December 14, 2019

The Editor speaks: Did April 23rd pass you by?

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Does April 23rd mean anything to you?

Colin Wilson

If you are English it should mean something as April 23rd is the birthday of the great Bard himself, William Shakespeare.

Just as important to the English is it is St George’s Day. St George is the Patron Saint of England.

Unlike Ireland, Scotland and Wales there strangely is no National Holiday in England for their Saints Day and that is to blame for relatively few celebrations.

And as the day often falls in Lent and close to Easter the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches often have to move it to the first Monday after Easter, as this year has. St George’s started their Patronal festival yesterday actually a week later on the second Monday.

And there of course is the myth of St George. He killed a dragon to save a beautiful maiden or princess. Very romantic but is it true?

Well let’s start there because this is where it all began.

Once upon a time, as all Children will tell you, only the best stories start that way. And this story really is one of the very best. Well, once upon a time dragons were once common place throughout the world. But gradually they died out because humans were more numerous and smarter. Kill all the female dragons and let nature do the rest. And there was only one female dragon to every hundred. So dragons became rarer and rarer as time went on. Move on now to the year 280. Although in England there were still many dragons, because the dragons there were more clever and hid the female counterparts, in the rest of the world there were very few left.

And one of these was a dragon that was considered t the most fearsome of all. Over a hundred knights had tried to fill him but they all had lost their lives. His skin was so tough no spear could dent it let alone a sword. With one swish of his tail he could kill twenty men and one roar of fire from his mouth could destroy twenty houses and anyone who stood in his path. And this dragon, by the way, could communicate with humans although those who heard him said his voice was more of a twitter.

He called himself Trump. He had an enormous ego. Yes, he was quite a card, and instead of roaming he settled down and terrorized a small town in what is now known as Croatia. He lived in a huge cave that had two tall towers that enabled the dragon to climb up them and peer down on the town below and see what was going on. You get the picture don’t you? Trump towers over the town.

In this town there lived the most beautiful maiden.

Not only was she beautiful, she was kind, gentle and hard working. Everybody loved her. Her name was Mary and her mother and father were pig farmers. And the colour of their pigs were grey and not pink. The family were famous for their grey hams that were very tasty.

Dragon Trump fed himself on all the animals that were in the town but because of his huge appetite they were soon all devoured. So then the dragon wanted to feast himself on human flesh but Mary decided to visit him and give him one of their grey hams.

Dragon Trump was suspicious at first but after devouring one he found it so delicious and he twittered to Mary that he wanted more.

That was fine, but like all good things they had to come to an end, and as all the pigs that ended up as hams, had already been eaten, there was no more.

So the dragon told Mary to bring him a human. What the dragon didn’t know was all the humans in the town had now fled. They knew the hams wouldn’t last forever. Mary had kept him so occupied by talking to him whilst she fed him her hams, he had forgotten to go up in his towers and spy on the townsfolk. When he discovered this Dragon Trump couldn’t believe a pretty maiden had made a fool of him. “No Trump will ever be called an ass,” he said, and promised she would be his next meal. Mary very reverently told the Dragon she expected this and was ready to die for her kins flock.

The Dragon tied her up to a tree and said after his sleep she would be on the menu as Roast Mary.

Mary was sad and prayed to God for a savior. God, of course, answered her prayer and a young, handsome knight called George came a Colin, riding by on a beautiful white horse. George was the son of Wil, a famous writer of his times but sadly unknown now.

George wore a bright suit of armor that dazzled and almost blinded you when it caught the sunlight. He had a matching shield and a steel long sword at his side.

He was a Christian man and had answered God’s call but was surprised when he found the town deserted of people.

He rode through the town searching for someone but to no avail and was about to ride away when he spotted the two towers.

So as not to let this story drag on too much longer I will speed it up by telling you George found the beautiful Mary and immediately fell in love with her. Even though she told him she was betrothed to another man named X he said it didn’t matter he would kill the dragon and save her. So he awoke the dragon who at first didn’t want to fight. He wanted to tweet first but George wouldn’t have any of that. He wasn’t social to that form of media, so he pulled out his sword and attacked Dragon Trump with all his might.

Even though George had set Mary free she stayed to watch, because she was upset Her betrothed had left her alone. She didn’t know that he was had booked a passage for two on a ship to take them to England. To the country where there was the most dragons. What on earth was X thinking?

Enough of Mr X, as Mary was now thinking. She watched with fascinated horror George attacking the Dragon. Thrusting, here, prodding there, and doing no damage to Trump. She admired George’s bravery and she cried out to him.

“Poke your sword into his eyes,” Mary cried. “Blind him.”

And George did just that. A thrust here and another there and Trump really got the point. He got very mad now. Although he couldn’t see he could smell and he opened his mouth letting out a great roar

“You’re fired!” He roared, and a huge flame bolted out of his monstrous mouth. But George was expecting this and put his shiny shield in front of his face. The Dragon’s flame hit the shield and George’s shiny armour and it reflected back to whence it came.

The dragon was trumped. Devoured by his own weapon. Everyone who had met Trump wanted to see him fired and it had now happened at the hand of this brave Sir Knight.

George then grabbed Mary who was now swooning in his arms. He threw her over his horse and rode off with her down to the sea and docks where a ship was waiting.

No surprises here.. It was the same one X had bought the two tickets to sail to England. George took X’s place and the ship’s captain married the now two lovers.

X, though, had sent word ahead wanting George to be arrested for stealing his bride but when the authorities learnt of George’s bravery in slaying the dragon George became a hero. They asked him to rid England of all their dragons and using his shiny shield and armour as before he finally rid England of all those great terrifying beasts.

It took a long time as it rains a lot there, the sun is hidden away behind thick clouds, but just before George died of old age England’s final dragon was destroyed. To Honour our hero he was made a saint as during all that time he had on his hands between fighting dragons he converted the pagan people there to Christianity. The faithful Mary was at his side. And that is why eventually some years after his death, and Mary’s campaigning on his behalf, George was made the Patron Saint of England.

And that my dear friends is just another tale based on the legend of St George…. But wait….. What is the true story…?

Actually, there is a speck or tweet of truth in the rubbish I have just told. Yes. A very tiny tweet.

St George did actually live. He was a Roman soldier and the English crusaders who went abroad to preach Christianity and convert the so called heathens say they saw him on his white horse and he lead them to victory against the persecutors of the Byzantine Empire that was Christian and being savaged by the Muslims amongst others. This was in the 11th century and the Pope was Urban II. That is how George became the Patron Saint of England.

George was born in Cappadocia Eastern Turkey in the year 280. He was a Christian and a Roman soldier who never forgot his Christianity. His parents were Christian and he protested against Rome’s persecution of Christians. George was a famed, fierce and brave soldier and was once Emperor Diocletian’s favourite soldier.

However, when Diocletian started persecuting Christians by burning them alive in their homes he rebelled. And this is where the dragon comes in.

The Christian persecutors used flame throwers to burn their houses down and the head of the flame thrower was shaped like the head of a Dragon sending fear into the hearts of anyone who saw these horrifying weapons.

When George saw this he ordered it to be stopped and when his orders were ignored he killed the wielders of the flame throwers with his sword.

At that same time he was betrothed to be wed to a Christian lady, whether she was a princess is doubtful but most writers say she was of noble birth. It is not known what became of her but they never married as Diocletian had George arrested as soon as he heard what George had done. He ordered George to renounce his Christianity and he would forgive him but George refused and was put to death in the year 303

Which version of the St George story do you like best?

FOOTNOTE: If you attend St George’s Anglican Church on Grand Cayman you would have got the other joke that was alongside Dragon Trump. Mary and her grey hams!


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