At one time, Ronan was so oppressed with hunger and fatigue, that he was obliged to seek a means of living from a good peasant, who hospitably entertained him. So touched was his host with the purity of Ronan’s motives, that he asked permission some times to visit the saint.
However, Keban, the wife of this peasant, was a passionate and an envious woman, who gave way to her irritability of temper when she found her husband staying too long at the hermitage. Keban complained that he had neglected her and had become idle; while her complaints were especially directed against Ronan, who bore these reproaches in silence and with admirable patience. This only increased her fury, and she furthermore circulated calumnies against him, among her neighbors who were over-credulous. She pretended that Ronan was a magician who was desirous of initiating her husband to the mysteries of some diabolic arts. Although her false statements were credited by some ignorant persons; yet those who were more reasonable continued to honor Ronan, and this served to counteract her malicious designs. But she conceived a still more wicked project to effect her revenge.
She had a little daughter, only between four and five years, and her she concealed in a closet. Then she circulated a report that Ronan, through his magic arts, was able to transform himself into a wild beast whenever he so willed, while in such a guise he was the wolf, which destroyed so many animals in that part of the country. She averred, moreover, that hating herself more than any of the other inhabitants there, that abominable man had devoured her only daughter. These charges created a popular excitement, and accompanied by many other women, Keban immediately went to the Saint’s hermitage, and with horrible cries demanded her child.
Still deceiving her followers, that wicked woman induced them to accompany her to Quimper, where King Grallon lived. There, shedding tears in abundance, and with violent contortions, she cast herself at the king’s feet, demanding justice to be executed against Ronan, who had devoured her daughter, and who had made her husband a sorcerer. So like were her actions to the impulses of nature, that Grallon, and the greater part of his nobles, were deceived.
Seduced by her words, and horrified at the enormity of the imputed crime, the king sent a messenger to arrest Ronan. When he came before Grallon, the latter, in a towering passion, and giving way to his natural impetuosity of disposition, would not allow Ronan the slightest opportunity to say a word in his own defense. “I have two furious bulldogs,” shouted the king, “and they shall soon prove if this man be innocent; let them be hounded on against him, and we shall test the sanctity of his life, if he be not guilty.”
Accordingly, the dogs were loosed against Ronan, who instantly raised his hand, making a sign of the cross, and saying: “May our Savior prevent you.” The dogs seemed at once to abandon their natural ferocity for a manner of gentleness, as they approached Ronan, only to fawn on and caress him. This caused Grallon to change the current of his mind, as he recollected how precipitate he had been. Then, allowing our saint to plead in turn, he was enabled to manifest his innocence of that crime imputed to him. The malignity of Keban was soon thoroughly revealed, and the power of God was shown. Ronan declared that the woman’s daughter had been concealed in a place he mentioned, and so small was it, that she could not breathe freely, and that consequently she died.
Immediately, officers were dispatched to search for the body. It was accordingly found, and at once public indignation was so inflamed, that the people declared Keban deserved to be stoned to death or burned at the stake. However, the charity of Ronan delivered her from that peril; for in the presence of the whole crowd assembled, he restored to life the daughter of his enemy, thus proving his true Christian spirit.
— Lives of the Irish Saints, Vol. VI. O’Hanlon, John Canon, MRIA. 1875.