Origin: Irish Folklore
About Paiste / Lig-na-Baste
Paiste, the ancient name for 'dragon' or 'snake,' was said to be the last of the serpents in Ireland. Just after Saint Patrick's death, the lands that were around Lough Foyle were plagued with a monster. This creature, the Paiste, was said to be huge and could breathe flame, for the Paiste was said to be something ancient, something left over from the beginnig of the world.
So, people came to a very holy man, known as Saint Murrough O'Heaney. They begged him to drive out the serpent, so he prayed for nine days and nine nights, then took three rods of reeds, and then made his way to where the dragon Paiste lived.
When Paiste saw the saint, he was sure that this was merely a sacrifice from the local peoples. He continued to challenge Murrough by telling him that he would soon devour the saint. However, Saint Murrough remained calm, and he asked the dragon if he could preform an 'ancient task'. This, however, was not an ancient task, and most certainly not in the Christian religion, but Paiste, unknowning of this, obliged Murrough.
Paiste lied down so Saint Murrough could lay the three rods over his back. When the Paiste told the saint that it was time to be eaten, Murrough asked for just a bit more time so that he could pray over the rods, thus finish the 'ancient task'. It was then that Saint Murrough prayed as he never had before, and, sure enough, the rods grew over Paiste, covering him and enclosing him in bindings as strong as steel.
Unable to rid himself of his imprisonment, Paiste cried out that he had been tricked. Saint Murrough told the creature that he must promise not to harm anymore the Children of God, and so the great dragon promised and demanded he be set free. However, Saint Murrough knew that he was an evil creature, so he explained that, due to the fact that he could not be trusted, Paiste was to remain trapped in the rods until the Day of Judgement. Furthermore, he commanded the dragon to into the waters of Lough Foyle.
When Paiste refused and tried to remove the rods once again, they tightened. The dragon told Murrough that a man had no authority to command a creature such as himself. However, Saint Murrough countered this argument by explaining that he was doing the work of God, and the dragon, being a living creature and creation of God, was obligated to do as God commanded. Thus, the creature moved into the waters of Lough Foyle.
Strange tides have and currents have run along the coasts, and the waters seem to be disturbed in Lough Foyle. This is due to Paiste, who still remains under the waters, trying to free himself from its chains, waiting patiently for the Day of Judgment.
Paiste was a huge, eleven foot tall wurm with ram-like horns on either side of its head. It had a thick, black tongue, long fangs, and dangerous venom. In addition, the amour-like sales were said to be about the size of diner plates.
For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.