Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eldritch: Lineage 043

So, you may or may not know this, but what Artur is singing is the prayer of Saint Francis, and it happens to be my favorite prayer.  You’re welcome to look it up, but the short version is “God, help me be a good person,” which, frankly, I can always use a little help with. However, my liking of the prayer itself isn’t why it’s included here.

Saint Francis is known for his relationship with animals, and his ability to preach to birds, who would listen to him.  However, he did good work with other creatures as well, including the wolf.  Gubbio, Italy used to be terrorized by a marauding wolf, and those who left the safety of the city walls often fell prey to its murderous appetites.  However, as it so happens, Saint Francis was living in the city at the time.  He bravely went out alone and made a deal with the wolf.  If the wolf were to abandon its terrifying raids on the village, the people of the town would feed it, and it would be permitted to walk the city streets.  The wolf agreed, and it and the villagers lived in peace till the end of the wolf’s days.

The Story of Saint Francis and the wolf is fairly well known, however, a few, such as Leonard R.N. Ashley in his writings within The Complete Book of Werewolves seem to think that the wolf of Gubbio was in fact a werewolf, and that the saint returned it to human form.  Others still, as is mentioned in Louis Untermeyer’s The Donkey God suggest that the term ‘wolf’ was a metaphor, referring to an outlaw or marauder. 

Whether it was man, beast, or maybe even a little of both, we may never truly know, but I just couldn’t leave out a reference to the tale when writing this chapter.

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