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Fens library

Robin Hood, disguised as a Fens monk, hastily looking for the hand scroll in the Fens library.

By Venatius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus, taken from 'Opera: Patrologia Latina' in the 6th century.

'Blackhearted wretch, all caked in smoke, Face like a stewpot, smeared with soot, Like your utensils, filthy black, You three-legged pot, you slimy pan, You don't deserve tse verses mine, I'll make a charcoal sketch instead, Whose shameful likeness will recall A pitch-blackhearted man withal.'

An 'tis followed by 'Take It Easy' which reads as follows:

'Drop business and lawsuits on the Palatine. This festive table bids you dine and wine. Let din of law and wrangling cases rest, The day is joyous. To relax is best.'

  • The duties of the Cellarer of a monastery are described: he must be intelligent, mature of character, sober, have no greed nor be lazy or insulting, nor boisterous.

He should do nothing without the Abbot's orders and do whatever he is ordered. He should not offend the brothers, and should answer with humility and reason any untoward request.

He should care for children, guests the sick and poor, for by his treatment of them will he be weighed on the Day of Judgement.

He is to look after the vessels and all sacred articles of the monastery. He is to give out equally and fairly the apportioned provisions to all brothers.

This is written by Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century in his 'Regula'.

Herein Sulpicius Severus of the 5th century writes of the power of St. Martin, who had gone to a pagan village and destroyed an ancient temple.

He began then to cut down a sacred pine tree, but the priests of the place objected. St. Martin explained that it was not holy, but the boldest of them challenged him.

He said 'If you have such faith in this God you worship, we will ourselves cut down this tree if you will allow yourself to be bound to the ground where it will fall, trusting only to your God to save you.'

This St. Martin allowed and was made fast onto the ground where the pagans thought no doubt could be that the tree would fall. As they cut, they cried out joyously drawing a crowd.

St. Martin, had no fear and waited patiently, with full faith in the Lord. As the tree fell crashing he lifted up his hand and the tree was driven back to fall in the opposite direction, nearly falling upon those who had cut it.

Thus were the pagans dismayed and the village brought under the salvation of God.

  • This scroll speaks of what philosophers call atoms, which are so minute that they are indivisible and cannot be cut or divided or further broken down.

It is believed that these atoms sweep through the void of the universe, restlessly, going in all directions. Some ancient philosophers considered that all things-- grass, crops, trees, fire, water--spring from and are composed from these atoms.

In Greek 'tomos' means division; 'atomos' means indivisibility. Thus writes Isidore of Seville in the 'Etymologies' in the 7th century.

  • 'Tis from an Anglo-Saxon Manual from Astronomy written but a century ago. It notes how the sea flows according to the rising of the moon, and that a tree cut down during a full moon will be harder against worm-eating than those cut down under a new moon.

It is not stars, but fire that falls from the sky, being fire which flies from heavenly bodies, for stars are fixed as God placed them in the firmament and cannot fall as long as this world endures.

Yet the moon, sun, evening and day star and three other stars are not fixed and move in their courses through the heavens. 'Septem planetae' these seven are called.

  • There is no notation of the writer of this scroll, yet it seems to speak of the history of this very fortress, turned monastery.

It speaks of the Ignis Fatuus, the will-o'-the-wisps, whose name means 'foolish fire'. These, it says, are the spirits of the dead, those who have drown in this fens.

It speaks also of The Guardians of the Gate and names them thusly: COGITO the Thinker, MALITIA the Malicious, INEPTUS the Foolish, VOCALIS the Speaker, IEIUNUS the Hungry, HILARIS the Jolly and DEFORMIS the Ugly.

It ends with this: 'When you've touched the face of wisdom and the face of that which hungers, then will the fool's tongue be loosened and the path made clear.'

A poor, but very evil man was buried, but at night would leave his grave and walk again. At his side would run a back of barking dogs.

This sight and sound threw the people into great terror until he returned to his grave at dawn. Those unlucky to be caught would have their blood sucked by this creature.

The elders consulted, having heard other tales. Thus they hired ten bold young men to dig up the horrible corpse and chop it to pieces, then burn it

Yet after it was destroyed, still a plague came and killed most of the people, and it was said the plague came from the walking dead.

They built a siege tower of small pieces of wood, all that was to be had, and bound it with leather thongs. They attacked with catapults and other contraptions and daring soldiers laucned stones and arrows from the siege tower.

The Saracens within hurled from their slings torches and flaming brands soaked in oil and fat and thus many died upon both sides.

By noon the day dedicated to Venus, the walls were breached and taken. Franks and others poured in and pursued the Saracens so that the enemy were driven to take refuge inside the holy places.

Within the Temple of Solomon, 10,000 Saracens were decapitated. Not a soul was spared, neither the women nor children.

The squires and poorest soldiers slit the bellies to search for jewels that had been swallowed, then burned the bodies to thus search in the ashes for coins.

After the massacre, the Crusaders sacked the homes and took whatever they found there, rich or poor.

However, Count Raymund allowed Turks, Arabs and some 500 dark Ethiopians who had taken refuge in the Temple of David to depart alive, after leaving all their money within the citadel.

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