From "The Golden
Legend ," by Jacobus de Voragine, A.D. 1275
Eustace, which first was named Placidus, was master of the chivalry of
Trajan, the emperor, and was right busy in the works of mercy, but he
was a worshipper of idols. And he had a wife of the same rite, and also
of the deeds of mercy, of whom he had two sons, which he did do nourish
after his estate. And because he was ententive to the works of mercy,
he deserved to be enlumined to the way of truth.
So on a day, as he was on hunting, he found an herd of harts, among
whom he saw one more fair and greater than the other, which departed
from the company and sprang into the thickest of the forest. And the
other knights ran after the other harts, but Placidus siewed him with
all his might, and enforced to take him. And when the hart saw that he
followed with all his power, at the last he went up on a high rock, and
Placidus approaching nigh, thought in his mind how he might take him.
And as he beheld and considered the hart diligently, he saw between his
horns the form of the holy cross shining more clear than the sun, and
the image of Christ, which by the mouth of the hart, like as sometime
Balaam by the ass, spake to him, saying: Placidus, wherefore followest
me hither? I am appeared to thee in this beast for the grace of thee. I
am Jesu Christ, whom thou honourest ignorantly, thy alms be ascended up
tofore me, and therefore I come hither so that by this hart that thou
huntest I may hunt thee.
And some other say that this image of Jesu Christ which appeared
between the horns of the hart said these words.
And when Placidus heard that, he had great dread, and descended from
his horse to the ground.
And an hour after he came to himself, and arose from the ground, and
said: Rehearse again this that thou hast said, and I shall believe
And then our Lord said: I am Jesu Christ that formed heaven and earth,
which made the light to increase, and divided it from darkness, and
established time, days, and hours. Which formed men of the slime of the
earth, which appeared on earth in flesh for the health of the lineage
human, which was crucified, dead, buried, and arose the third day.
And when Placidus heard this, he fell down again to the earth, and
said: I believe, Lord, that thou art he that made all things, and
convertest them that err.
And our Lord said to him: If thou believest, go to the bishop of the
city and do thee be baptized.
said to him: Lord, wilt thou that I hide this thing from my wife and my
And our Lord said to him: Tell to them that they also make them clean
with thee. And see that thou come again to-morrow hither that I appear
again to thee, and may show to thee that which shall come hereafter to
And when he was come home to his house, and had told this thing to his
wife in their bed, she cried: My Lord! and said: And I saw him this
night that is passed, and he said to me: To-morn thou, thy husband, and
thy sons, shall come to me. And now I know that it was Christ.
Then they went to the bishop of Rome at midnight, which baptized them
with great joy, and named Placidus, Eustace, and his wife, Theospis.
Note: St. Eustace is one of the Fourteen