Werewolf Fact of the Day

Werewolf Book 2e
ISBN: 9781578593675

What monk had a famous encounter with a werewolf during the middle ages?

  • He faced a traditional French beast, called a loup-garou.
  • His story is just one of many in French folklore since the sixth century.
  • He had too much to drink one night, and was attacked by cats.
  • His rescuer's identity was made known when he followed the monk home.

Guilbert's Werewolf

Loup-garou is the traditional French name for the werewolf, and struggles with the manbeast were a standard of French folklore as early as the sixth century. Most often the werewolves in these stories were horrid monsters that ripped and tore their victims to bloody shreds. Occasionally, however, someone would enter an account into the records in which the werewolf was not all that bad. One such popular story of a werewolf that used his lupine talents for good is that of the Abbot Guilbert.

Guilbert was the abbot of a monastery on the banks of the Loire who had one day granted himself the indulgence of saddling his horse and riding into a village to attend a fair. While he was there inspecting the fruits of a bountiful harvest, he also granted himself the indulgence of drinking rather too many glasses of good French wine. As he rode home to the monastery, the effects of the wine and the warm sun made him groggy, and he fell from the saddle.

Quickly regaining a few more of his senses after the shock of the fall, Abbot Guilbert realized that he had cut himself quite badly when he struck the ground--and that the scent of fresh blood had attracted a pack of wildcats. As the snarling, hissing cats surrounded him, he felt all was lost and he crossed himself and awaited a cruel demise.

Just as the moment seemed darkest, however, a ferocious werewolf appeared and attacked the cats with his flashing fangs and savage claws. The creatures were driven off, but the werewolf's victory was not without price, for the abbot saw that the beast had received a number of bloody wounds. Guilbert did not dare approach the werewolf for fear the monster might turn on him, so he managed to get back into the saddle and spur his horse back to the monastery. He was curious to note that the werewolf followed him right up to a waiting group of monks, who eagerly dressed the beast's wounds after they heard of Abbot Guilbert's frightening encounter and the daring rescue.

The next morning, Abbot Guilbert and his fellow monks were astonished to see that the werewolf had resumed its normal human shape, and they were beholding the person of a very well-known, high-ranking official of the Church. Then, to Guilbert's humiliation, the dignitary proceeded to give him a severe tongue lashing for having besotted himself with wine the day before when he attended the village fair. The werewolf ordered the abbot to do such harsh penance that he resigned his position and left the monastery.

From The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings, Second Edition by Brad Steiger, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R) Steiger's homage to the beast within provides meaty facts for the lycanthropic in all of us.

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