In recounting this short history of St. Nicholas, Jeanne Andelet-Hustache contends that it is impossible to disregard the myriad legends that have been ""part and parcel"" of the oral tradition of his story since the fourth century when he was Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. She asks her readers to accept the legenda in their true meaning -- legenda, things we must read -- in order to come to a better understanding of this great Saint who certainly did exist and whose name is mentioned in the Litany of the Saints. A highly revered figure in the Byzantine Church, St. Nicholas is honored in the liturgy with St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom. But Roman Catholics also have named thousands and thousands of Churches in his honor; have made him the patron saint of children; and have represented him in art more frequently than any other saint. A pleasant weaving of legends, and the few historical facts available combine to make Nicholas, the man of God who loved his neighbor and was willing to help him in all circumstances, a very real saint in this book.