#42.9, Tues., March 21, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. The Pilgrim’s path to Luxeuil

         This is that Guntram story told, but not written, so by the standard my boys use for knowing truth it is merely on the brink of becoming true. The twins take turns layering one strange strand of story onto the next, until at last Guntram seems worthy of sainthood because he gifted a meager portion of a windfall treasure.

         Greg starts, “It happened by a mountain where water ran down.”

         “Could have been here. Guntram was hunting, and his trusted guard was with him.”

         “Saint Guntram suddenly became very tired so he decided to take a nap.”
         “He had his guard sit down to provide his lap as a pillow.”

         “Already it is a strange story.” I add.

         Greg picks it up, “While he was sleeping a little reptile like animal came out of his mouth.”

         Gabe continues, “And it crossed over a little stream on an iron bridge made of a sword.”

         “It went into a hole in the mountain a stayed for a little while.”

         “Then it came out and crossed back over on the sword, then went back into the mouth of the king.”

         “When the king awoke he said he had a wonderful vision.”

         “And he followed it over the sword and into the cave and there…”

         “He found a massive hoard of treasure and all that was missing was a dragon to guard it.” [footnote1]

            “Guntram claimed it for himself.”

         “So,” I ask, “How does that make him a saint?”

         The boys had no ready answer for this. But when at long last it will be put into writing and truth be known with this as the ending:

         “…also, the king set aside a great portion of the precious metals and gems to be donated to the Church. According to the tale, he had an ornate gold-and-gem-covered canopy crafted for the tomb of St. Marcellus in Châlon-Sur-Saone.” [footnote2]

         I know something of this elderly King’s support for monasteries — out of sight of the rumor mongering hagiographer Gregory who claimed friendship with the reptilian King of Burgundy. To me, the legend seems a pleasing allegory probably out of the mouth of the King himself to humble his gifting. Luxeuil is also such a place as a monastery in Châlon-Sur-Saone with that same king as benefactor.  And Gregory of Tours might not even know.

         Now the crowds along this path are increasing and the pulse of pilgrimage is all-absorbing as we move closer and closer to Luxeuil.

[footnote1]https://thehistorianshut.com/2021/02/01/the-bizarre-legend-of-king-guntram-being-led-to-a-treasure-by-a-dream-reptile/  retrieved 7-4-22

[footnote2]History of the Lombards by Paul the Deacon, translated by William Dudley Foulke (c. 1904). University of Pennsylvania Press, 1907, 1974, 2003.

(Continues Tomorrow)

#legend, #Guntram strange tale,

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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