THE LEGENDS OF SAINT NICHOLAS (Illustration) Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Archeological Wonders Biographies Fiction Film History Social Studies World History Famous People

Gentile da Fabriano (1370–1427) created this depiction of Saint Nicholas and his generosity to the three young girls, circa 1425.  It is currently maintained at the Pinacoteca Vaticana art gallery.


Nicholas, while still a teenager, learned of a neighbor in financial trouble. The man had three daughters who wanted to marry. During those times, the father of the bride was expected to provide a dowry. Because the Pataran man had nothing to give, his daughters could not marry.

Hearing of their plight, Nicholas devised a plan (the details of which vary a bit from story to story). Wanting his gift to be anonymous, he passed by the window of his neighbor’s home and threw gold coins into the house. They happened to land in stockings that were drying by the fireplace. The gift of gold was enough for the oldest daughter to marry.

Nicholas repeated his kindness for the second daughter, but when he tried to throw gold coins into the window for the youngest girl, he found the windows locked. He had no choice but to throw the coins down the chimney. Eventually learning the identity of his benefactor, the Pataran villager told everyone about Nicholas’ generosity.

Now a teen-age priest, Nicholas soon moved to the nearby Lycian capital of Myra where fantastic tombs, hewn into the rocks to look like houses, can still be seen. Soon after his arrival in the capital, Nicholas was made bishop of the town. He remains the youngest bishop ever to serve in the history of the Catholic Church.

But not everything was easy for Nicholas. He lived during a time of great persecution against the Church. And as the Bishop of Myra, he was a prime target for torture and imprisonment.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2006

Updated Last Revision: Nov 10, 2015

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"THE LEGENDS OF SAINT NICHOLAS" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2006. Feb 25, 2020.
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