Wise as the Women of Mungret

At Mungret, near Limerick, was a famous monastery, and one day a deputation was sent to it from Cashel to try the skill of the Mungret scholars. The head of the monastery had no desire to be put to this proof, so they habited several of their scholars as women, and sent them forth to waylay the deputation. The Cashel professors met one and another of these “women,” and asked the way, or distance, or hour of the day, to all which questions they received replies in Greek. Thunder-struck with this strange occurrence, they resolved to return, saying, “What must the scholars be if even the townswomen talk in Greek?”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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