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Goar was a saint in Germany that made a living of ferrying pagans across Rhine River and subjecting them to involuntary baptisms; in turn, a local bishop promotes the saint to involuntary martyr (Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies, 66-9).

Inspiration

There are two historic Goars, a funny-sounding name that would have been attractive to Bellairs:

  • Goar (c.390-c.450) was a leader of the Alans in 5th-century Gaul. He led his followers over the Rhine during the multi-tribe invasion of Gaul in 406[1].
  • Saint Goar of Aquitaine (585-649) was a priest and hermit who was revered as a miracle-worker; he is the patron saint of innkeepers, potters, and vine growers.  Sankt Goar, a village in southwestern Germany along the Rhine River, is named for the saint[2].

Goar's ferry features victory tallies: small cross symbols to denote the number of victories (or in his case, baptisms) that he is credited with.  This is similar to the practice during WWI and WWII where fighter pilots painted enemy flags or symbols on planes for similar counts.

References

  1. Wikipedia: Goar
  2. Wikipedia: Goar of Aquitaine
6. A Fable of Goar

GoarRhine River