Giles is thought to have been born in Athens in the seventh century. He devoted himself to God from his youth and traveled to Gaul for more solitude for after people continually sought him out for his sanctity. Many people in Gaul also sought his counsel and he hid himself once more, becoming a hermit in the dense forest near Nîmes, where his only companion was a deer. Legend relates that the king's hunters found Giles while they were chasing his pet deer, but historians are uncertain which king this was, since various sources give different names for the king. In any case, the king honored Giles and would have given high office, but the saint refused; Giles did agree to become the abbot for a new monastery of monks which he built in the valley and placed under the rule of St. Benedict. Giles died in the early eighth century and his cult spread throughout Europe. St. Giles' feast is September 1; two other saints of the same name are also honored on this day: St. Giles, a tenth century Italian hermit and Blessed Giles, a twelfth century Spanish abbot.