Historical setting: 584 C.E. The house of Eve, pagan healer
I see Anatase has cut bundles of herbs with her new blade, and as they are leaving she nearly smothers Nic’s body for his journey to the burial.
Dear God stay close to Nic on this long journey. Amen.
Now Anatase is sitting here by this bed wafting with sweet fragrance of herbs, grinning with a child’s pride of accomplishment.
“Now I know when I am supposed to read the old monk’s papers to you. It is supposed to be now that he died, just as he said it would be.”
She brandishes the gleaming scythe still in her hand.
“Be careful with that!” I warn her, as though I were a trustless elder.
“This was a gift just to me from the old monk. He had his iron shirt and his sword hammered into a plow blade and a hoe for my teacher’s gardens when he was first coming up here. Then when he found me here he had his dagger made into this little scythe so I could cut the herbs clean from their stems, and also root out the weeds. He taught me to use it to cut grasses and herbs and bundle them into sheaves, and then he showed me how to sharpen the blade so it is always ready when I need it. Did you see me today when I needed it to cut the herbs?”
“The old monk said Christians who follow Jesus Way might do for the dead as Nicodemus did for his friend Jesus. He said the man in the Jesus story brought one hundred pounds of herbs to the tomb of his friend. So, don’t you suppose I cut at least a hundred pounds of herbs for the old monk?” [John 19:39]
“He told me that when he brought you up here he didn’t need to cut the herbs from their roots for you because you would not ever be stinking of death; and so he decided to put you in our garden with all the living herbs. That was a good thing wasn’t it, because here you are alive.”
“Yes, a very good thing. Thank you Nic.” Thank you, God.
Eve is at the door. “Anatase, please let him rest now.”
“Of course. When you are done with resting I will bring the old monk’s pages and I will read to you.”
“Thanks Anatase, I’ll be waiting to hear it.”