Five Popular Myths You Should Not Believe

We all have our cherished theories about everything from famous quips to favorite cures, not to mention history. But the facts tell a different story. How many of these five myths did you buy?

By Herb Reich from the book Don’t You Believe It! from Reader's Digest | June 2010

4. Saint Patrick was Irish.
Blarney. Saint Patrick was born in 385 or 387 in what is now western Britain to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman heritage. When he was about 16, he was captured by a band of Irish marauders and sold to an Irish chieftain, whom he served as a shepherd. During this period, he spent considerable time learning the local language and customs. He escaped after six years and returned to Great Britain.

Several years later, he started his studies for the priesthood, and around 433, he went back to Ireland, built churches, and converted thousands. Although the exact dates are clouded in mythology, it appears that his mission lasted about 30 years; by the time of his death, in 461 or 493, Christianity had a firm hold in Ireland. In about the eighth century, Patrick became Ireland’s patron saint. As for stories of driving out the snakes and using a three-leaf clover to explain the Trinity, most scholars consider them fanciful folklore.

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