The Devil's Horn

By Monseigneur.

_Of a noble knight of Germany, a great traveller in his time; who after

he had made a certain voyage, took a vow to never make the sign of

the Cross, owing to the firm faith and belief that he had in the holy

sacrament of baptism--in which faith he fought the devil, as you will


A noble knight of Germany, a great traveller, distinguished in arms,

/> courteous, and largely endowed with all good virtues, had just returned

from a long journey, and was in his castle, when he was asked by one of

his vassals living in the same town, to be godfather to his child, which

had been born on the same day that the knight returned.

To which request the knight willingly acceded, and although he had

during his life held many children at the font, he had never before

listened to the holy words pronounced by the priest at this holy and

excellent sacrament as he did this time, and they seemed to him--as

indeed they are-full of high and divine mystery.

The baptism being finished, he being liberal and courteous and willing

to oblige his vassals, remained to dine in the town, instead of

returning to his castle, and with him dined the cure, his fellow

sponsor, and other persons of renown.

The discourse turned on various matters, when the knight began to

greatly praise the excellent sacrament of baptism, and said in a loud

and clear voice that all might hear;

"If I knew for a truth that at my baptism had been pronounced the great

and holy words which I heard to-day at the baptism of my latest god-son,

I would not believe that the devil could have any power or authority

over me, except to tempt me, and I would refrain from ever making the

sign of the Cross, not that--let it be well understood--I do not well

know that sign is sufficient to repel the devil, but because I believe

that the words pronounced at the baptism of every Christian (if they are

such as I have to-day heard) are capable of driving away all the devils

of hell, however many they might be."

"Truly then, monseigneur," replied the cure, "I assure you _in verbo

sacerdotis_ that the same words which were said to-day at the baptism

of your god-son were pronounced at your baptism. I know it well, for

I myself baptised you, and I remember it as well as though it were

yesterday. God be merciful to monseigneur your father--he asked me the

day after your baptism, what I thought of his son; such and such were

your sponsors, and such and such were present," and he related all

particulars about the baptism, and showed that it was certain that in

not a word did it differ from that of his god-son.

"Since it is thus," then said the noble knight, "I vow to God, my

creator, that I have such firm faith in the holy sacrament of baptism

that never again, for any danger, encounter, or assault that the devil

may make against me, will I make the sign of the Cross, but solely by

the memory of the sacrament of baptism I will drive him behind me;

such a firm belief have I in this divine mystery, that it does not seem

possible to me that the devil can hurt a man so shielded, for that rite

needs no other aid if accompanied by true faith."

The dinner passed, and I know not how many years after, the good knight

was in a large town in Germany, about some business which drew him

thither, and was lodged in an inn. As he was one night along with his

servants, after supper, talking and jesting with them, he wished to

retire, but as his servants were enjoying themselves he would not

disturb them, so he took a candle and went alone. As he entered the

closet he saw before him a most horrible and terrible monster, having

large and long horns, eyes brighter than the flames of a furnace, arms

thick and long, sharp and cutting claws,--in fact a most extraordinary

monster, and a devil, I should imagine.

And for such the good knight took it, and was at first greatly startled

at such a meeting. Nevertheless, he boldly determined to defend himself

if he were attacked, and he remembered the vow he had made concerning

the holy and divine mystery of baptism. And in this faith he walked up

to the monster, whom I have called a devil, and asked him who he was and

what he wanted?

The devil, without a word, attacked him, and the good knight defended

himself, though he had no other weapons than his hands (for he was in

his doublet, being about to go to bed) and the protection of his firm

faith in the holy mystery of baptism.

The struggle lasted long, and the good knight was so weary that it was

strange he could longer endure such an assault. But he was so well-armed

by his faith that the blows of his enemy had but little effect. At last,

when the combat had lasted a full hour, the good knight took the devil

by the horns, and tore one of them out, and beat him therewith soundly.

Then he went away victorious, leaving the devil writhing on the ground,

and went back to his servants, who were still enjoying themselves, as

they had been doing when he left. They were much frightened to see their

master sweating and out of breath, and with his face all scratched, and

his doublet, shirt, and hose disarranged and torn.

"Ah, sir," they cried; "whence come you, and who has thus mauled you?"

"Who?" he replied. "Why it was the devil, with whom I have fought so

long that I am out of breath, and in the condition in which you see

me; and I swear to you that I truly believe he would have strangled and

devoured me, if I had not at that moment remembered my baptism, and the

great mystery of that holy sacrament, and the vow that I made I know not

how many years ago. And, believe me, I have kept that vow, and though I

was in danger, I never made the sign of the Cross, but remembering the

aforesaid holy sacrament, boldly defended myself, and have escaped scot

free; for which I praise and thank our Lord who with the shield of faith

hath preserved me safely. Let all the other devils in hell come; as long

as this protection endures, I fear them not. Praise be to our blessed

God who is able to endue his knights with such weapons."

The servants of the good knight, when they heard their master relate

this story, were very glad to find he had escaped so well, and much

astonished at the horn he showed them, and which he had torn out of the

devil's head. And they could not discover, neither could any person who

afterwards saw it, of what it was formed; if it were bone or horn, as

other horns are, or, what it was.

Then one of the knight's servants said that he would go and see if this

devil were still where his master had left it, and if he found it he

would fight it, and tear out its other horn. His master told him not to

go, but he said he would.

"Do not do it," said his master; "the danger is too great."

"I care not," replied the other; "I will go."

"If you take my advice," said his master, "you will not go."

But he would disobey his master and go. He took in one hand a torch, and

in the other a great axe, and went to the place where his master had met

and fought the devil. What happened no one knows, but his master, who,

fearing for his servant, followed him as quickly as he could, found

neither man nor devil, nor ever heard what became of the man.

Thus, in the manner that you have heard, did this good knight fight

against the devil, and overcome him by the virtue of the holy sacrament

of baptism.