Fairy Tale Friday: Saints
Hopefully I’m not stepping on any toes here when I bring up Catholic saints in the context of Fairy Tale Friday! I am a huge fan of saints’ lives and their stories, but I like them simply for their literal narrative qualities rather than for any religious reasons. As I was reading some lately (for fun!), I was struck by the ways in which they are similar to fairy tales. Much like fairy tales, saints’ lives involve magic (miracles), good guys (saints), bad guys (nonbelievers and sometimes devils), and have a clear moral lesson at the end (oftentimes “Be Christian, dang it!” but sometimes more Aesop-y). Today, for your edification, I bring you the story of Saint Abraham of Harran:
Abraham wanted to convert the masses to Christianity and decided that the best way to do so would be to set up a fruit-selling cart. People were giddily happy to buy his fruit, but whenever he brought up religion, they threw things at him and told him to be quiet. Abe took this in stride and came up with a new plan. He kept selling the fruit but now also borrowed money to pay the various villagers’ taxes for them. This, he hoped, would convince them that Christians were good people and they would thus be converted. Since paying their taxes for them kept the villagers out of jail, they were completely (and miraculously?) convinced.
Abe then continued to work to pay off the debt accumulated by his good works, taught the villagers all they needed to know about their new faith, appointed a priest for them, and then retired and became a Syrian hermit.
And the moral of the story is: never give up when it all seems hopeless (as long as you have fruit).