St. James helps a pilgrim who was abandoned by his companions

Pocket Bard’s notes: I like this story because it’s the pilgrim who didn’t make the oath who’s the one that stayed with his sick companion. It’s one of those “the deed is more important than the word” sort of stories. This is also one of the very few stories in the Golden Legend that I can relate to on a geographical level, because I visited Mont St. Michel when I was in France in 2005.


St. James helps a pilgrim who was abandoned by his companions
The Golden Legend, Volume II, trans. William Granger Ryan, p.6-7

We learn from Hubert of Besançon that about the year 1070 thirty men from Lorraine went on pilgrimage to Compostella, to the tomb of Saint James. All of them except one had sworn to help each other. One of the thirty fell ill, and the rest waited for him for a fortnight, after which they all left him except the one who had not made the promise. This man stayed with him at the foot of the mountain of Saint Michael, where, as evening drew on, the sick man died. The other was frightened by the loneliness of the place, the presence of the dead man, the darkness of the night, and the fierceness of the local population; but of a sudden Saint James appeared to him in knightly array, comforted him, and said: “Lift the corpse up to me, and you come up behind me on my horse!” They rode on and before dawn had traveled a fifteen days’ journey, arriving at Mount Joy, a short distance from Compostella and the apostle’s tomb. The saint set both the living and the dead down there, ordering the survivor to call upon the canons of Saint James to bury the dead pilgrim, and to tell those who had traveled with him that their pilgrimage was worthless because they had broken their oath. The man carried out his orders and told his astonished companions what Saint James had said.

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