Historical setting: 588 C.E. Ligugè
I’ve just met this man who has come as a messenger bringing the sorrows we share. We both love Eve in our own ways. I’ve learned now that Eve was violently slashed by invaders outside her burning house. She was clutching her precious parchments on which Anatase had placed herbs for ‘reading’ in her blindness. Thole tells me the child was stolen, probably to be a young wife for some brutal heathen.
I do know of this man Thole. All those years ago even before there was Nic, I was staying in the haymow of Eve’s cottage when I heard the farmer, Jesse, pounding at the door begging Eve to come help his wife in the midst of a difficult birth. (Blog posts #3.13 & #4.1) So it was an icy Christmas Eve when this man was born, and also when his mother died. The Christian mid-wives and even the whole family of his father, Jesse, on that night were celebrating the birth of Jesus at the Cathedral of the Saint. He could find no Christian to help with the birth so he walked all the way to Eve to summons a healer he thought was pagan. I heard him at her door, but I didn’t realize what was happening until near morning when I found Eve returning alone in the icy storm nearly frozen to death. This man Thole was born in a bed of sorrow that night, and now here we are strangers to one another, both grieving for a woman who was called by Christian’s “pagan.” But the chant she taught to fill that night with shouts and pleas was the Jesus prayer. She told me his father, who claimed the creed, didn’t even know the words to the Jesus prayer. She had to teach it to him so the cold silence of the death before the birth would be hallowed.
I think at his birth this boy was named “Troll” by his father, to honor the pagan who came when no Christian would come. Now he is called “Thole” and I also know that as a small child he was Eve’s helper before she had Anatase.
He remembers her. He says, “I could easily see why my father was so taken with her. My papa always wanted to marry her, I wish he had; then she really would have been my mother. But she would never hear of it.”
I show Thole to the guestroom. We will leave at first light.