Monday, May 11, 2009

Medieval nattering on

I sent the Joan of Arc chapter to my advisor yesterday morning. (Yes, that was a weekend. A Sunday, as a matter of fact. I write on the weekends. And the holidays. And late at night.) I'm fairly happy with it. 

I am now revising the Margery Kempe chapter. Margery is probably my least favorite of the women I am writing on, but her book does have an absolutely marvelous story in it. Again, because I love you, I will translate the Middle English. 

Margery desperately wanted to live a chaste life. (She had fourteen children. At least some of which, she writes, were conceived after she had taken to wearing a hair shirt as a form of personal penance. Which hair shirt her husband, John, did not notice during the conception of said children. Er, methinks I would prefer chastity as well.) She finally got her husband to agree to this. 

But one day Margery and John are out walking, and they stop to eat. John has a bit to drink, and then says, "Margery. If a Saracen were to appear right now, and say that he would smite off my head if you were not to let me meddle with you again, what would you say?"

Margery takes some time to consider this, and then says, "I am sorry, but I would let him smite off your head."

"Margery," John says, "you are no good wife."


  1. I find no fault with Margery's answer. In fact, had I had 14 children, after taking no time to consider my response, I would have readily rendered the same one.

  2. I think he would be better off without his head, anyway, and it seems he didn't need it for "meddling", either...