Monday, December 14, 2009

Saint-Ghislain legend ...

... bear of Saint-Ghislain ...

Saint-Ghislain is a Walloon municipality located
in the Belgian province of Hainaut
The town is named after St Ghislain.

The legend says that Saint-Ghislain (a monk) was guided by
a she-bear and an eagle to an elevated place in the shape
of a tomb where he built an hermitage.
Ghislain was so pious that good old king Dagobert offered
him that piece of land, which was later known as Ursidongus
(after ursa, "a she-bear", and dongus, "a tomb").
More precisely, the legend says that the she-bear,
suckling her cubs, was scared by hunters.
Ghislain, clearing the forest in the neighborhood,
had taken off his clothes, which were used by the
bears as a shelter. An eagle guided Ghislain to his

clothes and he understood this was a sign from God.

Saint-Ghislain ... (EN)
In iconography he is frequently represented with a bear or bear's cub
beside him. This is an allusion to the popular legend which relates
that a bear, pursued in the chase by King Dagobert, sought refuge
with Ghislain and later showed him the place where he should
establish a monastery. Moreover, the site of the saint's cella
was called Ursidongus, "bear's den".