Chapter8—How Friar Tuck Tried To Become A Man Of God And How It Didn’
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“But, surely the serfs-” “The serfs nothing. Why would they say anything? They give a little bit to the monks and keep the rest for themselves. Where else would they get a deal like that? We’re almost there. Take a look at the peasants and you’ll see they don’t ‛ave that dead-eyed look they should ‛ave. “Listen, don’t go spoiling things for them. You do and they might very well ‛ang ye themselves. I know I would.” It turned out that Father Robert was right. The peasants looked at them but not with any interest. They did have brighter expressions. Tuck guessed that being an actual serf wasn’t very good. When they arrived at the monastery it was obvious that it had started as a castle; not a large one but then it was 150 years old. Father Robert saw that Tuck was going to go in and handed him the letter to give the abbot. Tuck watched Father Robert walk away and tore the letter open. He wouldn’t be able to reseal it but didn’t intend for the abbot to read it. It was written in Latin of course. Most priests were illiterate. They “read’ the Mass from memory. Tuck was fluent in Latin. He rad the letter with such words as drunk; Yea, that’s fair. Thief. Yea, okay. Lack of faith. Maybe. Sleeps while praying. They saw through that did they? Well, no one was going to read this. A monk walked up to Tuck and told him the monastery wasn’t open to the public. Tuck found that funny. A Church building not open to the faithful; a monastery no one would want to go into when they didn’t have to. “I’m the new guy. Take me to the abbot.” “Do you have an introduction?’, the monk asked while holding his hand out. Tuck shook it and said he didn’t have an introduction but the Bishop definitely wanted him here. The monk gave Tuck an odd look and told him to follow. They went through the great room, now converted into a church. There were no pews or benches so apparently no sitting. After genuflecting at the altar they went to the right into the former dining hall. There the monks sat at tables copying scripture. As they crossed the room one of the monks yelled out, “Damn it all to ‛ell! Damn it!” The monk leading Tuck didn’t hesitate nor did any of the other monks seem to notice. Tuck asked why that was. “Well, I would venture to say he got to the end of a page and made a mistake. Can’t undo it so he wasted all the time he spent doing it. Wasted the paper too.” Tuck couldn’t see how it was a waste of time since he spent his whole life doing that one thing. They got to a door that opened to the Abbot’s room. The monk motioned Tuck in and then left. The Abbot stared at Tuck for a moment before asking for his letter of introduction. “Umm, I guess they didn’t give me one.” “Oh, dear. I hope you aren’t a Third Son.” “I don’t know what that means”, Tuck told him. “No? Well, as you do know, royalty gives everything to the first son. He got all of it and the other sons get nothing. What they do is send the second son off to the Court of the King. He doesn’t really want them but it’s a tradition. “They end up as ambassadors or judges or some such thing. Occasionally, I’m told, the King will fight a small war to kill some of them off. “The third son, if there is one, goes to the Church along with a substantial donation.” “What about a fourth son?” “What? I don’t know what ye mean. I ‛ave never ‛eard of that. Mayhaps they kill sons after the third one or something. It’s not my worry. “We ‛ave a Third Son ‛ere. ‛is name is Charles. ‛e is a scoundrel. I advise thee to stay away from ‛im. The father is a Viscount and the King’s cousin. The man ‛as money and I can’t control ‛im. ‛e will lead ye down a bad path if ye are not careful. “Now, ‛ave Brother Timothy show you to your room. Ye can start ye duties tomorrow.” Tuck was in his room. It had a pallet on the floor, a small table and a chair. There was a small fireplace for warmth and an oil lamp. Tuck shuddered at the thought of living in this room. He shuddered at the thought of the work of copying scripture. He shuddered the most at the thought of being a monk. He didn’t have much choice since he had no money or means to getting any. It was then that Charles came in. “ ‛ello. I have a question for ye. Are ye a monk-monk or a have-to-be-monk?” “What?” “Would ye be ‛ere if ye didn’t ‛ave to be?” “Oh, quite. No, I’d rather be ‛ere than in a dungeon.” “Good lad. I need company when I go to the village. If ye are interested, I will supply the money. I’m a Third Son.” “Umm, alright. I was told they guard the gate at night. ‛ow do we get out?” “Of, easy enough. I ‛ave a rope ‛anging from the North Tower. We can let ourselves down and go into town. Now, ye aren’t a sissy are ye. I don’t need any of that”, Charles asked. “No, indeed no. Thing is, the only clothes I ‛ave is what I’m wearing. I ‛ave no money-” “I told ye, I ‛ave the money. As for the clothes, I don’t plan on wearing clothes long after getting to town.” They went down the rope and into town. They drank, wrenched, drank more and wrenched more. In the early morning they headed back to the monastery. “Say, how are we going to climb that rope in the shape we’re in?”, asked Tuck. Charles laughed. “We aren’t going to climb that rope. Don’t be silly buggers. We’ll knock on the gate and be let in. I believe Brother Michael is the watch.” “Mm, won’t ‛e tell the Abbot? Or is ‛e going to be quiet?” “Oh, ‛e’ll tell the Abbot in the morning. Wouldn’t expect otherwise. But, so what? The Abbot can’t really do anything to me. My father is a viscount after all.” “Yea, yea. I guess that covers us.” “Us? No, it covers me. The Abbot can do as he pleases with ye. Who’s going to say anything. It was worth it.” Tuck agreed but not a lot. He was right and wrong. The Abbot only gave Charles a dirty look. Tuck was something all together different, “Ye are a scoundrel; a sinner bound for ‛ell. Ye must leave and right now. Don’t even look back. Be gone with ye! Be gone!” It was just a few days later that the Merrymen tried to rob him. It was just months before Tuck was sentenced to be hanged.