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Roch (St.)

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Patron of those afflicted with the plague, because he devoted his life to their service, and is said to intercede for them in his exaltation. He is depicted in a pilgrim’s habit, lifting his dress to display a plague-spot on his thigh, which an angel is touching that he may cure it. Sometimes he is accompanied by a dog bringing bread in his mouth, in allusion to the legend that a hound brought him bread daily while he was perishing in a forest of pestilence.

St. Roch’s Day (August 16th), formerly celebrated in England as a general harvest-home, and styled “the great August festival.” The Anglo-Saxon name of it was harfest (herb-feast), the word herb meaning autumn (German herbst), and having no relation to what we call herbs.

St. Roch et son chien. Inseparables; Darby and Joan.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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