Historical setting: 589 C.E. The cottage in the mountains
Brother Servant and I are talking quietly. Ana is resting in the next room.
He tells me, “Ana has been anxious to hear what has become of her teacher and her home by the Loire. She saw smoke rising behind her as she was being abducted, and she fears the worst.”
“It was a great loss.”
He tells me she’s had no closure though she grieves.
I can say it to this fellow more easily than I could tell Ana, “Her blind teacher, Eve, was killed swiftly by sword. As she heard Anatase screaming she wandered into the darkness calling after her and she was struck down. As they carried Ana off the marauders torched the house.
“Eve was buried in a family place by her mother’s grave along with Anatase’s gift of pages of herbs. It was a gift she had given her blind teacher when she was yet a child offering something to touch and smell of the garden the teacher most loved. Loosing both Eve and Anatase was is a terrible grief for our whole family. We didn’t know if the kidnapping was by a pagan tribe or pirates, so we searched among the pagans simply because we knew where they were. I feared if the pirates had taken her we would never find her.
“Coming from his own island you must know well, when St. Patrick was stolen by pirates his family never saw him again.”
The servant answers, “You know of St. Patrick?”
“I’ve thought of him often as we’ve been searching for Anatase. My prayer was that she would feel God’s presence with her always as St. Patrick had known it.”
“It’s amazing to me that even in this barbarian wilderness Patrick is still known.”
“Not by all, even in these times. I learned of that island when I was a shipwrecked there, but I saw the footprints of Saint Patrick everywhere. So here in Gaul when the pagans told me of a Celtic Christian who had a following of Irish monks I set out in search of Father Columbanus. I found some pagan hunters who know these mountains and I hoped they would guide me to Annegray. You see how that worked out. One of them mistook me for a deer. I should have remembered the Celtic weakness for ignoring the distinctions between deer and Christians.”
“How do you mean?” he asks.
“Surely you’ve heard the legend, coming as you do from Patrick’s island.”