Towards the end of British Folk Tales, there’s a striking little story, dating from 1645, about St Adelme (or Aldhelm) of Malmesbury, just after the various accounts of Englishmen born with tails (which was apparently quite a common accusation in the Middle Ages):

The Pope, hearing of his fame sent for him to preach at Rome; he had not above 2 daies warning to goe. Wherefore he conjured for a fleet spirit. Up comes a spirit he askes how fleet. resp: as fleet as a bird in the air. yt was not enough. Another as fleet as an arrow out of a bow not enough either. a 3rd. as swift as thought. This would doe. He commands it to take the shape of a horse, and presently it was so; a black horse on which his great saddle and footecloth was putt.

The first thing he thought on was St Pauls steeple lead: he did kick it with his foot and asked where he was, and the spirit told him etc. When he came to Rome the groom asked what he should give his horse. quoth he a peck of live coales.

Not only did they have differing ideas about punctuation in the distant past, but also on what constitutes saintly conduct; in other times, St Adelme would’ve been hanged at crossroads—or burnt at the stake—for his shenanigans.

Not that Adelme was the only saint indulging in such activities: British Folk Tales features a story about how St Augustine, faced with a lord who’d been threatened in vain with excommunication for failure to tithe, animated the corpses of an excommunicate and the priest who’d severed the latter from the community of Church, and scared the wayward lord back into compliance.