A dishonest innkeeper is punished for framing pilgrims of St. James

Pocket Bard’s notes: This is another comeuppance story that teaches us that bad people will get what’s coming for them in the end. Also, it involves a dead man turning out to be not-so-dead, which is always good for a laugh.


A dishonest innkeeper is punished for framing pilgrims of St. James
The Golden Legend, Volume II, trans. William Granger Ryan, p.6

Pope Callistus says that a certain German and his son set out, around the year 1020, on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James, and stopped overnight in the city of Toulouse, where the innkeeper got the older man drunk and hid a silver drinking cup in their baggage. The two left in the morning, but the host pursued them as if they were thieves, accusing them of stealing his silver cup. They said he could have them punished if he found the cup on them, and when the article was found in their baggage, they were hauled before the magistrate. They were sentenced to surrender everything they had to the innkeeper, and one of them to be hanged. The father wanted to die in place of his son and the son in the father’s place, but in the end the son was hanged and the father, grief-stricken, went on to Saint James. Thirty-six days later, going back through Toulouse, he turned aside to where his son’s body hung and broke out in loud lamentations. And behold, the son, still hanging, began to console his father, saying: “Dearest father, don’t cry! I have never been so well off, because Saint James has borne me up and has refreshed me with heavenly sweets!” Hearing this, the father ran into the city, and the people came, took his son down from the gallows unhurt, and hanged the innkeeper.

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