When they were thus gathered together in the Emperor’s temple, and the eyes of all the people were fixed upon the weak and tortured saint to see what he would do, he drew near a statue of the sun-god Apollo, and stretching out his hand toward the image he said slowly, “Wouldst thou that I should offer thee sacrifices as to a god?” The demon who was in the statue made answer, “I am not God. There is but one God and Christ is his greatest prophet.” At that very hour were heard horrible wailing sounds coming from the mouths of idols the world over, and the statues of the old gods either all fell over or crumbled to dust. One account says that St. George knelt down and prayed, and thunder and lightning from heaven fell upon the idols and destroyed them.
Angry at the breaking of their power, the priests of the gods cried to the Emperor that he must rid himself of so potent a magician and cut off his head. The priests also incited the people to lay hands on the martyr.
So it was commanded that George, the Christian knight, should be beheaded. He was dragged to the place of execution, and there, bending his neck to the sword of the executioner and absorbed in prayer, he received bravely and thankfully the stroke of death in April, 303.
So stands St. George ever before the youth of the world, one of the champions of Christendom, a model of courage, a brave interceder for the oppressed, an example of pure, firm and enduring doing for others, a true soldier of Christ.
Long years ago, there ruled over Britain a King called Uther Pendragon. A mighty prince was he, and feared by all men; yet, when he sought the love of the fair Igraine of Cornwall, she would have naught to do with him, so that, from grief and disappointment, Uther fell sick, and at last seemed like to die.
Now in those days, there lived a famous magician named Merlin, so powerful that he could change his form at will, or even make himself invisible; nor was there any place so remote but that he could reach it at once, merely by wishing himself there. One day, suddenly he stood at Uther’s bedside, and said: “Sir King, I know thy grief, and am ready to help thee. Only promise to give me, at his birth, the son that shall be born to thee, and thou shalt have thy heart’s desire.” To this the King agreed joyfully, and Merlin kept his word: for he gave Uther the form of one whom Igraine had loved dearly, and so she took him willingly for her husband.
When the time had come that a child should be born to the King and Queen, Merlin appeared before Uther to remind him of his promise; and Uther swore it should be as he had said. Three days later, a prince was born and, with pomp and ceremony, was christened by the name of Arthur; but immediately thereafter, the King commanded that the child should be carried to the postern-gate, there to be given to the old man who would be found waiting without.