Margaret, St. (pearl) In Christian legend, a female saint who went in the disguise of a man for most of her life. Feast, 8 October. St. Margaret’s life is told in The Golden Legend, written in the 13th century by Jacobus de Voragine. She came of a noble family who married her off to a noble youth. On the wedding night, however, she “abstained from the society of her husband, garbed herself in the habit of a man,” and fled the house. She reached a monastery and passed herself off as Brother Pelagius. She continued in the disguise for years, eventually being made the overseer of the nuns. When one of the nuns became pregnant, Margaret, as Brother Pelagius, was charged, convicted, and locked in a cave, where she was fed bread and water. Years passed. When she was about to die, she wrote a letter to the monastery telling them the true story of her life. In a variant legend, Margaret was swallowed by a dragon, but he dislodged her when
she made the sign of a cross, and later she was beheaded at Antioch in Pisidia.
From the Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante