Historical setting: 588 C.E. Count Bertigan’s estate
As the great victory feast is being prepared rumors of our so-called war are swirling. I can hardly affirm any truth to the rumors – I was there. I saw we had a campfire all night and watched and listened as the Pagan tribe performed rituals of Samhain on that night of the rising, when the dead are said to cross through the haze from the otherworld deep in the earth where the gods of the Celts have their home.
Colleta wants my affirmation of rumors to serve her children’s interests. I can only agree that Daniel would be slayer of a metaphorical dragon as he is surely a good man.
As for her other child, Celeste, she wants my advice on fixing up the meat of gossip that surrounds Celeste’s husband, Count Bertigan.
I ask Colleta what she’s heard of Bert’s adventure at warring.
Her answer, “He was near death, and he said the Pagans summonsed his dead mother up from Hell.”
“I’m not sure the pagans would say it was ‘Hell.’”
“Where else would you think they would find his mother? Don’t argue. At any rate, Celeste was concerned, and she went to the village priest. She could have gone straight to the bishop with something this important, but she only asked the priest.”
“And what did the priest say?”
“He said it was the Pagan influence on Bert’s vision. Bert is a fully baptized Christian, so it would not have been a visitor from Hell, but more likely it was the Virgin Mary herself.” (Colleta makes the sign of the cross.)
I answer, “It was hard to see in the smoky darkness whose mother it was who brought him the cup of tea that healed him.”
“Oh, it was the holy mother Mary of course. How could you have missed noticing the glow around her and the golden crown?”
“It was dark and smoky, and I might have drifted off – it was late after a long day, but I really didn’t see anyone glowing with a crown. All I saw were Pagans and us.”
“Of course you wouldn’t recognize her anyway. Just don’t say anything at the feast that might ruin the appearance of the count as the amazing and miraculous Christian that he is. He could even be a saint. If anyone asks about the Virgin, just say you were sleeping.”
“So, what should I say about the banchee’s screams in the night?”
(Continues Tuesday, November 23)