The Golden Legend's life of St. Giles devotes its largest section to the story of St. Giles and the doe whom Christ sent to give him milk and companionship in his hermitage. One day the doe fled from hunters to take refuge with St. Giles at his hermitage in the wild near Arles, and one of the hunters accidentally shot the saint instead of the doe, as in the image at left. Giles survived and the king went to visit him. Impressed by the saint's holiness, the king built a monastery and persuaded Giles to direct it.
On the basis of this story, St. Giles's attributes are the doe, the arrow, and a crozier, the symbol of episcopal or abbatial authority, as in the portrait on the right.
The doe should not be confused with St. Eustace's deer, which has antlers and a crucifix.
Prepared in 2013 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University