Historical setting: 588 C.E. Forest Primeval
A scream of terror pierces the night.
Count Bert is screaming, “a dragon! A dragon is slithering through the wood right toward our camp!”
It is the night of Samhain when the two plains, the immortal and the mortal of earth become one. “This was the case in the mythical period. This happens during the night of Samhain … the eve of the Celtic New Year. This night belongs neither to one year nor the other, and as it were, free from temporal restraint.” [Footnote]
We are in a world where time and season isn’t counted in Roman numerals. And apparently we have encountered a dragon.
A dragon is a mythical beast. Everyone has dragons. The Chinese, the Christians, the heretics we all have dragons. In our particular forest of Christendom the dragon is a metaphor for evil. For those who only live in a literal world without metaphor a dragon is a gigantic, rare reptile that breaths fire and fearing it serves as a welcome substitute for fearing actual evil, even for the literalist. The bible tells of aquatic leviathan serving fear also. But apparently these Gualish dragons aren’t swimmers. They don’t cross rivers, so rumor has it we are safe in our own land on the other side of the Loire. But this forest might well have dragons.
So we are under this mysterious early moon of the pagan ceremony of Samhain, eight men with seven swords and a banner, standing ready to smite the dragon whatever that may be. Our leader, Count Bert caught a glimpse of its flaming tongue as it was slithering through the trees — a slimy formless worm. Swords drawn and yellow banner high we stare into the smoke of our fire trying to see whatever sent the Count into such a panic. With a whiff of breeze the smoke gives way, and here it is clearly before us! Yes indeed it is the evil we came to slay. It is the band of pagans with a flaming torch held high by the druid himself. Through the smoky dim they must have seemed a dragon.
Daniel knows this little priest now holding high his tongue of fire. It is indeed the one we have come this far to slay. He speaks first.
“So it’s you, Daniel, come all the way from the vineyards on the Loire to pay homage to the dead in the time of Samhain.”
[Footnote] Sjoestedt, Marie-Louise, Celtic God’s and Heroes, (Dover Publications, Inc.Mineola, reprint 2000.) p. 52.