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Page 11 of 32
The Monks' Tale

"For the meek shall inherit the earth." The first thing I see in the morning, the last thing I see at night. Chiselled in wood. By that I've lived. By that I'll die.

The only thing in my cell I call my own. Crucifix on one wall, carving on the other. Pallet in between. Doorway at its foot. Of course, no door. No room to open one. Instead, a rough curtain darkens light from the corridor.

Cold in the winter. Hot in the summer. Not a place to linger. No time to linger anyway. Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers, Compline, morning blending into afternoon into night. Garden duty. Private prayer. And the day is done. Morning offering. Choral song. Planting, weeding, trimming. Fish manure. Dunghill, too.

I work. I pray. I pray. I work. Laborare est orare.

A humble monk of Saint Bernard. Meek. None meeker. Meekest of the meek of the monks of Abbey Assaroe.

Lord, you know my meekness. Help me to be meeker. Lord, may my meekness make me worthy in your sight. Lord, heap meekness on my meekness, make me worthy in your sight. Lord, let my meekness blaze with passion in your sight.

Autumn is acoming in, and the old prior is dying.

"The meek shall inherit the earth." Lord, in my meekness I desire not the earth. Lord, in my meekness I desire naught save what is here in Assaroe. Lord, in my meekness may I inherit Assaroe. The humble Prior of Assaroe. Meek, Lord. Meek, Lord, Meek, Lord. Me, Lord.

I've seen the others look at me. More so in recent days. Funny looks. Side-glance looks. Looking after me. Seeing me coming, and turning aside. Does my meekness bother them so?

I know their thoughts. I see their hearts. Ambition!

Lord, let my meekness overcome all. Lord, let my meekness be a beacon to all. Lord, let my quest for meekness be their guide.

Not him, Lord! Grant thy servant this, Lord. Of them all, not him, Lord!

Yesterday he laughed at me. At me, Lord! Thinks my meekness is a joke, Lord.

Shrieve me of my anger, Lord. See the path he's set me on.

Should he win election, Lord, what's to come of Assaroe?

In the temple of Jerusalem, Lord, you displayed your wrath at man.

You, the meekest Lamb of God, Lord, at money changers showed your hand.

Lord; Lord, help me in my plan.

Scent of foxglove fills the kitchen. Petals crushed and essence squeezed.

Deadly nightshade in a porringer. Fill with gruel, and bring to heat.

Come, friend, let us eat.

"The Age of Christ, 1502. ....two abbots who contended with each other for the abbacy of Assaroe, died on the one day."      (The Annals of the Four Masters).

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