Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sure, why not?
It was no mystical vision, it was real I tell you - I saw St. James himself! In Liège, in the church named for him. Just a small piece of him - a narrow bone, a rib perhaps, or fragment of a forearm bone - encased in crystal, on a gold chest studded with dozens of precious gemstones. It was brought back from Santiago in the 11th century by an English pilgrim-monk, the little plaque states. A creepy thought, actually, but the legend persists for lo the millennium, so who am I to raise an eyebrow to the validity of the tale? I wonder how many other bits of the patron saint I'll see before I get to Santiago where the rest of him, it's said, is inside another gold casque.
So many of these magnificent churches have dramatic tales and legends. In the tourist information center, I read a photo caption about the Cathedral, about a Bishop, later Saint, Lambert who was assasinated in the 7th century - oooh, haunted intrigue?! It was my turn with the assistant - 'who assasinated the Bishop and why?' I wanted know. 'Take the tour', the assistant told me. 'But I don't have time this afternoon and I'll be gone early in the morning.' 'Well, then, (and I won't translate this last part) 'Googliez-vous de histoire', she told me. I'll put it on my to-do list.
Finally, a goofy hand-painted sign I saw at a farm entrance: Lapins tues à vendre (Hares killed for sale)