Support us on
Odds and Ends
18 4, 11:42pm
Yes, there are lots of stories about children found in the wild, and supposedly raised by animals. They're called "wild children" or "feral children", with "feral" meaning "untamed". The word usually refers to domesticated animals that have gone wild, like dogs, cats, or horses, but is sometimes applied to humans as well.
A lot of these stories turn out to be just that - stories - and others are real, but exaggerated. But there are a few genuine accounts of children abandoned or abused by their parents, who live with animals which apparently accept them as one of their own. The story of Tarzan, who was adopted by apes as a baby, and who as an adult returned to England as Lord Greystoke and lived as a civilized man until he returned to the jungle, isn't at all the way it happens. Typically, the child is old enough to fend for itself - six or eight years old, say; and when such children returned to civilization, they have severe social maladjustments: can't speak, won't walk upright, acts viciously toward other people, doesn't like ordinary food, etc. Here's
a pretty thorough article on the subject
, which includes accounts of children raised, not only by wolves, but also by dogs, sheep, cattle, and ... ostriches? What? What?
Here's an article on
, which concludes that the story might be based on some real facts, but was elaborated by the person who wrote about it.
I never heard of St. Guinefort, probably for good reason, but in the Russian church there is a saint called
St. Christopher the Dog-faced
. Strangely enough, there might be something to this one: apparently in some parts of Russia, a genetic abnormality called hypertrichosis - which is the abnormal growth of hair all over the body, giving the appearance of a "wolf-man" - is fairly common. A famous modern example of this was
Jo Jo the Dog-Faced Boy
, who toured with P. T. Barnam's circus in the late 19th century. It's not impossible that in the distant past, a particularly benevolent and spiritual fellow with this condition was canonized - the Eastern Church has some real doozies in their calendar of saints! He might have been named Christopher, or that might just be a title that means "He Who Carries Christ".