English Roar | Saint George

23 04 2010

Today is the celebration of our way of life.  The Irish have Saint Patrick who chased off all the snakes, the Scottish have Saint Andrew who perished on the cross but it is we, the English, who have the patron Saint of ‘arse-kicking’ who slayed a dragon!

The Ancient world is full of magical tales of adventures that before the time of written history was surely passed from father to son, each adding their own little piece to the tale along the generations.

And how richer the world is for them all.

The Legend of the Dragon

from wiki

According to the Golden Legend the narrative episode of Saint George and the Dragon took place in a place he called “Silene,” in Libya; the Golden Legend is the first to place this legend in Libya as a sufficiently exotic locale, where a dragon might be imagined. In the tenth-century Georgian narrative, the place is the fictional city of Lasia, and it is the godless Emperor who is Selinus.

The town had a pond, as large as a lake, where a plague-bearing dragon dwelled that envenomed all the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene used to feed it two sheeps every day, and when the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery.

It happened that the lot fell on the king’s daughter. The king, distraught with grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, decked out as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.

Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess, trembling, sought to send him away, but George vowed to remain.

The dragon reared out of the lake to see if the girl was alright, while they were conversing. Saint George fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross, charged it on horseback with his lance and gave it a grievous wound. Then he called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon’s neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The dragon thought that St. George was going to hurt the girl, so he followed her back to the city, where it terrified the people at its approach.

The king and the people of Silene converted to Christianity, George slew the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. “Fifteen thousand men baptized, without women and children.” On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease.

Could do with some Hollywood magic but all the ingredients are there.  Exotic kingdom, princess in distress with a crooked father, plague-bearing dragon who fancies itself as a bit of a ladies’ man – and a Knight as legendary as King Arthur himself.

God Bless England and Her Peoples.

Happy St George’s Day




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