Friday, February 12, 2010
From the Cloisters, statue of Saint Margaret of Antioch: Like most of the early Christian virgin martyrs, she was secretly faithful and it was only when a Roman bigwig wanted to marry her that she ran into trouble because she refused him, and in public, too. Roman bigwigs hate that. She was tormented by a demon, but she got the better of him, because when he turned into a dragon and swallowed her, she made the sign of the cross and presto! She popped out of a dragon's belly and thus became the patron saint of childbirth. The demon who was left behind she threw down and held with her foot until he cried "uncle!" and gave away all his secrets. Her suitor tortured her but Margaret refused to give in. Finally he had her beheaded and she died, though she managed to convert a lot of people in the process.
Saints and zombies -- beheading will do them both in. You can always tell the difference, though: saints always smell good. Medieval texts always describe them as being accompanied by a wonderful scent, flowers and spices. Information to file away: you're welcome.