Historical setting: 584 C.E. Ligugè
Now there is a stirring among the horses and the doves flap and fly immediately into the rafters. The stable master is at the doorway, surprised to see another monk here in his own assigned workplace.
“I came out here for some hairs of horses for my paint brush.”
“Hairs of horses we have aplenty here, Brother. And my currycomb still has some hairs of royal horses who stopped by here yesterday when one of them came up lame. All four of them came in here at noontide to escape the sun’s heat, and after a wrap of the hocks and a rest they were on their way again.”
This man must be lonely. He is a fountain of human chatter with news as the one who meets all the visitors when they first arrive, even just travelers who aren’t even guests. He knows all the latest happenings of the world and he waits to tell all to anyone who shows up listening.
“The king’s men were here for hours with all the news of the Kingdom but the abbot doesn’t want us spreading the unholy gossip in the oratorio or at the dining boards. So I can only speak it to the horses unless someone comes in here for the hair of a brush. Let me tell you what I know.”
I nod; he continues.
“King Chilperic is calling his guardsmen together to go on a hunt into his brother’s woods. You know it is Brunhilda who rules there now as consort to the baby King. They said the Bishop of Tours is very annoyed with Chilperic, the King of Nuestra, these days. He calls him a “Nero.” That was an idiot ruler of Rome, you know.”
“I know. But I thought Chilperic was on better terms with the Bishop.”
“Yea, you would think, but when you get two rulers with power over the same territory, even though one claims heaven and the other earth, feathers are bound to fly.”
“I’ve heard Chilperic is spreading the nobility far and wide nowadays, even making counts from commoners.”
“Aye. Did you hear tell of the stable hand in Tours, son of a slave who was elevated through the ranks, right up to count? Leudast.” [Footnote]
“I’ve heard of such rises in power. But the count I was thinking of is doing the king’s business in a smaller village than Tours, though he was also given lands.”
[Footnote] A History of the Franks, Book V, #48, by Gregory of Tours, Translated by Ernest Brehaut, (reprint from First Rate Publisher).