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The Arrow at Prüm

     It was in the little town of Prüm many a long year ago that Lothaire, the degenerate sort of St. Louis, did penance for his sins. In the church belonging to the town there are two very ancient pictures; one of them represents a knight standing on a huge rock, shooting an arrow, while his wife and retinue are looking devotedly towards heaven; the other represents a priest at an altar to whom an angel is bringing an arrow.

     Who is the knight?
     Who is the holy man?

     The knight is Nithard, noble lord of Guise, who lived in the north of France towards the end of the ninth century. No children having been born to his excellent wife Erkanfrida, the knight determined to leave his estate for some pious object.

     He meant to endow a cloister, where after their deaths, masses would be read for him and his spouse. But it was a difficult matter to select the most worthy from the many cloisters in the neighbourhood, and by the advice of a pious priest he resolved to leave the decision to Heaven.

     He fastened the document bequeathing his possessions to an arrow, and then set out for a great rock near the castle, accompanied by his wife and numerous followers.

     After a fervent prayer he shot the arrow skyward, and, so the pious story runs, it was borne by angel hands, till it came to Prüm  –  a journey of several days.

     Ansbald, the holy abbot of the cloister, was standing at the altar when the arrow fell at his feet. He read the document with astonishment and gratitude, and in a moved voice, announced its contents to the assembled congregation.

     Knight Nithard assigned his estate to the cloister, and from that time forth many pilgrims journeyed to Prüm to see the arrow which had been carried there by angel hands.

     The storms of many centuries have blown over those hallowed walls, but the pictures in the old church belonging to the abbey still remain, thus preserving the legend from oblivion.

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