Friday, January 29, 2016

A Related Blacksmith Tale?

I was ruminating on the fictional fact that blacksmiths are associated with the Devil, and I have a few obvious ideas, of course, such as their mutual association with fire and smoke and their ability to shape things out of metal - Milton, you may recall, has the various demons of Paradise Lost build their city, Pandaemonium, partly through their supernatural skill with metalwork.

This blacksmith and Devil story is the sort of tale that would migrate to various though similar contexts. In the image above, you see that as Saint Eloi was engaged in a bit of smithery - making a holy chalice - the Devil approached to tempt him:
While [Saint Eloi] . . . was busy making a precious reliquary, the devil visited Eloi in the guise of [a] beautiful woman to try to distract him from his holy work. St Eloi however saw through the devil's disguise and seized his nose with his red-hot blacksmith's tongs. In this depiction the devil is shown changing back to his real form.
Of interest here is that the Devil's true form is a lot like a werewolf! Dario Rivarossa would be elated to hear of this!



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