|This is about an old medieval Christian legend about the Tarasque, that plagued the people of Nerluc (in France) for over 7 years, until St. Martha came and agreed to help them. She went to meet the creature without weapons, saw it devouring its latest victim and managed to get behind it unnoticed.
As the creature turned, she had picked two pieces of wood, making them the sign of the cross and she showed it to the Tarasque. She also sprinkled Holy Water to its face. The beast was dazzled. It changed completely, it wept and remorsed and became soft as a huge pet. St. Martha made a rope out of her own golden hair, put it around the beast's neck and took it to the town, to show it to the people how it was not a monster anymore and how it shows no threat to them. The beast followed her willingly.
But once the people saw the Tarasque, they poked it with spears and stones, they loathed it physically so much, despite Martha begged them to let the beast live it its new, altered state. They didn't listen, without fighting back the Tarasque died.
After many many years from that day people understood the change of the beast and changed the village name from Nerluc to Tarascon. They still hold festivals in praise of this tale.
© Kirsi Salonen 2012