A translation of
The Story of Augustinus
If you are reading a previous edition of Get Started in Latin or Teach Yourself Beginner's Latin, go here
This translation is © by GDA Sharpley 2015
Paulus is walking in the wood. The mule is walking with Paulus. The mule is not carrying Paulus but the sack. Paulus is tired and the mule is slow. The mule watches the wood. The wood watches the mule. The mule does not like the wood but fears (it).
Paulus is a monk. Benedictus also is a monk. Benedictus desires (his) dinner. Now Paulus is coming with the mule towards the monastery and walks in the wood. The dinner is in the sack. The mule is carrying the sack. The mule walks slowly and watches the wood. The mule desires water.
Benedictus and Stephanus are monks. The monks live in the monastery. Paulus is a student in the school. The students live in the monastery with the monks. The mule lives with the horses. The mule is always working, but the horses do not work with the mule. The mule does not like the horses.
Benedictus longs for wine. Therefore Paulus seeks wine in the town and is walking towards the monastery with the mule. The mule carries the wine. Now they are in the wood. The mule often walks in the woods, but he does not like the woods because in the woods there are shadows. The mule sees the shadows. The mule likes neither shadows nor sacks. The mule longs for his friends.
Benedictus is a cook, and works in the kitchen with the maids. Paulus works in the kitchen and also in the meadow and in the library. For Paulus is not a cook but a student. Benedictus, when he desires cakes and wine, sends Paulus to the town. Today, therefore, Paulus and the mule are coming from the town through the wood towards the monastery. The meadow and the monastery are a long way off. The sack is heavy with wine and cakes. Also in the sack are eggs, oil and perfumes. The mule groans. Benedictus always wants perfume, cakes and wines, but the mule always carries (them).
Today Paulus and the mule are far from the monastery. The mule likes neither shadows nor sacks. ‘Hey!’ shouts Paulus, but the mule doesn’t move. Then Paulus and the mule hear and see a horse. The horse comes quickly along the track towards Paulus and the mule. On the horse is a hooded monk. The horse fears the shadows. The horse sees Paulus and the mule, and suddenly swerves from the track. The monk falls from the horse on to the ground, and the horse quickly flees off the track into the wood without the monk. Now the monk lies on the ground.
Paulus runs to the monk who is now lying still on the ground. By Hercules! It is the figure of a woman, not of a monk. The eyes of the woman are closed, but the woman is breathing. Paulus looks at the woman. The woman’s hood is torn. Paulus covers the woman with her tunic. Meanwhile the horse, terrified by the shadows and branches, flees from the track into the wood. The horse fears the leaves and branches because they are rustling with (in) the wind.
The woman lies motionless. Paulus can neither see nor hear the woman’s horse. Now the horse is fleeing out of the woods to the monastery. Paulus is alarmed and the mule nervous. Paulus looks at the woman. ‘Oh no!’ groans Paulus. But the woman is breathing. ‘You are breathing?’ whispers Paulus. Then the woman opens her eyes.
‘For sure I’m breathing. Who are you?’
‘Thanks to God, you are not dead.’
‘For sure I’m not dead. Where am I? In the woods?
‘Where is (my) horse?’ asks the woman. ‘Where are we?’
‘Slowly, slowly! The horse is elsewhere. Are you okay?’
‘Yes, yes, I’m fine, I’m fine. Where is the horse?’
‘Do you want some water?’
‘I want the horse, not water. Damn!’ shouts the woman.
‘Steady! Who are you? Where do you live? Why are you riding in the woods?’
‘Who are you? Where do you live?’ Paulus asks.
‘In the castle,’ says the woman.
‘Really, in the castle? Are you Egberta, lady of the castle?’
‘I’m not Egberta, but Egberta’s daughter, I am Lucia. And you, who are you?’
‘I am Paulus, and I live in the monastery.’
‘You are a priest?’
‘Not a priest, I’m a student.’
‘(Are you) a student of the bishop?’
‘Not of the bishop but of Stephanus.’
‘Who’s Stephanus? Is he a monk?’
‘Sure. Stephanus is a monk and master of the school.’
‘Oh dear! Where’s that horse?’
‘Perhaps it’s in the fields with the horses of the monastery. Can you climb on to the mule? The monastery is not far away.’
Then the woman climbs on to the mule and the mule groans.
Paulus leads the mule towards the monastery through the dark wood. Lucia sits on the mule. The mule is slow. The wood is full of shadows. Lucia asks Paulus: ‘Is the holy bishop at the monastery?’
‘The holy or horrid bishop?’
‘Surely the bishop is holy and kind?’
‘The bishop is mean, because he’s always telling the priests to beat us students or shut (us) in the library.’
‘Are you students always hard-working?’
‘For sure, always.’
‘Surely you students are not always hard-working? Surely you can be lazy, perhaps bad, even sleepy?’
‘What are you saying? Bad? Lazy? Us? Surely you are joking?’
‘Why are you walking in the wood? Surely hard-working students ought to be present in the library?’
‘Benedictus, the monastery(’s) cook, orders me to lead the mule through the wood. And you, why are you riding here wearing a hood?’
‘I often ride alone through the wood, or with the bishop or with friends.’
‘With the bishop? The bishop is not holy, but bad, lazy, cruel, and greedy as well, and wine-sodden…’
‘Sssh, you slander (him). The bishop often stays with us in the castle.’
‘Really, Mistress?’ Paulus laughs. ‘See the mule here—he often stays with great (important) horses in the fields of the monastery, eh mule?’ Neither Lucia nor the mule laugh. For now the mule is carrying both Lucia and the heavy sacks. Thus Paulus and Lucia come through the woods in silence. Soon they see the great walls of the monastery and go out of the woods into the fields.
It is midday. Stephanus, master of the school, is showing a large book to the students. In the book there are sketches. The students look at the sketches. The master is relating to the boys the story of the Christians:
‘Look, the beasts and the Christians are present in the amphitheatre. Alas, the Romans slaughter many Christians in the amphitheatre. The pagans always long to watch cruelty,’ says Stephanus.
‘Are the Christians ever cruel to the pagans?’ asks Augustinus, one of the students.
‘Perhaps it is true,’ replies the master. ‘Look, Romans are watching the games in the amphitheatre, even the learned, who think them (i.e. the games) to be not cruel but foolish. There is never any pity. You see, important men offer lavish games in return for votes. But now books, not games, are pleasing to monks and students, eh Paulus?’
‘Ricardus is cruel—he’s also a Christian—and he beats us often,’ sighs Augustinus. Ricardus is another of the monks who teaches the students.
‘Ssssh. Can Paulus recite to us? Paulus? Where is Paulus?’
‘Master, today Paulus is working in the kitchen,’ says another student.
‘What? Why is Paulus, who ought to be here in the school, working in the kitchen? Is he a student or a maid?’ The students laugh.
‘Paulus is forever a slave to Benedictus,’ replies Augustinus.
‘Oh dear,’ sighs the master.
Soon Stephanus comes out of the kitchen: ‘I am unable to see Paulus. In fact Paulus is not present in the kitchen but is walking in the woods.’
‘Paulus is coming from the town,’ says Augustinus, who is a friend of Paulus. ‘Paulus is bringing the wines and perfumes from the town.’
‘Perfumes? But we are monks! Who told Paulus to walk to the town and seek perfumes and wines?’
‘And oil and eggs,’ says Augustinus.
‘And eggs? Surely we have many eggs here?’
‘Not enough for Benedictus, Master,’ says Augustinus. ‘Benedictus often tells Paulus to lead the mule to the town. Paulus is a slave to the cook and to the maids.’
‘Paulus should not be obeying the cook but the master,’ says the wretched master.
‘Paulus is always working in the kitchen with the maids,’ says Augustinus.
‘In the kitchen with the maids?’
‘Can we work in the kitchen as well, Master?’
‘Sssh! To your books! I order you to sit! Where was I?’
‘In the kitchen with the maids!’ shout the students.
‘Alas! See, we are in the amphitheatre.’
Stephanus is telling stories of the gods to the tired students. ‘Jupiter is the god of the sky, Venus of love, Diana of woods and of hunting, Mars of war and of soldiers, Apollo of the sun and of songs, Neptune of the sea. Once upon a time people had many gods and spirits (there were to people many …). The Romans used to honour War, Cares, Discord, Fortune, Toil, Distress, Death and all the others. Heavens there were so many gods! Also, spirits of places, of woods, of mountains, of rivers, of the moon, of the sun …’
‘Surely Apollo was god of the sun?’ asks Augustinus.
‘That’s right. Indeed we can neither count all the gods nor know their names. For who can believe in so many gods?’
‘I love Bacchus!’ whispers Augustinus.
‘What are you saying?’
‘I love the book, Master.’
‘Fine. Today Fortune favours you: you can copy out the book. Oh dear, where was I? The gods and goddesses, who do not care for the souls of people, are for mortals examples of disgraceful behaviour. God, however, who is the actual creator of the mountains, of the sea, of trees, of people, of beasts and of all good things, always cares for us all.’
‘Who is the creator of evil (things)?’ asks Augustinus.’ Surely God cannot do evil? Therefore who is the creator of evil?’
‘Certainly God is not the creator of evil, Augustinus. We are all always very dear to God ...’
‘Master, look, Paulus is coming!’ shouts one of the students.
‘... Except perhaps Paulus. Where is he?’ says Stephanus, and hurries to the window. ‘I cannot see anything except oxen and sheep’.
‘Paulus is walking under the trees with a young woman.’
‘With a young woman?’ Stephanus catches sight of Paulus and Lucia. ‘Dear oh dear, look, Paulus and the young woman!’ And immediately all the students leave their books and hurry to the window. ‘To your books, boys, to your books! For sure Paulus works in the kitchen! One minute Paulus is sitting with the maids, the next he’s walking with a young woman. O immortal gods!’
In the kitchen the energetic maids prepare a banquet. For today Abbot Petrus, Abbess Katharina, Count Karolus, his wife Countess Egberta and other leading people are present in the monastery. There is a major operation in the kitchen. The maids are preparing bread, cakes and wines. Then tired by their exertions they rest in the garden under the trees.
‘Look, Paulus is here!’ shouts one of the maids. ‘But who’s she?’
‘She’s the daughter of Count Karolus,’ says another, ‘by the name Lucia.’ Now the maids can see the abbess, who is greeting Lucia. Meanwhile Benedictus comes into the garden.
‘Heyup! Time is passing!’ shouts the cook. ‘where is that idle servant?’
‘Here is the boy, Paulus is here now.’
‘I tell you, that idle boy walks with the devil … what? Blessed Mary! He walks with the abbess! What is going on? Now he’s greeting the abbot! Heavens! Tell me, for I want to know: is the wretched boy now important and a friend of the abbess? Why is the abbess praising the boy?’
‘Look, he’s coming now.’
‘Seeing is believing.’
One of the maids hurries to Paulus. ‘Come on! The cook wants his sacks.’
‘Why therefore do we praise the works of holy men and women but yet it pleases us to read stories of cruel gods and goddesses?’ asks one of the students.
‘The stories are enjoyable!’ says Augustinus.
‘Yes, and also useful,’ says the master. ‘For holy people offer examples of virtue, pagans of vices. Now we keep the works of the great poets in the monastery and we copy and guard (them). For it pleases us to read the stories as allegories. Boys, do you want to recite a poem of Virgil?’
Augustinus watches Paulus and the young woman through the window and whispers ‘Love conquers everything’. Augustinus sees the tired mule, who is drinking much water. Then Paulus takes the mule into the meadow.
‘Come on,’ says the master, ‘Time is escaping meanwhile, irretrievable time is escaping.’ At last the students begin to read the books.
Not long afterwards ‘Here I am, master,’ says Paulus.
‘Paulus? Heavens! Now you’re here? Why do you abandon your studies? Why do you walk wantonly in the woods? You bad student, you ought to be present here! Where are you escaping to? For I want to know.’
‘Master, there was a girl in the wood.’
‘For sure,’ says the master.
‘She was wounded.’
‘Wounded, I suppose, with love.’
‘She fell on the ground, master, the daughter of the count.’
‘From where did she fall, boy?’ says the master, ‘from the sky? As fruit falls from the trees so young women fall from the sky?’ The other students laugh.
‘She fell off a horse.’
‘What times, what moral standards! Do you think studies to be trifles?’
‘Master, I am telling you the truth.’
‘Do you see this book?’
‘I see (it), master.’
‘Today you ought to copy out the whole book; even into the night.’
The abbess and Lucia stand near the gate of the monastery, where they are waiting for the carriage. Soon two servants bring the horses and carriage from the stable to the travellers. Lucia, however, is not able to ride because she is recovering. And so Lucia sits in the carriage with the abbess. Now the bishop comes to the carriage and climbs on to the horse. All depart slowly from the monastery and they go beneath the trees.
Meanwhile Paulus and Augustinus are still writing in the library. For Stephanus has ordered the boys to copy out the rule(s) of the monks. Now from the window Augustinus catches sight of the travellers who are leaving the monastery: ‘Your girl is departing from the monastery. Do you want to see her?’
‘We ought to complete the work,’ says Paulus. ‘I want to finish the book.’
‘I do not like writing (it does not please me to write). Today it is slow and difficult: for it is no matter to be awake, (but) to be awake all night is serious, as says the poet Martial. There is that girl: she’s a friend of the abbot and abbess, and also, I’d say, rich. And you, Paulus, do you want to have knowledge or money? Or love?
‘Sssh! Now we ought to write.’
‘Who wants to read books of philosophers or theologians? Is that man happy who has been able to learn the causes of things, as says the poet Virgil?’
‘That man is truly fortunate whom a wealthy lady loves.’
Lucia and the abbess have left the monastery. Augustinus is still thinking about the young woman: ‘Your noble girlfriend has left the monastery, Paulus, and disappeared from sight.’
‘She’s not my girlfriend,’ says Paulus.
‘Not yours indeed? Fine. Perhaps mine? Yes! Should I greet her in the wood, falling from a horse or mule? Then let us yield to Love!’
‘Come on, Augustinus, you have not finished your work.’ Today Paulus does not like listening to his friend.
‘Be wise, decant the wine and trim your long-term ambition to a brief span.’
‘Enough of the poets, Augustinus. Heavens, you haven’t begun writing yet!’
‘I am barely able to write. For Cupid has inflamed me with love.’
‘You ought to begin the work now, if you don’t mind, in silence.’
‘Sorry if I am troublesome to you.’ Augustinus looked at the book: ‘Surely I am not copying out the whole book?’ he asked.
‘All of it,’ says Paulus. ‘Stephanus ordered us to copy out all the words.’
‘All of them?’ At last Augustinus began to write.
1- Love the lord God. 2 - Do not kill. 3 - Do not commit adultery. 4 - No thieving. 5 - Bury the dead. 6 - Cause no injury. 7 - Love your enemies. 8. Do not bear false witness. 9 - Clothe the naked. 10 - Visit the sick. 11 - Do not be proud. 12 - Harbour no grudge. 13 - Enjoy chastity. 14 - Do not be wine-sodden ... ‘And you Benedictus?’ whispered Augustinus.
Paulus has already finished his work and gone away and left Augustinus still writing in the library: … 27 - Fear the day of judgement. 28 - Prefer nothing to the love of Christ. 29 - Honour all men. 30 - Do not hold deceit in your heart. 31 - Do not enjoy strife ... Soon Augustinus fell asleep.
‘Are you asleep, Augustinus?’ shouted Stephanus seeing the sleeping student and waking him from sleep. ‘Where are the pages?’
‘Forgive me, sir, but I am not asleep.’
‘Not now perhaps. But I saw you lying on the table. Surely you have finished the work?’
‘Nearly finished, master.’
‘Eh, what is it?’ Stephanus and Augustinus heard a dreadful shout. ‘Who is shouting loudly? Is it the sound of a howling man or beast?’ Stephanus went to the window, where he caught sight of the monk Theodorus running out of the monastery. ‘Look, Theodorus has disappeared howling into the wood. What did Theodorus fear?’ And Stephanus quickly left the library.
After the death of Theodorus - accidental, as the abbot said, but who can tell? - there were many tears. For Theodorus had been a pious monk and a friend of everyone.
The sad students were working attentively in the library. The trembling Stephanus was holding the large book of the New Testament and was reciting the story of Lazarus: ‘But Jesus said with his eyes raised upwards: Father, I give you thanks because you have listened to me. Indeed I knew that you always hear me …’
Paulus thought about the death of Theodorus as he looked at the woods through the window: who wanted to kill him? The dead monk was always kind to all the students and monks. There was a rumour. The Danes? Surely the Danes did not murder Theodorus? No Danes had been seen in the neighbourhood for many years.
Stephanus was still reciting the story ‘he shouted in a great voice: Lazarus, come out!’ and stopped because he could hear the bell resounding through the monastery. ‘Now, boys,’ said the master, ‘the body of Theodorus is to be buried,’ and with tears flowing down his cheeks (lit. pouring tears down …) he left the library.
Not long afterwards Paulus was watching the funeral of Theodorus through the rain from the library. Stephanus with other monks was carrying the body of Theodorus out of the church and the abbot was leading the small procession. The students left their books and watched the procession with Paulus. ‘Look,’ said one, ‘they are burying Theodorus near the tree where he used to tell us stories.’
‘Why aren’t all the monks present? Why are they burying him so quickly?’ asked another.
‘Who killed Theodorus?’ asked a third.
‘Look, now they are lowering the body into the ground,’ said Paulus. Presently the students heard the voice of Stephanus groaning again and again.
‘One unending night to be slept,’ said Augustinus, reciting a line of Catullus.
Here lies Theodorus
a monk of this monastery
in his thirty-fifth year
and now rests in peace
Not long after the funeral of Theodorus there were many people present in the church, which was scented with candles and incense. The abbot himself was celebrating mass with all the monks. Lucia was sitting next to her mother in the first pew.
The abbot was standing at the altar, bright in his purple attire, and praying loudly: ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. The monks and the students were singing in the choir behind the altar.
‘Our Father, who are in heaven …’ the abbot was singing. All the students were singing except Augustinus, who was asleep because Stephanus had ordered him to copy out the Letters of Saint Paul to the Corinthians through the entire night. Augustinus was paying the penalty (being punished) because in school he was reading not the letters of Saint Paul but the verses of Catullus. Now Paulus could hear his friend snoring and wanted to arouse him from sleep. In vain.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but free us from evil,’ sang the abbot. Lucia herself was looking at the sleeping (one), and accidentally catching sight of Paulus she lowered her eyes.
Egberta whispered to Lucia ‘Who is that boy who’s looking at you?’ and smiled. However, Egberta stopped smiling because she caught sight of Benedictus looking at her herself. ‘They are most insolent monks!’ Egberta whispered, and Karolus, her husband, on hearing the noise asked ‘Are you all right, Egberta?’
Meanwhile Stephanus was watching the sleeping Augustinus. And so Paulus out of fear whispered ‘Look out Augustinus! Now we must sing.’
‘Oh no!’ replied Augustinus with a groan ‘Surely there is one night to be slept? I want to sleep!’
‘Pray for us sinners,’ said the abbot, stretching his hands to heaven/the sky.
The abbot was now lifting his hands in the church: ‘Here, in the church, where we sit, where we pray, where we praise the Lord, is your security. Here you have faith. Here the Lord is with you and always will be. If therefore you seek protection, look around. See the ceiling! See the great walls! Here in the church we have cared for you, we care for you now, and after death we will always care for your souls. For a hundred years the monastery has stood here and will stand here for a thousand years! Here all things are safe. That which can protect your souls, that can protect your things (i.e. possessions). Again I say to you: in the church not only souls but also possessions are safe. You see, we have heard certain rumours, not indeed confirmed, but still to be reported. We have seen nothing. Were there strangers present in the woods? Who knows? Did poor Theodorus see strangers in the wood? Who now can say? At least Theodorus is resting with the angels in heaven. Tomorrow, therefore, if you will wish to be free from care, you will bring your cattle, sheep, horses and mules into the fields of the monastery. If it will please you (if you like), also put your possessions and money in our monastery. Or indeed, as you wish, keep your things with you, but be careful.’
Paulus was not listening to the droning voice of the abbot but gazing at Lucia’s face. ‘How lovely you are,’ he sighed. ‘With me you will certainly be free from care.’ Suddenly Lucia looked at him and smiled.
In the church Paulus was looking at the serious face of the abbot, and the monks, and Augustinus still asleep, and Lucia sitting with the nobles. The abbot was still preaching.
‘We monks, who live in the monastery, we protect not only lives and souls but also knowledge and the arts, and we will always protect them. With God willing, we watchful ones will look after your things as well. Again I say to you: this monastery is safe. Here, within these walls, is for you (your) hope of salvation in heaven and peace of mind on earth. Tomorrow, therefore, if you want to sleep without anxiety …’
‘Sleep?’ said Augustinus. ‘I certainly want to sleep without anxiety.’
‘Sssh,’ whispered Paulus. ‘Do you want to copy out another book? Or a beating?’
‘Tell me: what’s up?’
‘Danes have been seen near the monastery.’
‘I don’t believe it!’ said Augustinus. ‘Whose story is that?’
‘Stephanus. Indeed perhaps Theodorus saw Danes in the woods before his death.’ Augustinus did not hear Paulus but was looking at Lucia in the first pew:
‘Give me kisses,’ he said.
‘Give me a thousand kisses.’
‘Then without interruption another thousand.’ [Augustinus is quoting this poem]
‘For sure I will give you no kisses,’ laughed Paulus.
‘Oh no!’ groaned Augustinus. ‘She looks just at you, she will love only you.’
At last the abbot stopped preaching and returned to the altar. ‘Thanks (be) to God,’ everyone replied.
The months were passing slowly. The winter was very severe and the chill entered the monastery. Paulus was unable to see Lucia alone, because she was always walking with her mother or praying in the church. The unfortunate student lay through the long cold nights in his cell gazing at the stars through the window.
Soon Christmas day was celebrated by the monks. Karolus, Egberta and Lucia came to the monastery to attend the services and afterwards departed home with the bishop and abbess. In the monastery many jars of wine were consumed, many geese were eaten. After dinner a story was performed by Augustinus and the other students: Josephus and Maria find a stable after being rejected by many inns. All the monks were cheered by Augustinus’ play except the abbot who thought it to be too flippant. Thus for a few days all cares were absent.
For many months the monks had been anxious, the people uncertain. In midwinter people were not expecting Danes on account of the cold and the rough sea; and so they kept their possessions with them. However, as spring approached, their belongings were brought into the monastery. Initially the store in the church was small, but after a few days earthenware, brooches, shields, linen and other things were handed into the monastery; and so the store gradually grew.
Today the students had copied out all the verses, and all the studies in the library had been completed. Now with summer coming Paulus was leading the mule under the trees towards the town along an unfamiliar track. For he had wanted for a long time to see Lucia’s country-house. Soon Paulus came out of the woods and was able to see the great castle in which Lucia lived with her mother Egberta and father Karolus, a nobleman. However Paulus was afraid to approach the castle because he thought himself to be a humble student. ‘If I go in, will she recognize me?’ he said to the mule. The mule, however, did not hear him because he had caught sight of many mules working in fields near the castle. Suddenly the mule brayed. ‘Oh no, hush!’ shouted Paulus snatching the reins, and he quickly led the mule into the wood.
Near the wood Paulus had seen a pond which he now approached with the hushed mule. Here the thirsty mule drank much water. ‘Today it is hot!’ sighed Paulus. Then, with the reins of the mule tied to a tree, Paulus came back to the pond and with his clothing laid down he plunged into the cold water: he swam underwater and returning to the surface breathed out. ‘I want to stay here for the whole day,’ Paulus sighed, and swam idly on the surface gazing at the sky. Shortly afterwards he heard the mule braying again. ‘What’s the matter with you, mule? Hush!’
Meanwhile Lucia, tired from hunting, was coming through the wood, without any reward. Her horse was also hot, tired and slow. Therefore she had decided to have a swim in the pool, and was now approaching the pool through the wood. However, she heard the mule braying and said ‘Hey, who is here?’ When no one replied, she got down from the horse and with an arrow taken from her quiver slowly led the horse towards the sound. In the wood she recognized Paulus’ mule, and holding her bow and an arrow in her hand she stealthily approached the pond.
Paulus, who himself had heard the mule, was still gazing at the sky. Suddenly he heard a voice: ‘Put your hands up!’
‘Wha wha wha ... are you?’ he asked, stammering with fear. ‘What do you want?’
‘Are you a duck?’ said Lucia laughing, and she came out of the trees with her bow and arrow.
‘Lucia! It’s me, Paulus.’
‘Yes. Do you want to swim? Please, put down the arrow.’
‘Why are you here?’
‘I wanted to swim. If you don’t mind, put the bow down.’
‘I always keep the bow,’ she replied.
‘You’re an archeress?’ he asked.
‘Yes. And you, where are you going?’
‘To the town. What are you aiming the bow at?’
‘That tree,’ said Lucia, pointing to a tree on the far bank.
‘You’ll never hit that!’ laughed Paulus. However, the arrow, whistling through the air stuck in the tree which Lucia had pointed out. ‘Incredible!’ shouted Paulus. ‘You’re a proper huntress. Do you slaughter many animals?’
‘Not many,’ said Lucia as she went around the pond to recover the arrow. ‘However, I have caught nothing today.’
‘Except me!’ laughed Paulus.
‘Except you. But I have seen beasts much more savage than you.’
‘I love beasts.’
‘I do not like slaughtering them. For we all live under the sky, men and beasts …’
‘Sssh, who’s that?’ said Lucia. ‘I can hear strange voices. Look, men are approaching the pond with weapons.’
‘Who are they?’ asked Paulus.
‘I don’t know.’
‘Quick, into the water, hurry!’
Lucia plunged into the water and both hid themselves amongst the reeds.
In the book the Latin story closes at this point, and then continues online here
The translation continues below.
The story so far ...
Lucia is the daughter of the local count and countess. Paulus and Augustinus are students at a medieval monastery. There has been talk of hostile Danes in the area. A monk has mysteriously died. Paulus often journeys to a nearby town with his regular companion, a mule, to buy provisions for the monastery cook, which is how he met Lucia, who fell from a horse and needed his help.
Paulus is now on his way to the town with his mule but has decided to make a detour towards Lucia’s family castle. It is a hot day and he takes a swim in a pond not far from the castle. Lucia happens to be passing the pond, also with a swim in mind. She surprises Paulus who is now in the water, then to his slight alarm demonstrates her prowess as an archer. At that point some strange men arrive at the pond, and Lucia hides in the water with Paulus.
Soon the men arrived at the pond.
‘Who are they?’ asked Paulus.
‘Sssh!’ whispered Lucia placing her hand on his mouth, which Paulus could not stop himself kissing. They could hear horses drinking and the voices of the men.
‘... On the day after we will take everything,’ said someone.
‘All the things are to be taken away’ said another, ‘except the gold and silver.’
Then Paulus recognized the voice of a monk and astonished whispered ‘It’s Ricardus, who lives in our monastery!’ Suddenly in the wood Paulus’ mule brayed.
‘What’s that?’ said one of the strangers.
‘There are mules in the fields,’ replied another.
‘Let’s go to the monastery,’ said Ricardus. And not long afterwards Ricardus went away with his unknown companions.
‘Your mule is talkative!’ said Lucia rising from the water.
‘Who are those men?
‘They are Danes,’ Lucia replied. ‘Let’s go, quickly!’
‘With Ricardus? Surely you’ve made a mistake?’
‘No, I’m sure. We once received Danes as guests in our castle. Come on, those men are going to the monastery.’
Ricardus and the Danes were making their way through the wood towards the monastery, with Lucia and Paulus following at a distance.
‘He’s a traitor,’ growled Paulus as he led the mule, ‘bad, disgraceful, cowardly, mean, cruel, wicked ... ’
‘Ssh, be careful they don’t hear us.’
‘What do you want to do?’ asked Paulus.
‘Seek our trustworthy friends. Which of the monks do you trust?
‘Report to this man; go, to the monastery – quickly!’
‘And you,’ he replied, ‘what do you have in mind?’
‘I will keep an eye on Ricardus. Go, hurry!’
The students were being taught theology by Stephanus in the school.
‘Students, I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. Moreover,’ said Stephanus, ‘we come to know philosophy through logical argument but the truth itself through the grace of God. Are you writing? It’s time to write.’
‘Surely we can identify the truth by logical argument?’ asked Augustinus.
‘Why do you always argue with your betters, Augustinus?’
‘Yet surely the wisest men from Greece themselves sought the truth through the practice of discussion?’
‘The Greeks indeed were wise,’ admonished Stephanus, ‘but we are wiser because for us there is also the wisdom of God. Through the truth the work of God is revealed on earth. Now it is time to write: to believe is to know, to know is to understand, to understand is to believe ...’
‘To see is to catch sight of a gorgeous girl!’ exclaimed Augustinus.
‘What?’ asked Stephanus.
‘Look, there comes Paulus’ girlfriend, Master,’ said Augustinus. All the students ran to the window. ‘Look, Paulus himself is leading his mule into the monastery.’
‘Paulus is here?’ said Stephanus coming himself to the window.
‘The cook is angry,’ said someone, ‘because Paulus has nothing in the bag.’
Soon Paulus burst into the school ‘Master!’ he said breathlessly. ‘Ricardus ... Danes ... Ricardus ...’
Having followed Ricardus into the monastery Lucia climbed on to the roof of the cloister where in her childhood she would hide; now, looking down from the beams, she saw Ricardus sitting alone. Eventually someone in a hood came to him.
‘Where are our guests?’
‘All are present and well,’ replied Ricardus.
‘Is everything ready?’
‘Indeed so, Lord Abbot.’
Lucia was astonished. The abbot! She could not hear all their words because the two monks were whispering. 'Quiet!' the abbot was saying. ‘Someone is coming. You, into the church ...’ and Ricardus went away. ‘Hello Stephanus.’
‘I greet you, Lord Abbot,’ replied Stephanus. ‘Forgive me, but I bring a serious concern to you.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘One of my students, a wise boy, pious, trustworthy ...’
‘Which of your students?’
‘Paulus. Today when he was walking to the town he heard some Danes conspiring in the wood and he recognized one of them. Our brother, Ricardus, was in the wood with the Danes.’
‘Ricardus in the wood? Today? But Ricardus is not a Dane. That boy is making an elephant out of a fly. Are you willing to believe this mistaken student? Wasn’t Paulus that student who fell hopelessly in love with the daughter of Karolus? Forgive me,’ laughed the abbot, ‘but your boy seems to be a student of Venus not of Christ. Do not listen to his stories, but as Saint Benedict said, beat your boy with a rod. See to it, Stephanus, that you beat him more often.’
‘As you will, I’m sorry. But I thought that the matter should be reported to you.’
‘Indeed. Look, Ricardus himself is here: let’s ask him ... Ricardus, here if you will.’
‘I always obey gladly ...’
Lucia, lying motionless on the beams, was no longer able to hear the voices. Soon Stephanus and Ricardus went away.
Not long afterwards Paulus left the library to look for Lucia and was now going through the monastery with the bells ringing to call the monks into the church (for the monks to-be-called). And so, when/since/although he himself ought to have been present in the church, he secretly went out of the cloister into the garden where he saw the mule bound to a wagon.
‘Hey mule,’ whispered his friend, ‘Where are you off to? Why are you hauling this cart? What do we have here?’ Having lifted the cart’s cover (with the cover having been ...) he was shocked to find those things which had been handed into the storehouse. ‘Heavens! Why are these on the wagon?’ Then he saw a large sack in which there was a dead body. ‘What’s this?’ he groaned, ‘woe! is it you Stephanus? woe!’ recognizing his master. ‘Because of me you have been cut down. I'll go immediately to the abbot to report everything,’ and with a groan he fled away into the monastery.
Now Paulus rushing into the cloister shouted in a loud voice ‘Sir!’. Lucia, still lying on the beams, could hear the voice of the abbot.
‘What’s the matter with you, boy?’
‘Stephanus is dead.’
‘You are mad.’
‘I speak the truth!’
‘O foolish boy! Why do you always speak about empty dreams? Just now Stephanus went away into the church.’
‘Sir, please, come so that you yourself may see his body.’
Then the abbot and Paulus returned, with the young man saying ‘Believe me, Lord, Stephanus’ body had been in that sack! Surely you saw his blood?’
‘I tell you: it was the blood of pigeons. Now enough of your rumours. At this time we should be present in the church. Look, now Ricardus is here,’ said the abbot as Ricardus approached. ‘Ricardus, this student seems to be seriously ill; and so he should be taken to the physician immediately.’
‘I’ll take him gladly, my lord,’ replied Ricardus.
‘No, I’m fine!’ shouted Paulus.
‘The boy is clearly out of his mind.’
Suddenly Lucia rushed in, fiercely, furiously, breathlessly.
‘Lucia? What brings you to this place?’ asked the abbot rising from his seat.
‘He is worse than the devil!’ exclaimed Lucia, with a gesture at the astonished Paulus.
‘If you will, dearest maiden, be calmer,’ said the abbot.
‘Today he was trying to haul me into a pond.’
‘Into a pond?’
‘He even kissed my hand,’ and suddenly she struck Paulus’ cheeks with two slaps. ‘And he is always sending me lascivious verses.’
‘Lascivious verses? Whose verses?’
‘Love poems of Catullus.’
‘Catullus? In this church? What do you say, boy?’
‘Here is the book,’ said the girl, handing over to the abbot a book which she had sought from Augustinus. ‘That boy is a scoundrel, bad, cowardly, disgraceful ...!’
‘My dearest one, stop,’ said the abbot.
‘Forgive me!’ and she began to weep.
‘You have heard the charges, boy. What shall you say?’
‘I don’t know, Lord, I don’t know,’ said Paulus.
‘You will be punished!’ and the abbot gave Paulus another blow.
‘Stop!’ exclaimed Lucia.
‘You ask me to stop? But he must be punished!’
‘For sure he will be punished, but Karolus himself wants to sentence him. The prisoner is to be taken to the castle in chains.’
‘Your father will want to see him?’
At last Lucia stopped weeping, having been comforted by other monks who had gathered because of the commotion.
‘Some pilgrims will be leaving the monastery today who might accompany you to the castle,’ said the abbot, and he threw the book of Augustinus into the fire. Then Paulus and Lucia were led away and with everyone else having departed the abbot whispered ‘Ricardus, here a moment. Give the word for both the boy and the girl to be terminated in the woods.’
Augustinus went secretly to the cell in which Paulus had been chained.
‘Psst, Paulus,’ whispered his friend, ‘I’m here.’
‘Ssh, in case you wake the guards. If fortune favours you, you will soon be free. Lucia has at last taken my book, which was the only copy of Catullus.’
‘Alas, I have bad news for you,’ whispered Paulus.
‘What do you mean?’
‘That book has been burned.’
‘The book of Catullus?’
‘Burned? By whom? Surely Lucia hasn’t destroyed the verses of Catullus?’
‘The abbot threw your book into the fire.’
‘Woe! It’s bad!’ groaned Augustinus.
‘Be quiet, in case the guards come.’
‘Those were the only verses of Catullus in the library, in the monastery, in the world! What am I to do?’
‘If you can recall his poems, write out another book. Now forgive me, my friend, but I am in greater danger than you.’
‘What? Indeed. I tell you, Paulus: you are fortunate.’
‘Really? Surely not fortunate in chains?’
‘Here, take another book.’
‘The Consolation of Philosophy.’
‘Augustinus, what are you doing? When Boethius had written the Consolation, he was killed in prison. I do not want consolation, I want help!’
‘If you read the book,’ replied Augustinus, ‘you will find both consolation and help. Lucia has made a plan. Soon you’ll have the pleasure of lying in the tender arms of your lady. Farewell Paulus.’
‘Goodbye friend,’ whispered Paulus as he took the book in which Lucia had written a letter.
On the same day, the mule, who was pulling the wagon, and Lucia and Paulus and seven Danes set out for the castle from the monastery. Presently, when they were all making their way through the dark wood, Paulus, who was following the cart with his hands bound, whispered ‘hey, mule, slowly, slowly!’ One of the Danes felt anxious and said ‘Ssh, boy!’, as he looked around at the trees and shadows. Suddenly Lucia said aloud ‘There, someone in the trees! Did you see him?’
‘Where?’ said one.
‘I am afraid that other students may intend to free him,’ said the maiden, but the Danes replied that they saw nothing.
‘You stay here while I look for them,’ said Lucia and having stirred her horse (with her horse having been ...) she disappeared into the middle of the wood.
‘No! On no account should you leave us,’ shouted the leader of the Danes, too late. The Danes stayed there looking around at the trees. ‘I don’t like this wood,’ said one.
Shortly afterwards an arrow hissed through the air and stuck in the cart, then another followed. The Danes, thinking that some people were making an attack hid in the bushes. A third arrow transfixed the one who was guarding Paulus, who had drawn his sword (with his sword drawn) that he might cut down the prisoner. Immediately Paulus snatched the sword of the wounded Dane and freed himself, and shouted in such a loud voice that the horses of the Danes and the mule himself fled away into the dense trees as quickly as they could.
‘The cart, the cart!’ shouted someone; in vain. The mule had now gone away into the middle of the wood pulling with him the wagon and the plunder of the Danes. ‘And where is our captive?’ asked the leader. However, the Danes having come to their senses couldn’t find Paulus anywhere.
Now Lucia and Paulus were making their way through the rain into the middle of the wood. They were exhausted. At last Lucia, who was soaked, said ‘Whoa horse, whoa horse! Look, a cave!’
‘I haven’t seen this before,’ said Paulus. In the cave he wiped water from the maiden’s face and whispered ‘You are amazing, gorgeous Lucia, I love you.’
‘Then kiss me.’
‘Whatever you command, the task is a pleasure.’
‘I command you to hush.’
Not long afterwards they were roused by a noise and cautiously went out of the cave to see who was there. At first they saw nothing; then Lucia and Paulus saw the wagon and all those things which the Danes had taken from the church and, grazing peacefully under the trees, the mule.