A prefect has designs on St. Anastasia’s servants but is humiliated

Pocket Bard’s notes: I knew from the first moment I read this story that I needed to perform it. How could I resist the lure of a delusional man having his way with kitchen implements? Naturally, when I perform this story, I ham up that section a lot, saying that the prefect first caressed the strings of a mop, thinking that it was the first servant’s hair; then he fondled some pots on the wall, thinking that they were the second servant’s bosom; and finally he ran his hands up the sides of a cooking spit, thinking that it was the third servant’s legs.

The only thing I really don’t like about this story is the ending, which I find both unsatisfying and contrived. (The ol’ “They were crowned with martyrdom” seems like something that was slapped on as an afterthought.) When I perform this story, my ending is, “The prefect saw the purity of the girls and allowed them to leave unharmed. He promised that he would never again be seen in the kitchens, and he never was.”

A prefect has designs on St. Anastasia’s servants but is humiliated
The Golden Legend, Volume I, trans. William Granger Ryan, p.43-44

[Saint Anastasia] had three very beautiful serving maids who were sisters, of whom one was named Agape, the second Theonia, the third Irene. All three were Christians. A certain prefect was smitten with desire for them and, when they refused his advances, had them shut up in a room where the cooking utensils were stored. There he went, intent upon having his way with them; but he was deprived of his senses and, thinking that he was dealing with the three virgins, caressed and kissed the stoves, kettles, pots, and other utensils. Having satisfied himself in this manner he went out blackened with soot and his clothes in tatters. His slaves, who were waiting for him outside and saw him in this condition, thought they were seeing a demon, beat him with sticks, and ran away, leaving him alone. He set out to complain to the emperor, and on the way some struck him with rods, others threw mud and dust at him, thinking he had gone mad. His eyes, however, were blinded and he could not see how he looked to others, nor could he understand why they were mocking him instead of paying him the honor to which he was accustomed. He thought, of course, that he was dressed in white as everybody else was. Finally he was told of his sorry state and thought that the maidens had worked some magic upon him. He therefore commanded that the maidens be brought before him and stripped, so that he might at least enjoy the sight of their nudity, but it turned out that their clothing clung so tightly to their bodies that no one could take it off. The prefect was surprised at this and fell into a sleep so deep that he snored and could not be awakened even by blows. Finally the virgins were crowned with martyrdom.


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