The Legend of Saint George

as recorded by S. Baring-Gould

edited by

D. L. Ashliman

© 2002-2009

George, a tribune, was born in Cappadocia, and came to Libya to the town called Silene, near which was a pond infested by a monster, which had many times driven back an armed host that had come to destroy him. He even approached the walls of the city, and with his exhalations poisoned all who were near. To avoid such visits, he was furnished each day with two sheep, to satisfy his voracity. When the sheep at the disposal of the citizens were exhausted, their sons and daughters were cast to the dragon.

The lot fell one day on the princess. The king covered his child with royal robes, and sent her forth to meet the dragon.

S. George was riding by, and, seeing the maiden in tears and the monster rising from the marsh to devour her, advanced, spear in hand, to meet the monster, commending himself to God. He transfixed the dragon, and then bade the princess pass her girdle round it, and fear nothing. When this was done the monster followed like a docile hound. When they had brought it into the town the people fled before it; but George recalled them, bidding them put aside all fear.

Then the king and all his people, twenty thousand men, without counting women and children, were baptized, and George smote off the head of the monster.

Other versions of the story are to the effect that the princess was shut up in a castle, and that all within were perishing for want of water, which could only be obtained from a fountain at the base of the hill, and this was guarded by the dragon, from which S. George delivered them.

Revised April 16, 2009.