Golden Legend: Saint Daria

Saint Daria's feast day is October 25; you can read more about her legend at Wikipedia: Saint Daria.

Like other legends, this story features a dialogue, this time between the Christian Crisaunt and the woman, Daria, a pagan priestess who is sent to tempt him away from his faith, but instead he converts her. One of the most memorable features of this story is the lion who protects Daria: Daria and her lion.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Women Saints unit. Story source: The Golden Legend edited by F. S. Ellis (1900).

Of S. Crisaunt and S. Daria

Crisaunt was son of a right noble man that was named Polimius. When the father saw that his son was taught in the faith of Jesu Christ, and that he could not withdraw him therefrom and make him do sacrifice unto the idols, he commanded that he should be closed in a stronghold, and put to him five maidens for to withdraw him with blandishing and fair words.

And then he prayed God that he should not be surmounted with no fleshly desire of these evil beasts, and anon these maidens were so overcome with sleep that they might not take neither meat nor drink as long as they were there, but as soon as they were out they took both meat and drink.

And one, Daria, a noble and wise virgin of the goddess Vesta, arrayed her nobly with clothes as she had been a goddess, and prayed that she might be let enter in to Crisaunt, and that she would restore him to the idols and to his father.

And when she was come in, Crisaunt reproved her of the pride of her vesture, and she answered that she had not done it for pride, but for to draw him to do sacrifice to the idols, and restore him to his father. And then Crisaunt reproved her because she worshipped them as gods, for they had been in their time evil and sinners, and haunted common women.

And Daria answered: The philosophers felt the elements by the names of men.

And Crisaunt said to her: If one worship the earth as a goddess, and another ear and labour the earth as a churl or a ploughman, to whom giveth the earth most? It is proved that it giveth more to the ploughman than to him that worshippeth it. And in like wise he said of the sea, and of other elements.

And then Crisaunt and Daria, converted of him, coupled them together by the grace of the Holy Ghost, and feigned to be joined by carnal marriage, and converted many others to our Lord. For Claudius, which had been tormentor of them, they converted to the faith of our Lord, with his wife and children, and many other knights.

After this, Crisaunt was enclosed in a stinking prison by the commandment of Numerianus, but the stench was anon turned into a right sweet odour and savour.

And Daria was brought to the bordel, but a lion that was in the amphitheatre came and kept the door of the bordel.

And then there was sent thither a man to deflower and corrupt the virgin, but anon he was taken of the lion, and the lion began to look on the virgin like as he demanded what he should do with the caitiff. And the virgin commanded that he should not misdo him, but let him go, and anon he was converted, and ran through the city, and began to cry that Daria was a goddess.

And then hunters were sent thither for to take the lion, and they anon fell down to the feet of the virgin and were converted by her.

And then the provost commanded to make a great fire within the entry of the bordel, so that the lion should be burnt with Daria, and the lion considering well this thing, dread, and roaring took licence of the virgin and went whither he would without hurting of anybody.

And when the provost had done to Crisaunt and Daria many diverse torments, and might not grieve them, at the last, they being married without corruption, were put in a deep pit, and thrown on them earth and stones, and so were consecrated martyrs of Christ.

(600 words)

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