#42.6, Tues., March 14, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. On the way to Luxeuil

         Today we walk toward Luxeuil with nothing but our fleeces for bed and a loaf of bread and wedge of cheese for the sharing. We are barely halfway to Luxeuil when the boys suggest we stop and eat the bread and cheese because they are hungry, and with everyone fasting as I said we all would be, Greg and Gabe mention it would be rude to eat our food in front of the others. But I expected they would be fasting too and this little food we have would be for sharing at a Feast of the Resurrection. I fear they are missing the point of actually partaking in a pilgrimage not just observing from afar.

         When we stop along the way Greg again makes his plea, “Papa, if God wanted us to be hungry we wouldn’t have been supplied with cheese.”

         I lectured, “God expects we will put the needs of others ahead of our own. Food is for sharing.”

         And suddenly the earth rumbles with the weight of hoofs in a wild stampede and crashing through the thicket only a few yards from us is a huge bull auroch as tall at the shoulder as my full height standing.  I’ve never seen this before. This enormous horned bovine is as surprised to see us as we are him. He stops for a moment, and lowers his head, and paws the earth, as another beast breaks through the forest edge behind him, then he turns away, and they race off together.

         For a moment we are speechless and staring off at the dust cloud.

         Greg says, “Papa, we should have brought bows!  This was surely a sign that God wants us to eat on this journey.”

         Gabe argues, “That was an auroch and it is forbidden to hunt them.”

         These boys know something I’ve not been privy too.  I’ve never even seen an animal this large with such massive horns, much less considered hunting it.

         Gabe explains it as he has heard it from Charlie.

         “Our forests here are the hunting grounds for the kings. It was said that when St. Guntram hunted these forests the auroch was considered a rare prize, so when one of his own hunting party killed one of them Guntram had the man executed for it. It is always the kings’ rule that only kings may hunt an auroch.”  [Footnote]

         Such strange things my children know — I ask, “St. Guntram?”

[Footnote] this legend attesting to the cruelty of Guntram is recorded in O’Hara’s findings: Said to have been recorded in the history by Gregory of Tours.” though this blogger didn’t find that in the edited English translation available.

(Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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