The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials JK, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted through initials SC.
SC: A long, long time ago, there was a huuge man, like so strong, the strongest person that he knew and anybody knew. And because he was so strong, he was saying he didn’t wanna serve anybody except the strongest person that he could find. So he went to the King, and he’s like, “I have got these major gifts for you, look at me, I am the strongest person in the world. I will do whatever, ya know, I wanna serve the mightiest master and I will do whatever I can do for you. And, um, so he serves the King. But then, um, he hears the King, like, um, the King talks about the the Devil, like, “Ohh, the Devil.” He gets scared of the Devil, he’s worried about the Devil. And, um, the big strong guy his name was Offero–
JK: Offero? What?
SC: Offero, I think his name was Offero. So Offero says, “Wait a minute, if you’re scared of the Devil then you’re not the mightiest of the mighty. And I don’t need to be serving you, I wanna go serve the Devil. I wanna serve Satan.” So he goes and finds Satan and he serves Satan and they get into all sorts of terrible mischief and bad stuff, uh, he really liked it, so big, and brave and huge, and he says, “This is my calling to serve the mightiest in the world, so I’m here with Satan.” And then there were walking along one day, and Satan takes a huge detour, and Satan never does anything except the most direct way cause he just walks on everybody and, ya know, he didn’t let anybody boss him around. Offero notices that he’s taking this huge detour, needlessly, when there was no reason to do it– he took the long path and avoided the road when he could have just stayed on the road. He asked Satan, “Well why did you do that?” And he’s like, “Ohh, there’s something back there that makes me uneasy, I don’t like it, it’s like, there’s this cross back there, I’m uncomfortable with it, I don’t like it.” So Offero says, “Wait a minute, I thought you were the mightiest in the world and there’s something you’re scared of?” And he’s like, “Wellll, yea it just makes me uncomfortable.” So the cross is like a symbol of Christ, or they call him the Prince of Peace… So Offero says, “Well, I’m gonna go search for this guy cause I’m huge and mighty and I only wanna serve the most powerful person in the world. So Satan say, “Alllright.” So Offero goes off and he’s lookin’, lookin’, lookin’, he has no idea where to find this Prince of Peace, and he asks everybody, and finally he asks an old hermit, and, um… the hermit says, “I don’t know him, but I know how you can serve him and maybe he’ll come to you.” He takes him to this big river, which is always rushing with rapids, and it’s dangerous, but people always have to cross it, and he says, “Well, ya know, if you serve him this way and help people cross the river, he might make himself known to you.” So Offero says, “Well he’s obviously the most powerful if Satan’s afraid of him, so ok, I’ll do it.” He’s like, “If you can help people, a lot of people have died crossing this river. If you can help people crossing this river, on your back, you know, you can help them get across safely, then that would be serving him.” And Offero says “Ok.” And he builds a hut, and he gets a staff, and he helps people across the river, he helps anybody who wants to go across the river, he puts them on his back and he helps them across the river. This is a long time ago, before bridges. And he does this for years and years, and you know, he’s like, “Gee, I don’t really know who I’m serving, but it’s nice here, and anyway, people are friendly to me, they like that I’m doing this, and so, I think I’m serving the most powerful person in the world, so ok.” One night he’s tryna go to sleep, and there’s a terrible storm, and he thinks he can go to bed early cause it’s such a bad storm, nobody could possibly be crossing the river in such a torrential downfall in such wind and everything. So, but he hears something that’s like, “Help me across the river.” He hears this faint voice and Offero’s like, “Whattt, nobody could possibly be out in this weather, what is this about?” So he tries to close his eyes, but then he hears it again, you know, just a faint call, so he goes to investigate and it’s just a little kid, a little child, standing by the river and needs help crossing. He’s like, “Will you help me across the river?” And Offero looks at the kid and he’s like, “Woww, well gee, I guess, I mean it’s just a little kid, and I can probably do this, ya know. It’s terrible, terrible rain, but I can manage to get a little kid across. Certainly he can’t do it on his own.” So he puts the kid on his back and they start out across the river and it is just terrible, it is just the absolutely worst, hardest, most brutal crossing that Offero’s ever had. He feels like it gets harder and harder with every step, like he’s got the whole weight of the world on him. Just unbelievably– wasn’t even sure he could make it, but he just kept hanging onto the kid and crossing the river. And he gets to the other side and um…. And he’s like, “Well here you are, safe and sound across the river.” And he says, “By the way, who are you and why’d you wanna cross the river at such a bad time of night.” And um, he says, the kid, “Offero, can’t you tell who I am? I’m the one you’ve been serving all these years. And you have done a tremendous job serving me and I’m going to rename you– he goes I and Christ, the Prince of Peace and I am going to rename you, not Offero the bearer, which means the bearer, but I’m going to name you Christopher, the Christ bearer, because you carried me across the stream and you’ve been serving me and my people all these years. So that’s why you see St. Christopher medals. He’s a protector. He keeps people safe, that’s why you get St. Christopher medals. The medal always has St. Christopher on it with a staff carrying a child.”
This story was told to me by my Uncle Steve. It was very interesting to see the character development of Offero as the story progressed. At first, he’s just a man that wants to serve the world’s greatest power. He seems to need constant reinforcement that he is, in fact, working for the guy at the top of the totem pole. However, when Offero starts living by the river, he is only going off the word of the hermit that he is serving the Prince of Peace. He does this noble work for years before finally having his questions answered. I especially enjoyed this recitation because it didn’t come off as overly religious, despite being about the rise of St. Christopher.