Alchemist Gift – The bishop was visibly angered. “You will address me! It is you who were found guilty, not Luigi or Sandro. You would be just as guilty if your neighbor was not related to the good monsignor. You were seen near Luigi’s pasture waving a willow wand in the direction of his dairy cows. For the next six weeks the cows could only give sour milk. Luigi was almost ruined. He could make no cheese or butter. You were seen not only by Luigi and two of his workers but also by Sandro.”
“Curious I would be seen by both men. When is it the work of the devil to dowse for water? Further, if you feed your cattle nothing but scallion and garlic the milk they give will smell rancid, will it not?”
“Clever answer, very clever, it seems that Satan guides your words.It is your soul that will burn in everlasting hell if you don’t admit your guilt and seek forgiveness.”
“I am at peace with our lord and I owe you no explanation.” Monica Longo quickly turned to the crowd and added in a loud voice, “be very careful, any of you could be next.” For this warning she received a blow from her guard that rendered her senseless.
“As this witch came into the world as an innocent babe, so she will leave it. Take away her coverings.” boomed the bishop.
The guard took his dagger and slit the blanket from the shoulder to the neck hole and pulled it away and flung it to the ground leaving her dazed and naked. The crowd gave a small gasp. A few ruffians whistled as the condemned Monica Longo was rushed to the next stake and roughly tied to it.
At this point two of the bishop’s household servants climbed the stairs and stood at the end of the dais. One, a young boy, of eight named Oswaldo, carried a tray with goblets and the other servant Annamarie his older sister carried a jug in each hand. One jug contained water and the other wine. They approached the contessa. She took water. They next went to the bishop; he took wine as did the monsignor and the mayor. Father Eduardo refused both. When they finished their task the two children sat on the platform behind the contessa’s chair as they were instructed beforehand and waited to be of called on again. Oswaldo closed his eyes and immediately fell asleep. Annamarie settled in next to her brother and took out a small embroidery hoop from her apron pocket. She was working on a rose. Annamarie felt around for the little pouch that held her thimble and needle. Both were made of gold. They were a surprise gift from the bishop on her tenth birthday. The two items were her most valuable possessions.
Mayor Renaldi leaned forward and addressed both the monsignor and the bishop “This is bad business; Carlo Longo was a friend of mine. I never would have thought his wife could be a witch, someone who casts spells?”
The monsignor tried to restore the mayor’s confidence. “Dear friend, you were at her trial, she all but admitted her guilt. Her display today is as the bishop said, Satan speaking through his vessel here on earth. I have complete faith in the decisions that were made.”
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The Alchemist Gift is a book about the lives of people in the Renaissance and the alchemy that brought them together with its repercussions on our modern-day hero, Roland.
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copyright 2013 Mark D. Giglio, www.theartofgiglio.com
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