Historical setting: 589 C.E. In the Vosges Mountains
Winter night won’t linger as dusk very long. The hunters are anxious to return to their base camp by dark so they leave at the first sight of the monks. I think the two Christians plan to stay with me here for the night then drag whatever is left on to a proper death or maybe a healing in the morning. Thank you God for sending Christians.
One has a fire start but their traveler’s bags are probably as sparse as my own, which I still have and I also still have my fleece. It was across my shoulders under the deerskin at the time of the so-called accident. We also have that deer hide I’m partly laying on, though it is surely bloodied by now. But it could be lashed to a frame for a night shelter for the three of us.
The taller of the Christians has the tonsure of the Irish monks as I had expected to see, knowing that Father Columbanus came from the Scoti with his followers.
He kneels down here by me and asks if I would like to make a confession. “The hunter who sent the angel to find us with the message said that you were a thief who had stolen an arrow and taken a fishhook from the fairies. We, who follow Father Columbanus accept private confession if you have need for absolution.”
“Thank you” I find I have a breath to speak now, though very softly, “The arrow was returned. But please pray that the fishhook can be used to feed the hungry.”
The other monk, the shorter fellow shorn in the Latin style asks, “Do you want me to witness his confession with you Brother?”
“Thank you Brother Pilgrim. That won’t be necessary, because the Rule of Columbanus follows the way of St. Patrick who advocated for only private confession.”
I can see that the difference between these two is more than height and haircut.
“Now Brother Pilgrim, you may collect the bramble for our fire while I offer him a quiet absolution.”
“I have a name. It’s Brother Crathius. And it may be by the holiness of Christ that you selected me from my fellow pilgrims for this mission. You see, I am a physician. So while you gather brambles I shall see to wound.”
“Very well, who am I to argue a true calling?”