Apochryphal Gospels • The story of the dragon which killed a young man, and is destroyed by Thomas.

23 Feb

And when the apostle had thus spoken, behold, a great dragon came forth from his den, knocking his head, and brandishing his tail down to the ground, and using a loud voice, said to the apostle: I shall say before thee for what cause I have put him to death, since thou art here in order to reprove my works.

And the apostle says: Yes, say on.

And the dragon: There is a certain woman in this place exceedingly beautiful; and as she was once passing by, I saw her; and I found this young man kissing her, and he also had intercourse with her, and did with her other shameful things, and to me indeed it was pleasant to tell thee this, for I know that though art the twin brother of Christ, and always bringest our race to nought. But, not wishing to harrass her, I did not at this time put him to death; but I watched him, and killed him, and especially as he had dared to do this on the Lord’s day.

And the apostle inquires of him, saying: Tell me, of what seed and of what race art thou?

And he said to him: I am the offspring of the race of the serpent, and hurtful of the hurtful; I am son of him who hurt and struck the four brothers that stood; I am the son of him who sits on the throne of destruction, and takes his own from what he has lent; I am the son of that apostate who encircles the globe; I am the kinsman to him who is outside the ocean, whose tail lies in his mouth; I am he who went into paradise through the hedge, and spoke with Eve what my father bade me speak to her; I am he who inflamed and fired Cain to kill his brother, and through me thorns and prickles sprang up in the ground. I am he who casts down the angels from above, and bound them down by the desires of women, that earth-born children might be produced by them, and that I might work my will in them; I am he who hardened the heart of Pharoah, that he should murder the children of Israel, and keep them down by the hard yoke of slavery; I am he who caused the multitude to err in the desert when they made the calf; I am he who inflamed Herod and incited Caiaphas to the lying tales of falsehood before Pilate, for this became me; I am he who inflamed Judas, and bought him, that he should betray Christ; I am he who inhabits and holds the abyss of Tartarus, and the Son of God has wronged me against my will, and has gathered his own out of me; I am the kinsman of him who is to come from the east, to whom also power has been given to do whatever he will upon the earth.

And that dragon having thus spoken in the hearing of all the multitude, the apostle raised his voice on high, and said: Cease henceforth, O thou most unabashed, and be ashamed and altogether put to death; for the end of thy destruction is at hand, and do not dare say what thou has done through thy dependents. And I order thee, in the name of Jesus who even now makes a struggle against you for the sake of His human beings, to suck out that poison which thou hast put into this man, and to draw it forth, and take it out of him.

And the dragon said: The time of our end is by no means at hand, as thou has said. Why dost thou force me to take out what I have put into him, and to die before the time? Assuredly, when my father shall draw forth and suck out what he has put into creation, then his end will come.

And the apostle said to him: Show us therefore, now the nature of thy father. And the dragon went went up, and put his mouth upon the wound of the young man, and sucked the gall out of it. And in a short time the skin of the young man, which was purple, grew white, and the dragon swelled. And when the dragon had drawn up all the gall into himself, the young man sprang up and stood, and ran and fell at the apostle’s feet. And the dragon being swelled up, shrieked out and died, and his poison and gall were poured forth; and in the place where his poison poured forth there was made a great chasm, and that dragon was swallowed up.

And the apostle said to the king and his brother: Take workmen, and fill up the place in which the dragon has been swallowed up, and lay foundation, and build houses above it, that it may be made a dwelling-place for the strangers.

Edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D., James Donaldson, LL.D.,Apochryphal Gospels, Acts and Revelations: Ante Nicene Christian Library Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325 Part Sixteen. (Edinburgh, T & T. Clark, 38, George Street, Printed by Murray and Gibb, MDCCCLXX)


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