Historical setting: 563 C.E., Iberia
We are preparing our horses for the day’s ride. The Great Rose has already tossed his saddle once and now Nic, the least horse experienced of the three of us has taken on the project. Nic proceeds first to be sure I am holding the rein close to the bit. Then he puts his leather shirt back on and struts it in front of The Rose. With the scent of leather on himself he picks up the saddle so the horse may see it as he prepares to lay it on the horse’s back. The boy cautiously steps back. Apparently The Rose has no objection to the saddle now, so the boy comes up and fastens the straps with a braid of leather both front and back. Even a rearing horse can’t loose the saddle. We all hope for no more rearing horse. Nic may be a horse owner but he’s hardly a rider. As for Umber and me I use only a rein and a girth strap, so Nic doesn’t have to pay for another saddle. I haul myself unto Umber.
Nic’s plan is to mount by standing on the gate rail, explaining that Calvary soldiers are taught to vault into the saddle. But he acknowledges he has had no training in that – yet.
We start down the road like two heroes bound for adventure. I think it’s The Rose who’s setting the pace. It’s a slow walk, probably good for balancing an upright human, stiffly perched on a strange new saddle. Nic knows I’m ready to jump in and offer a riding lesson so he provokes a talking point on another subject.
“So tell me about that forbidden fruit in the Garden, Lazarus.”
“Yea, last night it bored you right into snoring.”
“I forgot what you said the sin was. You said it isn’t disobedience after-all but what is it? Oh, never mind, I think I know. Original Sin is sex, is it not?”
“Nic, if I’d said that you’d have laid awake all night with your mind wandering. You know that notion of Original Sin is one of those inventions that comes with reading epistles with a punitive eye. It has no grounding in God’s love. I mean what kind of world would we live in if sex were a sin?”
“A very chaste one, I would suppose, wouldn’t you think that Lazarus?”
“A very bleak one, with either all sinners, or no children.”
“Given the choice, I guess I’d prefer a world full of both sinners and children.”
(Come again tomorrow)