Also called Cynosura, or “Dog's tail,” from its circular
sweep. The pole star is a in the tail. (See Cynosure.)
St. Ursula and the eleven thousand virgin martyrs.
Ursula was a British princess, and, as the legend says, was going
to France with her virgin train, but was driven by adverse winds to
Cologne, where she and her 11,000 companions were martyred by the Huns.
This extravagant legend is said to have originated in the discovery of
an inscription to Ursula et Undecimilla Virgines, “the virgins
Ursula and Undecimilla;” but by translating the latter name, the
inscription reads “Ursula and her 11,000 virgins.” Visitors to Cologne
are shown piles of skulls and human bones heaped in the wall, faced
with glass, which the verger asserts are the relics of the 11,000
martyred virgins. (See Virgins.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894