Historical setting: 590 C.E. Cottage between Annegray and Luxeuil
Maybe they are neighbors. A family of hunters found our doorstep on their way home from somewhere they say is a church named after St. Martin said to be hidden in the woods behind the monastery. It seems legends of Christian saints left a sour taste with these neighbors even though they claim to be Christian.
Colleen was the one of us most wanting neighbors, but now that they’ve heard her Irish twist of words they see her as a foreigner and assume she is here to object to their Pagan glint.
The older woman rages, “You think you are the righteous Christian who comes from far away sneering at Mother Nature and claiming only the cross of Christ can bring victory in the war between gods no one wants to fight! Some monks from the south come with Christ but no Jesus, and some from a western island have a Jesus and a Christ but no Diana. They would all just smash our treasured gods of the forest and give us only the Christian icon of a bleeding man. When the ancient goddess takes to the realm of the skies, they say, that proves she is evil because only witches fly. And yet, Spirit is a god in Christian. It makes no sense.” She abruptly concludes, “There I’ve said my piece.”
I have to ask it, “Does the priest at the Christian church practice the veneration of the goddess Diana?”
The visitors talk among themselves in the barbarian language of Pagan hunters. They decide to go on their way peacefully, and never to return here. This “peaceful exit” will take a little while though, because each of the children needs to be bundled back into boots and firs.
In Ana’s room where the children have gathered Ana is in her bliss, with children all around. The whole wide-eyed brood is captivated by her stories. And now Colleen has a warm pot of gruel and biscuits ready to share, even with the scowling adults.
The younger of the men takes me aside to ask of my variety of Christian which allows me two wives.
“No really I have only one wife, Ana, and she is with child so..”
“I understand, no need to tell me more, my friend.”
“Really, Colleen is the midwife; I have only one wife.”
“No need to apologize to me; I’m no priest. But it is a very resourceful plan.”
“No, it’s not what you think…”