Jan 31, 2017
The second of our Tales of Orange, following last episode's The Queen and the Orange.
Music: Creepy — Bensound.com.
James: Here are
some Totally Made up Tales, brought to you by the magic of the
Andrew / James (alternating):
Mist covered the land, and from the recesses of the valley came a new sound. Bwaaaaaaah, it went. This startled the villagers, who gathered at the edge of town with ear pressed to the ground listening to the mysterious rumblings and worrying. It made many noises before they saw, emerging from the mist, elephants!
As they stampeded toward the town, the elephants put their trunks into action, trumpeting the arrival of the herd. Thus, was jazz invented.
James: And now, the Cavalier of Saint Ignacio.
Andrew: The sun rose over the hills with the promise of a hot summer's day ahead.
James: Sitting in the shade of an orange tree, a man bit into the fruity pulp of the delicious orange globe.
Andrew: He offered half of the fruit to the dog that faithfully sat by his side, and man and beast together wolfed down their delicious fruity breakfast.
James: Over the hill back in the town, he could hear the sound of trumpets.
Andrew: It was the celebration of the Feet of Saint Ignacio.
James: Since sundown the day before, people from the villages all around had been bringing their wares and particularly their oranges, fabled throughout the country, to the town square in preparation for the feast.
Andrew: Saint Ignacio was the patron saint of orange grove, and legend ran that wherever his foot had landed on the earth, a tree had sprung up — and in celebration of his feast day at the end of the orange season, the growers would gather in the capital city of the region, and paint the soles of their feet orange and walk through the streets.
James: The children would run amongst them singing and dancing and laughing, and when they reached the town square, a great feast awaited them all.
Andrew: This man however, was not taking part in the feast this year, for something significant was about to happen to him.
James: As he got up intending to make his way into the town, another sound reached his ears.
Andrew: He was not the only one who heard the mysterious sound. His dog's ears pricked up, and his eyes became immediately alert, and he too stood and man and dog looked at the distant horizon.
James: At first they could see nothing but dust. Then, gradually they could see figures moving through the dust and finally, as the figures got closer, they could see men on horseback; the thundering of the hooves as they galloped towards the town warning of the importance of their mission.
Andrew: He took from his bag a spyglass and extended it in order to inspect the men and determine who they were.
James: He swept the spyglass from one side of the band of cavalry to the other, counting 6,7,8,9,10, no twenty men, all on horseback… until he found their leader.
Andrew: Their leader, the Cavalier of Saint Ignacio, the twenty knights of the orange grove! The fabled, nay, mythical group! Surely, they had died out centuries ago! But no, now here they were looking exactly as they did on the mighty altarpiece painting that stood in the church in the town.
James: He ran to the town elders.
Andrew: Breathlessly, he arrived in the village square and threw himself down before the mayor and said, "Quick! Quick! You must come with me, there is something that I must show you at once. I know it seems unlikely. I know that this is the worst possible time but you must come with me as you trust me as a man and as a member of the city, please!"
James: And then Old Marco, the priest stepped forward and said in his gravelly voice, "It is the Calvary of Saint Ignacio, is it not?"
Andrew: "But how could you know that?" Said the young man. "How could you possibly know?"
James: "I have prayed and I have been visited by the Feet of Saint Ignacio and they pointed towards the frieze of the Cavalry this morning. I knew that they would be coming."
Andrew: "There has been a legend, a legend of yore that was passed to me by the former priest of this town on his death bed that one day the Cavalry would return. They would return with a dire warning."
James: And so the mayor got into the mayor's official cart and the two ponies were hitched to it and the elders followed behind with the children singing and dancing and playing and not understanding that this was not the normal feast of the Feet of Saint Ignacio, but this was something very special. And the entire town met the Cavalry on the border.
Andrew: At the front of the imposing column of men in their dark black robes with orange silk flashes on the sleeves, there was the Cavalier resplendent, a gold cross on his chest, a mighty lance in his hand, a shining helmet upon his head that in the morning sun seemed to be aflame.
James: "Oh Cavalier!" started the mayor. "I beg you, tell us why you have come."
Andrew: "Silence!" said the Cavalier, banging the end of his lance upon the dusty ground. "Cease this revelry and listen to the dread portent that I have to share with you. Your town is in grave danger."
James: So stern was his voice, so imposing his very physique, that even the children stopped playing and dancing and laughing and singing and all was silent before him.
Andrew: All that could be heard was a slight rustling of the morning wind in the trees of the orange groves. The occasional chirp of a cricket. You could have heard a pin drop as everybody hung on the words of the Cavalier. What was the threat that was so dire that the mythical knights should have to return?
James: "The town," began the Cavalier. "The town, the orange groves, Saint Ignacio's memory itself. All is at stake.
Andrew: The wrath of God is to be visited upon this town in twenty four hours' time. A grave crime has been committed against his Grace and a mighty earthquake is going to rip the very foundations of the town from the stones of the hill and cast it down and from the depths of the earthquake will come floods and fire and the groves of oranges will be consumed, unless you render up to me by sundown tonight the criminal who has done this deed."
James: So saying the Cavalier wheeled his horse, and the Cavalry rode off to camp outside in the fields.
Andrew: Chaos immediately reigned in the town. Everybody was stirred by these words. Suspicion came to roost in every heart. "Surely, it was this person's misdeed when they had swindled me at cards." "Surely it was that person who had given me short measure on my loaf of bread."
Ah, but what was the deed and who had committed it?
James: The mayor, and the elders, and Marco the priest, gathered in the mayor's house to discuss what must be done.
Andrew: The mayor banged his fist on the table and demanded silence. The room fell quiet. He had his audience.
"We must hold," he said, "an inquisition. Every adult citizen of the town must be brought before us one by one and their soul and character tested."
James: "We should start," Said Mr. Iniquez who ran the bakery. "We should start with ourselves to ensure that amongst the elders there is no sin."
Andrew: Several faces looked guilty and hesitant at this idea, for who among us would want all of the most secret places of our hearts to be revealed to our neighbours?
James: Nonetheless, no one could come up with a convincing reason why they should not go ahead. And so, one by one they faced their peers and recounted the deeds of their lives.
Andrew: What would it be, this unknown crime against the Grace of God that the inquisition was searching for? Each man or woman in turn stood before the others and confessed what they considered their misdeeds. Coveting their neighbour's wife or ass; failing to respect their father or mother; failing to make confessional or go to church; petty swindling; great misdeeds in the heart, in the mind, in action. All was laid bare.
James: By lunch time, the elders of the town knew each other better than they knew themselves, and already they were worried about doing this with the rest of the population. Arguments were breaking out between elder and elder over slights and infractions over the years. What would happen when they did this with the entire population?
Andrew: What happened was the temperature in the town began to rise. It was as if the collective temper was slowly boiling. There was a seething mass of resentment, and politics, and gossip, and nastiness. The town that had lived so happily and peacefully in the bountiful land, so blessed with fruit trees, where people had lived a happy life for so many years, were slowly turning into a nightmare of mistrust.
James: At the end of the first day, half of the town had confessed their sins. Over night, many arguments broke out, including some fights between those who now knew that they had trusted in vain, or thought better of people than they really should have done. And on the second day, they began again with the rest of the population, confessing their sins one by one to the elders, who wrote them down in a large book.
Andrew: It had been an uneasy night. Few had had a good night's sleep. People were haggard and worried. The town seemed like a different place entirely from the site of happy festivities it had been the day before. By mid afternoon, the confession had been completed and the elders regathered in the office of the mayor to review what they had found to try and uncover the sin that the Cavalier had been sent to expunge.
James: "I have read the entire book of inquisition," said the elderly Marco. "And I cannot see a single act which could be considered the overriding sin of this town."
Andrew: "No, we must look at the list again. Somewhere in this list there must be the sin that we are looking for. What about this one? What about the young man who was having an affair with his brother's wife? Surely that is an offence against God that would have brought his wrath upon us."
James: "But," said Marco, "he did penance for his sin. He confessed that to me five years ago. That cannot possibly be the reason that God's wrath is upon us."
Andrew: "Ah, but what about this? The man who claimed that he had made a donation to the hospital in the capitol city of our country, and in fact he had taken the money and spent it on a weekend of wild abandon."
James: "Ah, but you forget," said the mayor, "that he not only subsequently paid for a new hospital for the capital, but has set up seven or eight hospitals throughout the region."
Andrew: "What about this one? A woman who confesses that in her quest for a husband, not only did she pray devoutly for the Lord to deliver one to her, she cast spells and incantations in a Pagan ritual."
James: "Pah!" said Martine, one of the elder women of the town. "You are simply saying that because as a young woman she was known as the most beautiful amongst the town, and you're all upset that she did not choose you. She was not participating in witchcraft. She was merely reading from a traditional book that all of us have read from at one point or another in our lives. There is no sin here."
Andrew: The elders were at a loss and the mayor said, "well, then let us each take a section of the inquisition book and once again reread it in search of the sin that God seeks to punish us for."
James: And so the elders of the town sat down once more to read through the considerable expanses of the book of inquisition. Meanwhile, outside the town's folk continued in their squabbling and bickering brought about because of the inquisition and the confessions therein.
As the light dimmed and the day came to an end, a storm rolled in off the mountains and rain began to fall on the town.
Andrew: First, in droplets onto the earth it bounced, sending up little clouds of dust. Then gradually in fatter, larger drops it fell, soaking the earth, causing the top soil to run down deep into the valleys. Every animal fled for cover. Soon it was torrential. The cracks of thunder began, and the lightning started to strike at the trees of the orange groves and the tops of the towers of the city.
James: Before long, the locals roused from their sleep, if they had managed to sleep in the first place, noticed the flickering of flames from out in the orange groves, and ran out, distraught in panic.
Andrew: Their livelihood, their treasure, the thing that had nourished and that they had nurtured for so many centuries was being destroyed by this great cataclysm of nature, and as they saw the trees burning, they wept bitter tears.
James: Day dawned on a sorry scene. The orange groves, once rich with beautiful trees, now reduced to blackened stumps. The townsfolk, tired from weeping through the night, collapsed around each other, some of them managing to make their way home, some of them having merely lain down in the street and gone to sleep.
Andrew: It was clear to them that the Cavalier's warning had come to pass that the Wrath of God had been visited on their town and on their region and they had not discovered and delivered the sinner. Where was this person and what had they done?
Meanwhile, far away on a road leading to another part of the country, the man walked whistling a merry tune, his dog by his side, orange juice on both of their faces.
James/Andrew (alternating): Yorkshire was a fictional county in the mind of King Harold. He loved the idea of a county full of dour men who would wear stout jackets and flat caps, and talk to each other in elliptical, impenetrable sentences while smoking, drinking, and watching a cricket match.
When he died, such was the mourning of his country that they created Yorkshire for him in his memory, and it stands today still a testament to his greatness.
James: I'm James and I'm here with Andrew. These stories were recorded without advanced planning and then lightly edited for discerning listener. Join us next time for more Totally Made up Tales.