(notes by Philip Holberton)
Running throughout the poems in Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies is the perennial human need to acknowledge the existence of a higher supernatural power. Eddi, the Catholic priest ignored by the pagan Saxons, celebrates Christmas with a service for the only two living creatures willing to attend, an ox and an ass.After discussing “The Conversion of St. Wilfrid”, J M S Tompkins (p..217) considers the poem:
In the preceding ballad the fellowship of all created things before their Creator is acknowledged when Eddi preaches in his empty chapel on Christmas Eve to an old marsh donkey and a weary bullock that shelter there:"How do I know what is greatest,
How do I know what is least?
That is my Father’s business”,
Said Eddi, Wilfrid’s priest.