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One of the best-known stories in Bede's Ecclesiastical History tells of a council meeting at the court of King Edwin of Northumbria around 627 (II. 13). The king had been listening to the preaching of a missionary bishop from Canterbury named Paulinus and had nearly made up his mind to accept baptism and become a Christian. But first he wanted to confer with his chief counsellors in order to ask their opinion of this unfamiliar doctrine and new form of worship. The chief priest of the old religion, whose name was Coifi, wryly observed that, although he had been the most loyal servant of the pagan gods, he had not received as much honour and wealth from the king as others who were less devout. 'So it follows that if, on examination, these new doctrines which have now been explained to us are found to be better and more effectual, let us accept them without any delay' (p. 183). Another one of Edwin's counsellors agreed, but for somewhat different reasons. This unnamed advisor compared a human being's life on earth to the flight of a sparrow that flies into the king's banquet hall in winter. For a brief span of time, the sparrow is warmed by the fire and protected from the storm outside, but then it flies out again into the cold. 'So this life of man appears but for a moment; what follows or indeed what went before, we know not at all. If this new doctrine brings us more certain information, it seems right that we should accept it' (p. 185). Soon afterwards, the king was baptized along with several members of his family and many of the people.