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Friday, October 14, 2011
October 14 -- Feast of Saint Selevan
There's a spot in Penzance (Cornwall, UK), not far from Land's End, with a small stone chapel and a crumbling well nearby. The ends of the benches in the chapel are carved with many things -- some fantastic and mythological but others easily recognized as Christian. One bench has two fish on a single hook, a curious, unique design.
The bench commemorates a day when a local hermit named Selevan (Levan, for short) was fishing down at the seashore. He caught two bream (or maybe chad, there's some debate) on one hook, but since they would be too much for him to consume, he released them both and recast. He hooked them again, and again he released them. When he hooked them both at once for a third time, he decided to relent and take them home with him. Sure enough, he found his sister Breage and her two children there to visit him. Unfortunately, the kids tucked in with uncommon zeal and both choked on the bones, leading to that particular fish (either chad or bream) being locally referred to as "choke children." As in, "we're having choke-children for dinner tonight. Would you like to come over?"