Sir John and the Knights of the Long Table

Eleven of us live here at beautiful Schamelot, and we have a small 20 acre farm of chickens, emus, two dogs, 13 or so cats and a cockateil named Sassafrass.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Story for an Educated Child

This is a medieval legend from a book of poems that I LOVE! I usually send them out by e-mail every year. This year I decided to just post them on the blog. There are 15 of them, so I'm starting today, Christmas Eve, and we'll end on Epiphany (I'll post two tomorrow!). I've been wanting to make a little "ornament" for each legend and affix it to a wreath to make our own "Wreath of Christmas Legends." Maybe one of these years. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
This one got Caeli so excited she told the check out boy at the grocery store that she was going to Midnight Mass and at midnight she and McGregor were going to sneak out into the barn and listen to the animals talk in Latin. Poor guy stood in flabbergasted astonishment as she rattled on. He had no earthly idea what to make of it all and only said, "Well, enjoy your service," as they parted. John was laughing so hard he had tears streaming down his face. Children do make Christmas!

Story for an Educated Child

It used to be, when the world was young,
Animals spoke a Christian tongue,
Articulating clearly.
And still do those of peaceable bent
Practice the kind of accomplishment
On Christmas evening, yearly.

With human wit, in a human voice,
The beasts of the barnyard all rejoice
From Vespertime to Matin,
Recounting tales of the little God
Over and over. But isn’t is odd?
The speech they speak is Latin.

The strident Cock lifts up his crest,
Stuttering, “Christus natus est!”
Till midnight splits asunder.
Laborious from his stable box,
“Ubi? Ubi?” lows the Ox,
Bemused with sleep and wonder.

The somnolent Sheep, adrift from dreams,
Bleats “Bethlehem!” and her quaver seems
Half question and half promise.
Then Ass that wears by an old decree
A cross on his back for prophecy,
Brays forth his laud “Eãmus!”

And there they gossip while night grows gray
And curious stars have slipped away
From shimmering thrones they sat in.
So many a child might brave the cold
To hear them talking. But I am told
He mustn’t be more than six years old.
And who at six knows Latin?

Christus natus est! Christ is born!
Ubi? Where?
Bethlehem! Bethlehem!
Eãmus! Let us go!

Croche a Rooster for your own Wreath of Christmas Legends!

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