June 12, 1298 AD
God has been good to me. He has taken me away from a life of hardship and placed me in His house. Father Joseph told me this when he convinced my lord and family to let me study in the abbey. Seventeen years ago, I was born with a deformed leg. It kept me from partaking in the games my sisters played and following in my father's footsteps as the manor's weaver. I am extremely lucky, according to Father Joseph that I was taken in by the church rather than living as vegetable in my parents' squat little house.
Mama didn't want me to go very much. As her youngest child she was always coddling me and taking up for me when I did something to make Papa angry. But then it cost a lot of money to pay the lord to get a son off of his property and into the abbey. And she was too proud to accept charity from anybody, our neighbors, our lord or the church. Sad as she was, Papa seemed plenty happy to see the back of me. He didn't like that I sat around with my mother, carding wool and doing other feminine tasks. Being his only son, I suppose he had some expectations of me, despite my crippled leg.
When Father Joseph came to visit the manor's church, he found me awkwardly knelt upon the floor praying. Upon the sight of me, he called for a chair and I was given one by the lord's son himself! After mass, Father Joseph took my parents and the lord aside with the intent to persuade them to allow me to study to become a monk. My parents were no stranger to the lord or Father Joseph. From my sisters he had claimed droit de seigneur before their wedding and we still had a few roast figs leftover from the basket he sent for Berthe's wedding. When I was born, my father sent for Father Joseph to pray over me.
A year ago, I made the trip from my lord's manor in the south of France to the monastery of Saint-Benoit. Hard as the trip was, I took sinful pride in the fact that I was the first in my family to go that far from the manor. When I told Father Joseph he told me that sort of pride could jeopardize my chances of becoming a monk.
Humility, discipline and faith will propel me to a greatness I never could have achieved at the manor. Learning to read and write the Lord's word and spread it among those unenlightened has brought new meaning to my life. I intend to make Father Joseph very proud of me and one day return to the Manor and show every one how far I have come, if they're still alive.
Yes, three weeks ago I received word from the manor priest that my good mother had gone to the Lord and my father shortly after. Now, I understand perfectly that we all must leave this earth some times, but my parents were so young-my father was around forty and my mother not even that old! That's another thing about monastic life- I will probably outlive my parents.
In a world where men rarely venture beyond their lord's land and become literate, I, the hopeless son of a weaver, overcome all odds! But if I abandon my prideful nature, according to Father Jacobs, I might rise to the level of abbot! Wouldn't that be spectacular? I would directly serve noblemen and help them find salvation! Who knows, I may even make it to Rome!
Perhaps that is too much to ask for…it should be enough to be lifted from a hard, short life of poverty. Hope has never been a sin, why should I repent? Just to be sure, I will aside Father Joseph, he usually has something knowledgeable to say on the matter.
Suppertime draws near and then the evening chapel. As much as I enjoy reflection, I like the soft white trenchers filled with mutton and garlic even more. At home, our daily fair consisted of coarse, burnt bread and scraps of cow tongue were paid through the nose. Which reminds me, I volunteered to go out into the slums and give out leftovers to those unfortunate souls in need. Though I may encounter all manners of pick-pockets and sickly men, I will walk in the way our Father.
Time has elapsed and now I must take my leave of the scriptorium. Tomorrow I may return, perhaps not. But Father Joseph stresses the importance of penmanship and reflection, so I probably will return.
Humility, discipline and faith-the virtues of God,
Ettienne the Lame
A/N: If you guessed school assignment-you get half credit. We had to write about the harsh life of a serf but I decided to take it a step further. Hope you liked and have a happy holiday.