Monday, 17 June 2013

Saint who Tamed a Wolf

ontinuing my quest for a daily celebration, today's offering is Hervé, a Welshman who, according to my book, is a Patron Saint in Brittany, where he lived and built an abbey at Lanhourneau, way back in the 6th century - so you can honour his life with a feast of French food and wine.
An effigy of St Hervé at the parish church in the
Breton town of Guimiliau.
Apparently he was born blind and consequently people used to pray to him for help if they had problems with their eyes (I must stress that while this may once have been a popular course of action, it is not to be recommended if you value your sight, and is no substitute for an appointment with a good optician). 

He was brought up by his uncles because his mother was a hermit - I dare say raising a family isn’t listed in a hermit’s job description, but I would like to know if she took up a life of solitude before he was born, or after. Somehow, having a child doesn't fit in with my ideas about hermithood. And where was the poor lad's father is all is? According to legend Hervé was the son of Hyvamion, a famous bard,  so why didn't he do something to help?

Anyway the boy, who might just as well have been be an orphan for all the interest his parents took in him, grew up to lead a simple life. But one day a wicked wolf ate the donkey (or an ox – it depends which story you read) pulling his plough, so Hervé prayed and the wolf  was tamed and did the ploughing for him (actually, I'm sure I've come across similar tales for other saints, but right now I can't remember who they were). 

I guess you could mark his day by persuading your nearest and dearest to join you in a very silly  game of What’s the Time Mr Wolf, which will make you laugh, or you could listen to Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf', which is a wonderful piece of music, although the outcome for the wolf is less happy, as he ends up in a zoo.

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