1895: French Hero Refuses Reward for Saving Lives

M. Rocher, commissary of police at Levallois, has, on the demand of a number of the inhabitants, opened an inquiry in regard to an old man popularly known as le père Harang.

Harang, who is over sixty years of age, is said to have saved over a hundred persons from drowning and has never claimed the modest sum awarded in each case by the Prefecture of Police. He is employed on one of the floating warehouses on the Seine.

When M. Rocher asked him how many people he had saved the courageous old man replied, “Oh, Monsieur le Commissaire, I don’t really remember. I did my duty, didn’t I? Well, then, that’s all that is necessary.”

Nothing that the commissaire could say could draw anything further from him.

— The New York Herald, European Edition, September 19, 1895.

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