Helyas lived in the Forest of Dean with his brother Walenfriet and a few other hermits. As befitted his class he was a vegetarian but three of the other hermits had insisted on keeping a few animals. On day their mare went missing. After a discussion they decided to go to Helyas, since they considered him the holiest of their number, and ask him if he had any knowledge of the crime.

Helyas considered their request for a while, although he was exhausted from lack of sleep, having kept himself up for the past few nights meditating; even hermits can overwork. At last he spoke: “Richard the ferryman has taken her to Aust Cliff and he is misusing her. You will find her in the shed near his gate.” Then he reached into the recesses of his habit and pulled out four small coins.

“”Give these to him for the trouble of stealing her for, as it says in the Bible, the workman should not lose his hire.”



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