Post #5.1, Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Historical Setting, 562 C.E. Gaul

I ask for Colleta’s latest gossip, “So, you know nothing of the fire except that you can guess what happened?”

         “Yes Papa Lazarus. You alone should hear my suspicion because I can’t tell Enola and Ezra thinks it isn’t important. But it were my sisters told me their thoughts of this and they would know it well.”

         Even in the everyday poverty of these times Colleta wears the pink plump of privilege. She maintains her stake in a miniature social order of her own sisters’ designs by keeping a close ear to gossip so that she may always be the teller and never the topic. I expect her “secret” which she is only glad to reveal is meat for rumor and not about fact.

         “So what guesses are among your sisters as to the cause of the fire?”

         “It were our own cousin Jesse!”

         “The widower and new father?”

         “Indeed. The storm came down on us all to punish him no doubt. Early that evening he slammed on his wife’s family’s door shouting and cursing. My own father from next door heard the ruckus and came out to tell him it were the Christ Mass and he should go to the church. Just then the storm dropped down on earth on a wicked breath of wind, hissing and clacking then into full roar as Jesse cursed the Christians for their church and threatened to bring the pagan curses down on them all! So wouldn’t you suppose it were Jesse who took a flaming torch and crept into the church late after all had left so no one would notice? He set the flame that brought down the whole of that old Roman building.”

         “Surely some monks or the priest would have noticed.”

         “Everyone was off to sleeping places as it were so late.”

         “Since Jesse would have been coming from outside the city it seems he would have had to go through the crowds on the road leaving the sanctuary and surely some of the monks would’ve stayed there the night so not to cross the river in the darkness. I mean he would have had to enter right through the only door in the city wall. It’s fortified against an army. It would be hard to get in unseen with a torch. The huge wall of the city and the church are built together of solid stone. It seems a stretch to blame Jesse.”

         “Of course, he went right into the door with no one noticing. Papa Lazarus, how can you call yourself Christian when you make excuses for these works of demons against God?”

(Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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