Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Slight Midwinter's Digression

Jonathon has memories. He picutres scenes long gone, from places far away. There was an inn on the way to the manor of the great Rashi. They camped not far off and were able to witness the comings and goings . The building was contructed of stout, Catalonian gray stones. Long timbers spanned the heights,  providing support to the peaked, tiled roof. Pigeons, or some other similar breed, made their nests under the eaves and they fluttered 'round the structure like mustering angels. A thin, long tracing of fragrant smoke danced up from the chimeny (quite the modern marvel at the time) and disappeared into the watery, white, featureless sky. The traveling band of devout Jews (Jonathon, his father, other kin and retainers) did not enter the fine building for two reasons. Crusaders were abroad in the region and it was not in the least illegal (or immoral) to slaughter non Trinatarians. And if times were different and the souls 'round about a bit more congenial, the fare offered within would still not conform to the diet of righteousness. So they took their ease within a stand of trees, ate their cold repast (a fire would attract too much attention) and nervously  observed the personages entering and leaving the worthy establishment. There was an hidalgo (nobleman) and his entourage. Two nuns accompanied by some sort of  Christian religious, probably a deacon, went in. The usual compliment of merchants off to some trade fair or another. And then there came the woman. Now we all know hos unseemly it was for women to go traveling without some sort of male guardianship. But this woman was alone. She  stopped outside and looked down the coarse, primitive road  to the Israelite encampment. Ans she seemed to see them clearly through the trees. She could have sounded the alarm. She could have yelled -- Jews! Jews! There are Christ Killers abroad among us!! She could have thrown up her arms and run around screaming like a crazy person. But she did not. She just looked (actually locking eyes with Jonathon), smiled and nodded. Jonathon nodded back. She turned and proceeded in through the heavy, wooden door. A moment later a damp, chill breeze came through, stirring the leaves and scattering the dust. The Israelites retreated to their tents. When it was past and they came out, a light, lacy, wafer-like substance clung to the trees. Jonathon took a piece and tasted it. Then he took some to his father and the others and they tasted it too. A particular retainer who had been born and raised up in the Holy Land said that it was manna. And the others agreed. They ate and were nousished. The episode was over. But  Jonathon recalled the face of the woman. And she looked just like a medieval version of Peekaboo Street.

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