St. Bernard maintains his chastity by hunting non-existent thieves

Pocket Bard’s notes: I’m not sure this story will work well in the modern SCA, as chastity isn’t considered quite the virtue it was a thousand years ago. That said, I like St. Bernard’s quick wit and his final come-back line to his friends at the end. I also like the idea that chastity was considered a value for both men and women; if this story were written today, it would probably feature a female saint as opposed to a male one.


St. Bernard maintains his chastity by hunting non-existent thieves
The Golden Legend, Volume II, trans. William Granger Ryan, p.99

On another occasion [Bernard] was a guest in the house of a certain matron, and she was so impressed by the young man’s good looks that she burned with desire for him. She had his bed made up in a separate room, but then, in the night, went to him without a sound or a qualm. The minute he felt her presence, however, he shouted: “Thieves! Robbers!” This made the woman flee and awakened the whole household. Lamps were lighted, the thief was sought but not found, and everybody went back to bed and to rest—all, that is, except the unhappy woman, who could not sleep. She rose again and sought Bernard’s bed, but again he called out: “Thieves! Robbers!” Again the thief was hunted, but was not identified by the only one who knew who the real thief was. The woman tried a third time but was repulsed, and, overcome by fear and despair, finally gave up. The next day, as he renewed his journey with his companions, they made fun of him a little, asking what made him dream of thieves so often. He told them: “I really faced a thief’s designs on me last night, because my hostess tried to rob me of my chastity, a treasure that, once lost, can never be recovered!”

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