Abbott and the Djinn chp. 5.6

“Not much to tell.”  Iamerge’s mind raced as he thought over what he should and shouldn’t tell.  The best course always seemed to reveal the least, “I washed up on the Skellig and Gospels was there to pull me out, care for me, feed me, such as there was on that bleak place.”

Jim Cooper nodded, knowingly, “Tis said there’s naught to eat and the saints perch there for months living on water and sea foam, then there’s some who say that their god gives them food, and others that say that they’ve a fat larder there and since they don’t eat here its there they go to eat.”

Iamerge laughed, “Well, as to the larder, I saw none, I ate no sea foam, and Gospels gave me bits of dry fish, some little leaves of green herb, and sometimes raw egg of sea birds on the isle, if it was his god that gave him that to eat then he isn’t a very generous god.”

“You make it sound like there is no fuel at all, nothing to burn.”

“Unless you can make wet stone burn there is naught of that at all.”

“Incredible, how did you live?”

“How did Gospels live before I came?  I’ll tell you I’ve never slept better than I did in their guest house last night.  Not because of any opulence, just not the austerity of the rock.  There are five men out there now.  I don’t know why they do it.”

“No wonder they have produce and more to sell, they don’t eat any of it,”  said Jim Cooper to himself as much to Iamerge.  “What do you know of their god?  I confess, they don’t have much truck with old Jim, but I’ve heard their bell and I’ve heard their weird singing a time or two.  They seem virtuous, but I’d say men that virtuous can only get in the way of a man’s business.  In the end.”

“To tell you the truth I can’t speak to the beliefs of the monks like Gospels, they are new to me as well.  But I can’t say anything against them, they seem virtuous, generous, and good to a fault.  I do take your meaning though, I think.  What’s a man to do who can’t live up to such a standard?  What must they think of those who don’t live as they do?”  Iamerge took another drink from his cup and cleared his throat, “Still, if I understand them, they serve the same God, the Lord they call him, who is served by the Jews that I knew quite well.  It seems to me that they are similar in their kindnesses and that it is their Lord who commands it of them.”

“So, these Jews grew food that they did not eat as well?”

Iamerge laughed at that, “Oh no, not so.  The Jews were adept at trade, at numbers, at drawing value from a thing.  It seems to me that the Jews took part in the blessings that their Lord brought them.  The monks like Gospels are prospered and they choose not to partake, indeed they take pride in denying themselves.  I can’t say if it is their Lord that demands that privation of one and not the other or what the truth of it is.”

“It sounds to me that you’ve travelled a far piece Iamerge.  I’ve never heard of these Jews.  Then again, I’d not heard of these monks either ’til I came here.”

“I would have thought to be the mayor of Rat Town you’d have had to be born here.”

“Oh no, I wasn’t born here, nor most of the rats for that matter.  They come on the boats, but I came from Cooperstown.  I’d be there still if there was one.”  For once Jim seemed a bit sad, “Mayhaps again.  But that’s nobody’s business.  Not yet.” The two men fell silent and they sat and nursed their drinks in the cool darkness.

“So, do you think that Ua Birlinn might have returned by now?”

Jim laughed, “Oh you and Ruaridh will get along famously, all business aren’t you?  I’d like to say that he’d be back by now, but I can’t. I figure you’ve got more of a wait than his returning.  Single minded he is, just like you.  I figure he’ll be about what ever took him out of here so fast a bit longer than it takes him to get there and back.  Don’t you?  Jim got up and moved back around the bar.  “A waste of a day I’d say.  Not like to be see’n visitors, since you’re ask’n me.”  Cooper refilled his ale and looked at Iamerge, “Can I get you a refill lad?”

Iamerge sighed, “No, thanks.  I think I’ll get the lay of the land at least.  Perhaps I can find out a bit more about what’s happened and when I might speak to Ua Birlinn.  My thanks though, for the ale and the conversation.”

“Suit yourself.  Have a look, but come back by if you like.  I might have found a bit out myself by then.” Cooper winked and walked off toward the kitchen, “I do wonder where ol’ Mare has got to.”

Iamerge rose and went up the dark stair and out into the day.