Historical setting: 564 C.E. The road into Bordeaux
On this ride to Bordeaux I am telling Nic what I remember of my life before I was found robbed and beaten.
“I was walking back to my family’s home from Tours when I was attacked.”
“So how was your wealth worthy of a robber if you were living the poverty of a monk?”
“I remember this all now. I will tell you, Nic, why I had a treasure with me that day. I hope you find the humor in it.
“There was this fellow, George who was supposed to teach me all the trimmings of a superstitious belief system which is searing a mark from a pagan root unto Christianity. He was writing a history of the Franks, a hagiography, and had his sights on becoming Bishop of Tours. He dreamed up his name to be, ‘Gregory of Tours.’
“His assignment for my lesson was to claim an ancient saint as my patron. But I can tell you this Nic; a living breathing patron is much better company than a dead saint, even if the living guy is an old soldier.”
“Again,” Nic mentions, “You know, Brother Joel would differ as to the value of a spiritual presence over the worth of a skin and bones man.”
“Yes, Nic, but you notice Joel is back in camp. His spirit may wander, but it is his physical infirmity that is holding him back.”
“So, tell me your patron saint provided you with a treasure they robbed from you on the road?”
“As a matter of fact, he did. It was kind of a joke that I made a relic of my own to fulfill the instruction. So I was carrying a fray of my own whiskers in a walnut shell as a reliquary. That was the ‘true whiskers of Saint Lazarus’ a fourth century Christian martyr. He was no doubt, a heretic who still believed in a tangible human Jesus, but that seemed not to matter to young George.”
Nic laughs. “Oh, so it is ‘Saint’ Lazarus now. But I’ll just probably keep on calling you Laz.”
“I’m only telling you this because it explains the so-called ‘treasure’ that was robbed along with my clothing. It seems a pilgrim awaiting healing at the tomb of St. Martin saw my relic when I was pretending to calm the waters for our river crossing. The coincidence of the calming apparently gave credence to my ruse, and made it seem my walnut shell was a thing of value.”
Bordeaux is just as August told us.