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The legend of St George and the Union Jack Flag

Updated on May 15, 2011

In the ancient city of Lydda, in Palestine, by the Mediterranean Sea, the king of Lydda a beautiful daughter, and the people of the city were happy and prosperous.


But one day a dragon came out of the sea devouring animals and people. The wise men of the city held consultation with the King, and it was agreed that the dragon might be kept at bay if food were provided for it. So each morning an animal was killed and left for the dragon. But as months passed the supply of cattle grew less, until no sheep or other beast remained.


Again, the wise men held consultation with the king, and they decided that each day one of the citizens must chosen by lot and offered to the monster, and unfortunately the first lot fell to the King's only daughter. Though the people of Lydda begged the king to relent, and a hundred men offered to take her place, the King declared that the princess must pay the price that chance had laid upon her.


It so happened that the young knight George rode that day towards Lydda, and saw the princess in her white dress bound to the stake. He heard the story of the dragon from the Princess. He fought with the dragon and killed it, and rescued the Princess.


This is only a legend of St. George, but St. george was a real person. He was a soldier in the Roman army in the fourth century. When serving in Syria he was put to death for being a Christian.


There already existed the legend of the sea monster at Lydda. Before Christian times the people of Lydda worshiped the sun. The dragon represented the Lord of Darkness and Evil, who rose from the sea when the sun died each night beyond the western hills, to be conquered by the Lord of Light and Goodness when the sun returned at dawn.


The legend became to attached to St. George's name because of the Crusade of the Christian knights of England night hundred years ago. Fighting against the town of Acre, the Crusaders were supposedly led to victory by a ghostly knight riding a great white horse, whom they afterwards learned to be St. George. In tribute to this, the King made him patron saint of England, and the Knights of Garter were founded at Windsor in his honour.


His emblem, a red cross on a white field, was warn over their armour as a jacket by the soldiers. From this comes the name jack, and when the flag was united with the blue-and-white flag of Scotland it became as the Union Jack.

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