Historical setting: 584 C.E. The house of Eve
I‘m walking with Eve, so we may talk about the promise made to have Anatase. I also want to learn what Nic’s pages may say of sorrows. I fear this child may come upon the woes of our family or maybe I can have her skip over those things. Eve thinks we shouldn’t hide our sorrows but let Anatase see the truths of grief in order that in her own times of sorrow she know others share this.
“But my worry is for family things I don’t want to hear in a child’s reading lesson.”
“Papa, the things we should keep hidden from Anatase won’t be in the pages. Before Daniel brought her here, rumors of her ‘magic’ were spreading in the Christian village deep in the forests of Alemanni. These superstitions spewed stories of charmed and magical children. It frightened her family so they gave her to the Christian priest. We needn’t tell Anatase her mother gave her away.”
“Maybe she knows. She remembers things well.”
“Papa,” Eve talks on, “She was only four years old. Rumors [footnote] run among Christians of the Black Forest that pagan tribes feed their gods the most perfect and charmed children. They dress them up pretty only to throw them into bogs, tied and torn, entombed in earth simply to win a favor from some little angry god of theirs.
“Daniel goes up that way from time to time to the cooper to buy oaken barrels for the wines.”
“Sure, oak barrels make the best wine.”
“He says the wine learns from the sacred wood where Christians tussle with druids over the holiness of trees.
“So when he was there he saw the pagan priest with the child and he arranged to take that child to be my apprentice. Since no one is suffering droughts or quakes or plagues or fires in these times the gods don’t seem hungry for a sacrifice right off. So she was sent on with Daniel with the agreement she would be returned to them when she is fully trained.
“Papa, she’s been with me half her life! I love her as though she were my own child! What would I do if she were taken from me? And what would she do? My home is her home. I only hope she knows nothing of this.”
[footnote] Rumors, even in these times there is no certainty about the findings of bog bodies in Northern Europe. This blogger assumes such preserved bodies found at times in digging for peat were also present to spur rumors of human sacrifice for these ancients.
(Continues Tuesday, June 1)