Saturday, 5 December 2009

A deviation from the rule

Brother Marcel is not one of us. I have known this since I met him the first time. His words are mild and his clothes are ours, but I can see the dissent in his eyes.

Believe me when I say this, since I know what I'm talking about. As you might recall, I have not always been a monk myself. I have experience of the world. I used to take pride in my ability to find out people like Brother Marcel. To find them out and to make them confess.

I can feel your scepticism as I can see your good heart, but you are being deluded. Don't you think that I had also doubts myself? That I have hesitated many times before raising my finger in accusation? I am an old man and my peace of mind is worth to me more than all riches in the world. Nevertheless, I once pledged to defend our community and I am no man to break his word.

How do I know about Brother Marcel, you ask? What evidence do I bring to support my charges? Call Philip to bear witness and he'll tell you about Brother Marcel's discordant singing. Call Jason and he'll confirm Brother Marcel's refusal to sweep the cloister floor three times, as it has always been done.

And Andrew, call also Andrew. He will tell you about the book that we found yesterday in Brother Marcel's cell. Early this morning, Andrew has checked the List of Permitted Books and the title of Brother Marcel's book was not on the list. Are you really surprised that Brother Marcel was reading a forbidden book? I am not. I have seen this coming from the beginning.

Brother Marcel's book is bound in leather and it is not even written in our language. After breakfast, we have asked Gregory to inspect the book. Andrew had expected it to be a book written by our enemies to preach against our ideas. But that would have been too easy and Brother Marcel is much too clever for that. Gregory told us that, at first sight, it looks like a cookbook, but that it could be something else.

Call Timothy and he'll recount his conversation with Brother Marcel last week, when Brother Marcel expressed his discontent about our food. Patrick has been our cook for twenty-seven years. Tell me, how could anyone dare criticize Patrick's abilities in the kitchen? What's even worse, Brother Marcel has taken advantage of Patrick's sickness today by entering the kitchen while all other monks were in the fields.

Yes, you have all seen what Brother Marcel has done! That's the sweet cream we all got served after lunch. Who has ever seen such a thing before? Brother Marcel says that the sweet cream comes from the forbidden book. Do you believe me now when I tell you that he is not one of us?


[Image by adrianfinchphotography under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]