Sunday, August 24, 2008

1.13 (Chap. 13)

Jagienka herself melted a large pot of bear's grease. Macko drank the first quart willingly, because it was fresh, and smelt good. Jagienka put the rest of it in a pot. Macko's hope increased; he was sure he would be cured.

"That is what I needed," said he. "When all parts inside of me become greasy, then that dog's splinter will slip out."

But the next quarts did not taste as well as the first; but he continued to drink it and Jagienka encouraged him, saying:

"You will get well. Zbilud of Ostrog had the links of a coat of mail driven into his neck; but they slipped out because he drank grease. But when your wound opens, you must put some of a beaver grease on it."

"Do you have some?"

"Yes, we do. But if it be necessary to have it fresh, we will go with Zbyszko and get a beaver. Meanwhile it would not do any harm, if you promised something to some saint, who is the patron for wounds."

"I was thinking about that, but I do not know to whom I should make the promise. Saint George is the patron of knights; he protects the warrior from any accident and always gives him bravery, and it is said that sometimes he fights personally for the one who is just. But a saint, who fights willingly, does not heal willingly; and for that, there must be another saint with whom he would not want to interfere. It is known that every saint has his specialty. But they will not interfere with one another; because that would cause quarrels, and it is not proper to fight in heaven. There are Kosma and Damian to whom all doctors pray, that illness doesn’t disappear; otherwise the doctors would not have anything to eat. There is Saint Apolonia for the teeth and Saint Liborius for stone; but they will not do for me. The abbot, when he comes, will tell me whom I must ask. Not every cleric knows all celestial secrets and not everyone of them is familiar with such things, but the abbot is."

"Suppose you make a vow to the Lord Jesus himself?"

"Of course he is over all of them. But suppose your father had injured my servant, and I went to Krakow to complain to the king; what would the king tell me? He would say: 'I am monarch over all the country, and you complain to me about one of your peasants! Do you not have my officials in your part of the country; why did you not go to the castellan?' So the Lord Jesus is the ruler over the whole universe; but for smaller affairs, he employs the saints."

"Then I will tell you what to do," said Zbyszko, who entered just now; "make a vow to our late queen, that if she intercede for you, you will make a pilgrimage to Krakow. Why should you search after strange saints, when our own lady is better than they are?"

"Yeah! If I only knew that she would intercede for wounds!"

"No matter! There is no saint who would dare to show her an angry face, and if he did, Lord would punish him for it, because she was not an ordinary woman, but a Polish queen."

"Who converted the last pagan country to the Christian faith! That is right," said Macko. "She must have a high place in God's council and surely none would dare to oppose her. Therefore I will do as you say."

Jagienka was pleased too, she admired Zbyszko's common sense. That same evening, Macko made a vow and drank the bear's grease with still greater hope. But after a week, he began to lose hope. He said that the grease was fermenting in his stomach, and that a lump was growing on his side near the last rib. At the end of ten days Macko was worse, and the lump grew larger and became inflamed. The sick man again had fever and began to make preparations for death.

One night he suddenly awakened Zbyszko:

"Light a torch; there is something the matter with me, but I do not know what."

Zbyszko jumped up and lighted a torch.

"What is it?"

"What is it! Something has pierced the lump on my side. It must be the head of the spear! I had hold of it, but I cannot pull it out."

"Spearhead! Nothing else. Grasp it well and pull."
Macko began to turn and to twist with pain; but he pushed his fingers deeper and deeper, until he seized a hard object, which, finally, he pulled out.

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