposed we must have run fifty leagues, or more, but we found ourselves again off this large mountain. We were, of course, mnoh alarmed, and continued to make all the sail we could that day and the following night, but it was all the same, we still had the mountain near at hand. W e were more astonished than erer, and thought we ran great risk of our lives ; for the sailors told us that the Saracens of Barbary would come and attack us. A very discreet churchman, called the dean of * H e thus calls the promontory which encloses the port of Marseilles, where the fort of Notre Dame de la Garde is placed. The writers of the middle ages often use the word rock to signify a fort or castle.


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