Monday, April 4, 2011

One Down

Last Friday I wrote a Latin exam. I think it went well but the poem was challenging as verse in any 'foreign' language can be, especially one in which word order is fluid.The poem was an homage to St. Oswald and his miraculous non decaying hand, which had been lopped off his body in a raid on the Mercians. At least it was not about St. Aethelwold. There is a reason Aethelwold is out of fashion. He liked to give disobedient monks a good thrashing. Turn the other cheek, Aethelwold, turn the other cheek!
In one incident, which his biographers offer as proof of his saintliness, Aethelwold was inspecting the kitchens and decides the cook was doing far too good a job of keeping it clean and doing all the cooking as well. So he saunters over to the poor bastard and tells him that he must have stolen his fantastic work ethic from him and that he should prove that he is such a good servant of Christ by putting his hand into the cauldron of boiling hot soup and extract a tasty morsel for him from the bottom. The poor fellow does as he is ordered but his hand comes out intact, not covered with raw weeping burns. Aethelwold is shocked and tells him not to tell anybody about this. Later, the miracle is attributed to Aethelwold not the saintliness of the obedient fellow who put his hands in the boiling pot and is offered as an example of how splendid an abbot Aethelwold was. Indeed.

5 comments:

anachronist said...

Aethelwold seems to be a control freak and a sadist, not a saint. I wish you a lot of luck during your exams!

Kristin said...

I agree with anachronist--what a jerk!

Tracy said...

Yes, good luck with your other exams *hugs*

And yes, he's definitely a control freak - how can anyone steal a work ethic??

The Red Witch said...

It was a slightly loopy comment. Aethelwold got rid of all the lay clerics on the monasteries and replaced with monks under a strict Benedictine rule.
Someone tried to poison him but he survived. I think poisoning the abbot happened quite often. Someone tried to get Abelard that way.

Tracy said...

If he went round making completely impossible demands and forcing people to hurt themselves I'm not surprised someone tried to poison him!

Or maybe it was food poisoning, because the next cook hadn't stolen his work ethic!