This is not a campfire story meant to scare children. It is true:
By the year 1450, France had been devastated by the Hundred Years’ War. The English had laid waste to the country side, leaving the people hungry and seeking safety. Many fled to the great city of Paris.
But Paris was not great anymore. The loss of able men to the war effort meant Paris was without adequate defenders. Worse, the cost of the war had diverted funds away from vital building, leaving the once-formidable walls of Paris dangerously dilapidated.
In the bitter winter of 1450, a pack of wolves entered the city of Paris. The wolves, too, were hungry. They began preying on the young and the weak of Paris, but soon attacked anyone. The terrified people tried to assuage their fear by naming the leader of the wolf pack after an old injury he sported; they called the wolf Courtaud or “short-tail.” Yet, the Parisians would not be saved by idle words, mockery, and bluster.
The wolves killed some 40 people.
But the proud Parisians would not be defeated by mere wild dogs. A group of their strongest and bravest men gathered together and drove the wolf pack onto the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine River. It was an ancient place, the heart of the city, the place where Paris was founded. Once the strong and brave men had trapped the wolf pack on the island, they surrounded the wolves and annihilated them, before a crowd of elated and cheering Parisians.
Now think about this:
The Hundred Years’ War ended in 1453, just three years after the wolf pack entered Paris, where the dogs met their doom.
The French were victorious in the Hundred Years’ War.
Paris was saved and once again became a great and proud city after her strong, brave, and loyal sons slew the wolf pack. And they slew the wolf pack on the most sacred spot in the great and proud city – in front of Notre Dame.
Padre’s book Father Sorin Says: The Founder Comments on Today’s Notre Dame is available in the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore or from Amazon. It’s a must-read for anyone who loves the Fighting Irish…and loves to skewer their opponents.