We recently had the joy of joining in a medieval monster tradition, the welcoming of the ‘Tarasque’ at the Abbaye St Michel de Frigolet, in Provence, France. This reptilian creature burned villages, ate local sheep and shepherds. The local king attacked the Tarasque with knights and catapults to no avail. Saint Martha found the beast and charmed it with hymns and prayers, and led the tamed Tarasque back to the city. The people, terrified by the monster, attacked it. The monster offered no resistance and died there. Martha then preached to the people and converted many of them to Christianity. Sorry for what they had done to the tamed monster, the newly-Christianized townspeople changed the town’s name to Tarascon.
Beauty and the Beast and King Kong are deeply seated concepts in our global psyche.