Interlude: Neglected Saints #869

1 June, 2014 by katelaity


Name: Saint Edmund

Status: King of East Anglia in ninth century

Bio: Killed by Vikings (“Danes” though the English tend to refer to all Vikings as “Danes” so they could have been Norwegian). The Northmen glimpsed the shiny golden spurs of the hiding king and captured him. In an effort to make him denounce his faith (or more like, because they were bored) the marauders filled him with arrows until he resembled a hedgehog. Valiantly refusing to give in (or perhaps already dead) the stalwart king refused to abandon his beliefs, so the Vikings struck off his head, which rolled into the bushes. When the king’s followers braved their way to his body, they were distressed to find the head missing. Suddenly they heard his voice cry, “Here, here, here!” and investigating they found a wolf with the monarch’s head between his paws. To their surprise the wild beast relinquished the head it had been protecting and followed them as the took it back to his body, where the head miraculously rejoined its severed trunk, leaving only a thin red line to show where it had been chopped off. Miracles ensued. His body went on display until his remains were stolen by the French (rumour has it: just one more reason the English hate the French or else anti-French propaganda) in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. The whereabouts of the wolf remain uncertain.

Patron of: Forgetfulness

Reasons for neglect: What, you don’t believe the story? Plus there was Henry VIII’s looting of the monasteries and dissolution of the clergy, the Reformation which got people busy burning witches instead of praising saints and the general growing sense of skepticism which pooh-poohed things like miracles and instead stuck to more reliable phenomena like phrenology and mesmerism. Ah, modernity!

Reasons for remembering him: A headless saint? With a wolf pal? How cool is that! Besides, he has his own beer.


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