Thursday, May 19, 2005

St. Dunstan's Day

St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury (961-980) was known for outsmarting the devil. Dunstan is the patron saint of goldsmiths and others. After all his good works and long service to the Church he is most remembered by this piece of doggrell:

St. Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull'd the devil by the nose.
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.

Tongs are a symbol of St. Dunstan as are horseshoes. Before serving as a bishop, Dunstan was a blacksmith and when, asked to shoe the devil's horse, he hammered a horseshoe on the devil's own hoof.The story goes that Dunstan let go of the devil when the devil promised never to enter a place where a horseshoe is over the door. This may be the origin of the lucky horseshoe idea. Reminds me of the Angel of death passing over the homes of the Hebrews whose doors were marked during the plagues.

Several questions for discussion:

1.Dunstan is remembered by a verse of poetry....How will you be remembered?
2. The saint lived in a world which personified evil as a devil. Other than the insurance industry, how is evil personified in our age?
3. What symbol would you choose for yourself? Tongs?
4. Do you think Wikipedia is a reliable and accurate source of information? How will high school students researching at the last minute be able to tell the difference between accurate information in Wikipedia and the work of a clever prankster?

Please place your name at the top right hand corner of your paper. Give your work to the teaching assistant wearing the red shirt with the horseshoe baseball cap as you go out.

3 comments:

the reverend mommy said...

Hmmm... Is the horseshoe supposed to be pointing up or down? I have one over my front door, but couldn't remember which. (I also have a mezzuah (or however you spell that) and a cross....)

Anonymous said...

The verse would be:

Expeditus stuck in his mind
to all people,please, "Be Kind";
the Devil threw at him hardships and strife,
but he knew "The best revenge is a happy life".

My symbol would be a periwinkle, which is not very manly, but, like my dear wife, it withstands all hardships, all seasons, and conditions and survives--and survives looking mighty good.

Expeditus

Mary said...

the reverend mommy,
I always heard that the horseshoe should be positioned so that the ends are at the top, like a u-shape. That way it "holds in the luck". [Although maybe my grandpa was just full of it and about as reliable as Wikipedia, who knows? ;)]

I'll have to think about what my symbol would be. Hmm.