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'Three icons hung on my parents' bedroom walls when I was a child. Two were Russian, one Greek. The Greek one was my favourite. It depicted St George and the Dragon, the painting on the wood overlaid by a sheet of beaten, carved silver metal, so that George was clothed in armour, and the dragon in shining scales. Saints' stories, in general, didn't attract me; the romantic, thrillseeking, dreamy child that I was vastly preferred stories of knights and ladies, wizards and fairies. I found many of the saints either dull or weird; but St George, as he was represented on the icon, was different. He was like a knight, slaying a monstrous beast; he could be tied in to the stories I loved, of Arthur fighting monsters, of Perseus slaying the dragon. This icon appealed to my father, too, though my mother thought it overdone and veering dangerously close to the fantasy she rejected.' (Author's abstract)