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Stories of the Saints by  Grace Hall
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ST GILES AND THE HIND

Bearing a certain likeness to the story of St Deicolus is that of St Giles.

[229] ST GILES was an Athenian of royal birth, who fled from home and from the prominence won for him by his miracles, one of which was the healing of a sick man by casting over him his cloak. He set out in quest of some remote spot where he might live in solitude the life of a hermit. Such a place he found near the mouth of the Rhone, not far from Nimes. Here he dwelt in a hut, on herbs, berries, roots, and on the milk of a spotted hind, who came to him daily and allowed him to milk her. A long time he existed with only his loving hind for companion. But one day the silence was torn by tumult of the chase. Horns echoed in the distance, and the baying of the King's hounds drew every moment nearer.

Hearing the sounds and going to the door of his hut, St Giles saw the hind fleeing in the last exhaustion from the pursuing dogs. Taking courage she made a final effort, and reaching him, threw herself into his open arms.

At sight of him the dogs not only paused, but turned whimpering away and returned to the huntsmen, who by this time appeared on the edge of the clearing in which the hut stood. One of them, sending an arrow at random in the direction of the deer, pierced the Saint's protecting arm, so that when the King reached the scene he found an aged wounded man holding in his arms a quivering hind. Deeply moved by the sight, he [230] entreated the holy man's forgiveness and wished to send his physician to attend him, but St Giles refused all aid, saying that he cherished his wound, and that his prayers would bring him the necessary aid from God. The King then asked for his story and having heard it, offered him honour and riches, all of which Giles refused to accept. He eventually consented to allow certain followers to join him in his solitude, and thence sprang in time a monastery over which he presided as the first Abbot, but for the moment the King and all his court were obliged to turn away, leaving the Saint to his cherished solitude, with his little cherished friend.


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