By Richard Teahon
The story of Saint George and the Dragon.
Long ago, in the country of Libya, there was a city called Siliene. One day, a huge and powerful Dragon made its nest in a spring, which is where the people of Siliene used to go to fetch water. With the Dragon being in the spring, the people could only get water if they could get the Dragon to move. Now Dragons have a huge appetite, which means they eat a lot. So to get the Dragon to move, the people of Siliene would offer the Dragon a sheep. When the Dragon moved to eat the sheep, the people would hurriedly get water and leave, in case the Dragon was still hungry.
If the people could not find a sheep, they would feed the Dragon a maiden. Maiden, is an old word for a woman! To decide which poor woman was chosen, the women would draw straws, which means each woman would choose a straw and whoever had the shortest straw, had to go and be the Dragon’s lunch! One day, the princess drew the shortest straw, and she was marched off to be fed to the huge, hungry Dragon.
Just as she was about to be eaten, along came Saint George riding on a horse, and fought the Dragon and killed it. The story says that he protected himself by making movements with his hand called the sign of the cross. This is why the English flag is made up of a white background and a red cross.
In the story the dragon is a metaphor for the devil.
Legends and myths are stories that have been retold for hundreds of years. Over time, they have changed and altered, so how we tell the story today may well have changed to how the story was told when it was first created. Though many legends are believed to be about true people and true events, sometimes the people and the events were pretend, or made-up. Sometimes they were based on true events, but changed slightly to make them more exciting, or to make something appear slightly different to the way they actually were. Often they have a moral tale, which is a tale that tries to show right and wrong.
Around nine hundred years ago, there were a series of wars called the Crusades. The wars happened due to people believing that if you were not the same religion as their religion then you were wrong. Times were a lot stricter than they are now, and many people believed in magic and witches. For many people, religion was very important, and for someone not to be the same religion, or not to use the same church, was a terrible thing.
Christian soldiers from all over the Christian world, marched into a part of the world called the Middle East, to fight Muslim soldiers. Muslim soldiers were known as Moors. The Christians believed that Jerusalem which they believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, and was in the Holy Land, belonged to them. Muslim Soldiers had captured this land sometime before. Christian soldiers wanted to drive out the Muslim soldiers from the Holy land, and reclaim it.
When Christian soldiers returned from fighting in the Middle East, the story of Saint George began to spread. Often the tale involves St George slaying a dragon. The dragon represented the devil. And this is the basis of St George.
Saint George, is the patron saint of these countries.
United States of America, where he is the patron saint of the Boy Scouts of America.
A patron saint is a person that who is thought of as a great person by the Christian religion, and is seen as a protector of a land or nation. All the countries above belive that St George is their protector and was a great person. There are many statues and paintings of Saint George in many cities around the world. Moscow, in Russia probably has the most. The George Cross, is the flag of England.
Who was Saint George?
Like many legends and myths, nobody is really sure who St George actually was. He lived a long time ago and probably fought in the Crusades. It is believed that though he fought for the Christians, he was probably born into a Muslim nation and was Muslim by birth, and was probably from Turkey. Every year in the countries that have St George as their patron saint, have a day or celebration in his honour. In England, this day is knows as St George’s day.