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David Day (b. 14 October 1947 in Victoria, British Columbia) is a Canadian author of over forty books: poetry, natural history, ecology, mythology, fantasy, and children's literature. Internationally he is most notably known for his literary criticism on J. R. R. Tolkien and his works. After finishing high school in Victoria, British Columbia, Day worked as a logger for five years on Vancouver Island before graduating from the University of Victoria. Subsequently he has travelled widely, most frequently to Greece and Britain. Day has published six books of poems for adults and ten illustrated children's books of fiction and poetry. His non-fiction books on natural history include The Doomsday Book of Animals, The Whale War, Eco Wars: a Layman Guide to the Environmental Movement, Noah's Choice and most recently Nevermore: A Book of Hours - Meditations on Extinction (2012). His Doomsday Book was a Time Magazine Book of the Year and became the basis for the 100 part animated-short TV series "Lost Animals of the 20th Century". David Days best-selling books on the life and works of JRR Tolkien include: A Tolkien Bestiary, Tolkien: the Illustrated Encyclopedia, Tolkien's Ring, The World of Tolkien and The Hobbit Companion. Day's Tolkien's Ring was illustrated by academy award-winning artist Alan Lee, as was Castles, The Animals Within, Gothic and Quest For King Arthur.
David was born in the 6th century The exact date of his birth is unknown, but David is said to have been born around the year 520 – some 1,500 years ago. He was reputedly born on the Pembrokeshire cliffs during a wild thunderstorm.
He had an unlikely parentage Story has it that David was the son of Sant (aka Sanctus), king of Ceredigion and a nun named Nonnita (Non).
Britain’s smallest city is named after him The existence of the cathedral means that St Davids is Britain’s smallest city, with a population of roughly 1,600 – compared to an estimated 358,000 in Wales’s capital, Cardiff. The tenor Dewi Sant bell in the cathedral weighs 2,700lbs!
His diet led to a unique nickname David became known as Dewi Dyfrwr (‘David the Waterdrinker’) because of his modest monk’s diet of bread and water. Even meat and beer were forbidden.
David was a miracle maker According to legend, David was a miracle maker: he was said to have been able to restore a blind man’s sight and bring a child back to life by splashing the boy’s face with tears.
David became famous outside Wales St David’s influence was not limited to Wales – churches and chapels dedicated to David can also be found in south-west England, Ireland and Brittany.
He signed off with a poignant quote David’s final words to his followers were supposedly: “Do the little things, the small things you’ve seen me doing” or “Do the little things that you have heard and seen me do”.
David’s shrine became a pilgrimage site After St David’s death, a shrine was built in his honour at his cathedral. Pope Callistus II thought of it so highly that he declared to Catholics that two pilgrimages to the shrine was worth one to the Vatican in Rome. By the 12th century, more than 60 churches in Wales had also been dedicated to St David.
Edward I took St David’s remains back to London After his 1284 military campaign in Wales, English king Edward I took the head and arm of St David from the cathedral and displayed the remains in London.
His name spawned a common Welsh term The nickname ‘Taffy’ for a Welshman links back to St David as the original and ultimate Welshman – the term dates to the 17th century and derives from ‘Dafydd’, the Welsh for David.
David is mentioned by Shakespeare William Shakespeare name-dropped St David in Henry V. When Fluellen’s English colleague, Pistol, insults the humble leek on St David’s Day, Fluellen insists he eat the national emblem as punishment: “If you can mock a leek, you can eat a leek” (Act V, Scene I).
St David has his own flag Many people mark St David’s Day on 1 March by wearing a leek or a daffodil, the national emblems of Wales, or by displaying the flag of St David, which features a yellow cross on a black background. The Welsh translation of “Happy St David’s Day” is “Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus”.
Children celebrate his legacy in schools Schools across Wales hold celebrations, with a number of children dressing in traditional costume – a black hat with white trim; long skirts and shawls. Many boys, meanwhile, will wear a Welsh rugby or football shirt. Schools across the country will also hold an Eisteddfod (a traditional festival of Welsh poetry and music) on this day.
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