A saint, according to Synge's definition, is ""totally committed to God,"" and her retellings convey this basic quality in...

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THE GIANT AT THE FORD And Other Legends of the Saints

A saint, according to Synge's definition, is ""totally committed to God,"" and her retellings convey this basic quality in its various manifestations--while avoiding the genre's common sin of piety even while depicting the girl who went hungry to feed beggars or the early Christians who dedicated themselves to building Churches. Animals figure in several of the stories, though the attitude expressed in the stories varies. A wronged lion proves himself a ""true Christian,"" other lions present themselves for Saint Anthony's blessing, and a boar repents; but one tale of a fox takes a slyer view of the animal's failure to grasp Christian principles, and another, grounded in folk humor, brings out the featured saint's down-to-earth fairness and wisdom by having her mediate between a convent of nuns and the geese who don't want to end up in their pies. ""The Giant at the Forge"" concerns, of course, Saint Christopher, and Synge also deals with the moral awakening of Saint George (of the dragon); but her choices are clearly motivated not by the subjects' fame (or, on the other hand, their lack of past exposure) but by the appeal their stories and their particular virtues have for her. Her telling reflects this personal enthusiasm, and her conviction that ""if the stories are not true, then they should be.

Pub Date: April 17, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1980