George raised his sword, and his horse reared up. He clung to his horse, as it neighed and bucked, begging its master to allow it to retreat. But he pressed forward. The princess would not die…the dragon would no longer terrify the village. He was George, soldier in the Guard of Diocletian, a Christian and a man of God.
As George approached the dragon’s nest, his horse grew more and more uneasy. He knew that he could no longer ride without the animal bolting, so he dismounted, allowing the horse to walk away from him into the waiting arms of the citizens of Lydda, who stood shaking at a distance. Finally, the dragon came into sight. It was a fearsome creature, coiling around its nest that blocked the good people of Lydda from reaching the only spring of water in the city. They were forced to offer it sheep and maidens to lead it away from the spring, and only then could they get water for the village. But no longer. George had been riding by and he was going to save the last maiden left, the princess. The dragon spied him, and it hissed and snarled, its beady yellow eyes staring him down. George steadied his shield in front of him, locking eyes with the monstrous beast. The dragon reared up. George swung his sword. The dragon struck, and George met it halfway in the air…
The story of Saint George is often told in fairytale form, and it is hard to find the facts hidden in the myths and tales that surround his existence. What we do know is that he probably lived in Palestine, and was most likely alive before the time of Constantine. The story of his fighting a dragon is heavily mythical, but if it is true, it is most likely the case that he saved the people of Lyyda from a dragon or crocodile-like creature that was blocking their water supply, and that in the past the people of Lyyda were forced to lure it away from the water with sheep or young girls. It is also likely that he was a soldier, and another possibility is that he was a part of the Guard of Diocletian. Regardless, Saint George is a martyr, and we know that he died of torture for his Christian faith. Whether he killed a dragon or not, he is still an amazing Catholic martyr and an inspiration for us all to battle our daily dragons on our path to holiness. Saint George, patron saint of England, pray for us!
Thurston, Herbert. “St. George.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 17 Feb. 2017 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06453a.htm>.