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Chapter8—How Friar Tuck Tried To Become A Man Of God And How It Didn’t Take
Friar Tuck woke up at his usual midday. He rolled out of bed, stretched, farted and walked over to his small table. He poured some wine and decided to go to the outhouse. As he went around his hut he could see that the camp was starting to get active. It wasn’t active in the sense of work but in the sense of being out and about. He went to the back and looked to his right to see the new man, Rob, practicing his swordsmanship. Rob had no sword and was using a tree branch to practice. He was swinging it and slashing and generally looking foolish. Tuck has heard from some of the Merrymen that Rob was a bit of a klutz, at best.
As Tuck squatted over his pit he thought he’d talk to Rob and see if he needed spiritual advice and to make a case for going to Mass. Tuck was big on the Mass. It was his sole means of support after Robin Hood banned him from robbing travelers.
“Now, see ‛ere, Tuck. It wouldn’t look right having a priest robbing people on the highway. Ye do it in church but ye are covered there by God. On the road, it makes me look bad. Take what ye get from the collection and be satisfied.”
“Ah, ye needs to know I’m not really a priest. I’m not even a monk.”
“So? The Merrymen don’t care a whit. I’ll attend Mass to get to ye started. ‛ow’s that?” He didn’t but enough men did to make a living.
Tuck had joined the Merrymen after they tried to rob him. He put up a terrific fight against Will Scarlet, Arthur-A-Bland and Alan-A-Dale. He knocked both Arthur-A-Bland and Alan-A-Dale down. He was preparing to do the same to Will Scarlet. Will finally cracked Tuck in the head with the hilt of his sword.
“Now, priest, give me your pouch. What the ‛ell! It’s empty. Give us ye money or die”, Will said.
“I ‛ave no money. Search me if ye wish.”
They didn’t really want to search him but they wanted to find his money. They found nothing. “I ‛ave to ask. Why did ye fight so hard for nothing?”, Arthur-A-Bland asked. Arthur-A-Bland was rubbing his jaw, glad it wasn’t broken.
“I yield to no man.”
“Maybe ‛e ‛id ‛is money up ‛is arse”, Alan-A-Dale said.
“Well, perhaps ye would like to check that for us”, Will said.
“Is ‛e that way?”, Tuck asked out-loud.
“What? No, ‛ell no! I’m a straight shooter!”
“I was not asking ye aim but ye desires”, Tuck responded.
“Look, priest or no priest-”, Alan-A-Dale said.
“Enough! ‛e ‛as no money. I thought this would be an easy ‛oldup. We ‛ave wasted enough time. Let’s get back to camp. We can try another day”, Will Scarlet said.
Camp? They have a camp? That should mean bead; wine or maybe mead, At the very least, water; a roof over my head tonight.
“I say, perhaps I could go to ye camp. Perhaps a blessing in return for a meal. What say ye?”
“I say no. We ‛ave done well with no priest so far and I don’t see the need for one”,Alan-A-Dale said.
“Ye may need a priest the most”, Tuck told him.
Alan-A-Dale gave Tuck an angry look but, remembering the tussle trying to rob him, said nothing. The other two stood looking on with little interest. When Alan-A-Dale said nothing Will spoke up.
“What is ye name?”
“Tuck. Ye can call me Friar Tuck. I don’t need much formality.”
All three of the Merrryman laughed at that.
“Ye wouldn’t get it. Now, why do we need a priest? What would ye do for us? We can’t confess our sins since we don’t intend to stop committing any of them. In other words, what’s in it for us?”, Will Scarlet asked.
“I can say Mass. Ye do go to Mass do ye not?”
They didn’t. It wasn’t safe to do that. The Sheriff would watch for that.
“No, no we don’t. It does bother me”, Arthur-Bland said.
“Yes, but what if he’s a spy? ‛e ‛as no money yet doesn’t look as if ‛e ‛as missed any meals”, Alan-A-dale said.
“Yea, that’s a point. Let us take ‛im to Robin. If ‛e says ‛e doesn’t trust ‛im, we can kill ‛im. If he does, we can watch ‛im. If ‛e tries to leave, we can kill ‛im”, Will Scarlet said.
“We can kill ‛im ‛ere and now and be done with it”. Alan-A-Dale said.
“No, let Robin decide. Okay, Tuck, ye best be ‛onest with us. Let us get going.”
Tuck didn’t mind the seminary. He had to pray a lot but he usually dozed off after finding out that prayer was done with eyes closed. As long as he didn’t snore he was okay. He was able to get an extra five hours in. They only got four scheduled and that wasn’t going to do it for Tuck. He made a couple of pads for his knees and it all worked out for him. That he should actually pray never occurred to him. Tuck figured God was busy helping those who actually lived the good life; Tuck didn’t and saw no reason to insult God. Tuck didn’t want a revengeful God ripping his arse for asking for help. He wanted mostly to have God not pay attention to him.
After prayer came working in the fields. Tuck hated that. It was peasant work. He wanted to become a priest to avoid that very thing. The work lasted a few hours and then it was back inside for instruction. Here is where Tuck perfected his life. He already knew a how to read, write and speak Latin. He knew the Mass from memory. Tuck thought they should ordain him and send him out to a parish. The staff didn’t agree. They thought he should work the fields more since he didn’t need instructions. Tuck was very unhappy with that idea until he found out about the winery.
Tuck had noticed priests going into a small building every afternoon. Tuck was working in the fields by himself and was sick of it. He wasn’t actually doing anything but sitting under a tree but the principle was the same. He noticed a priest would go to the front of the building with a cask and a leave with a cask a few minutes later.
Tuck waited one afternoon until the priest left and checked the building. It smelled of wine. There were only a few small windows at the top and a very stout door. He couldn’t see into the building but the smell was definitely wine. He tried opening the door but it was locked tight. Tuck was stumped with no way in. He was about to leave when he noticed the rock. He actually noticed the only rock around. On a hunch he rolled the rock over and found the key.
He unlocked the door and stepped inside. It was dark and it took a minute for Tuck’s eyes to adjust. Then he saw cask after cask of wine. He felt like dropping to his knees and thanking the Lord but he caught himself and didn’t. The empty casks were in one row and the full ones were in another. Would anyone notice one missing? Well, that’s a problem for another time.
Tuck grabbed a cask and re-locked the door, replaced the key and took the cask over the hill to the creek. He went down to a spot no one seemed to go and placed the cask in the creek. Yea! He then opened it and drank from it. A lot spilled. Tuck thought he’d need to bring a cup each day. Yea!
At the evening prayers he was a bit drunk and swaying a little. The others thought he was feeling the Lord and approved. He also swayed at the evening meal. The others didn’t approve of that so much. Enough was enough. The staff stared to look at him closely. He couldn’t be drunk. The only drink around the seminary was water and wine. The wine was locked up so he couldn’t be drunk.