Día faetsath snáthat...

Día faetsath snáthat isin tig ro-cechlastai a toitim in tan labras beóus.

(if * were to fall * needle * in the * house * would be heard * its * falling * the * time * that he speaks * still)

If a needle fell in the house while he was speaking, it would be heard.

This may be the earliest instance in western (or world?) literature of the “so quiet you could hear a pin drop” image. It is found in “Togail Bruidne Da Derga” (792-3), where it describes that respectful attention that Taidle Ulad, the “rechtaire” or steward of Conaire Mór, could command whenever he made a pronouncement about the seating and serving arrangements in the royal house. Combining the powers of a chief protocol officer and a maître d’, the rechtaire was a “servant” to be reckoned with in the medieval Irish hierarchy!

Topics: Similes, Metaphors & Kennings