Saint George Slays the Dragon

December 14, 2017

St. George was a knight from Cappadocia. Once upon a time he came into the province of Libya, to a city called Silene, and by this city was a marsh or pond like a sea, wherein lived a dragon which envenomed all the country. Once the people of the city assembled to kill him, but when they saw him they ran away. And since the dragon when he came close to the city poisoned the people with his breath, the citizens gave him two sheep every day to feed him, so that he would not harm them. Now when the sheep were scarce the people fed the dragon a man and a sheep. Because of this an ordinance was published in the town that the victim to be sacrificed would be chosen by lot from among the children and youth, and whoever was selected, whether noble or commoner, would be delivered to the dragon. And it happened that so many of them were delivered up to the dragon, that the lot fell upon the king’s daughter. The king was very sad and said to the people: “For the love of the gods take my gold and silver and all that I have, but let me keep my daughter.” They said: “How so Sire! You made and published the law, and now many of our children are dead, yet you would do the opposite? No. Either your daughter is handed over or we will burn you and your house.”

When the king saw that he could do no more, he began to weep, and said to his daughter: “Now I will never see you married.” Then he returned to the people and asked for eight days respite, and it was granted. And when the eight days were up they came to him and said: “You see how the city perishes.” Then did the king arraign his daughter as if it were her wedding day, embraced and kissed her, and gave her his blessing. After this, he took her to the dragon’s lair.

As she stood there St. George passed by, and when he saw the princess he asked her what she was doing there and she said: “Go your way, fair young man, so that you won’t be killed as well.” But he said: “Tell me, what is going on and why do you weep? Fear not.” When she saw that he really wanted to know, she told him how she had been delivered up to the dragon. Then St. George said: “Fair daughter, have no fear, for I shall rescue you in the name of Jesus Christ.” She replied: “For God’s sake, good knight, go your way. Do not remain here with me. You cannot deliver me.” As they spoke the dragon came running at them. St. George made the sign of the cross, and spurred his horse to charge the approaching dragon with all fierceness. Burying his lance into the beast, he hurt it sorely, knocking it to the ground.

He then said to the princess: “Take your belt, and tie one end of it around the dragon’s neck, and be not afraid.” When she had done this the dragon followed her as if it were a tame pet. She led the dragon into the city, and the people fled to the mountains and valleys, saying: “Alas! alas! Now shall we all die.” But St. George replied: “Fear not! Believe in God, Jesus Christ, and be baptized and I shall slay the dragon.” Then was the king baptized and all his people. And St. George killed the dragon, striking off its head, ordering that it be thrown into the fields, and the townspeople took it away from the city in four carts pulled by oxen.

Then were fifteen thousand men baptized, not counting women and children, and the king built a church in honor of Our Lady and St. George. In this church, there is still a fountain whose water heals the sick that drink it. The king offered as much money as can be counted to St. George, but he refused it all, instructing that it be given to the poor, for God’s sake. And he asked the king earnestly that he do four things, namely, to take charge of the upkeep of the churches, to honor the clergy, to hear Mass fervently, and to have pity on the poor. After that, he said farewell to the king and departed.

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This story of St. George and the Dragon was adapted and the English updated by Nobility.org.

Jacobus de Voragine, “Life of St. George,” in The Golden Legend, accessed June 12, 2017, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/goldenlegend/GL-vol3-george.asp

The Golden Legend or Lives of the Saints. Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275.  First Edition Published 1470. Englished by William Caxton, First Edition 1483, Edited by F.S. Ellis, Temple Classics, 1900 (Reprinted 1922, 1931.)

This chapter is from: Volume 3:

Scanned by Robert Blackmon. bob_blackmon@mindspring.com.

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 605

 

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