- Books, Literature, and Writing»
THE FLYING CYPRIAN PART 2
Who seeks truth doesn't seek the answers but look for the right question to ask...
THE FLYING CYPRIAN part 2 (Ancient Slav Legend) retold by Mariana Cengel Solcanska
A man with a face of an angel,
and eyes full of murderous deeds,
Cyprian was his name,
too weak to move
he stared at them
with open suspicion
scarring off the boy
who hid under the bed,
there he found a sack
and a book in it
written by Leonardo , son of Piero from Vinci,
the artist and scientist
who died 200 years ago.
The writing confused him,
then he found a drawing
of a man with flying wings.
He couldn't believe his luck,
that was the man he saw in his dreams.
Before the oldest monk or the patient
could notice him,
he disappeared from the kitchen,
to his hiding place
in an abandoned gothic tower
to read, to learn, to build and once to fly...
Back in the kitchen,
that was their bedroom and their study
the oldest monk lit up the fireplace
checking the small parcels of dry leaves
that hang above it
filling the room
with a sweet fragrant smell.
His warm wrinkled hand
touched the patient's forehead,
and his slow and melancholic song
echoed around the stony walls;
' ...because I was sad,
I began to tell stories,
when I lost my voice,
I began to write them down,
when I lost my sight,
I began to play my harp,
when the music died in me,
I still had my body to feel
and hands to touch,
I began to heal...'
“Who are you?” the patient asked.
“Everyone and no one,” was the reply.
“Are you healer?”
“ Maybe, and also cook and barber,
cleaner and candle maker...but the magic power of herbs
intrigues me...here drink this.”
The oldest monk brought a hot tea to his lips.
“ That is camomile,” the patient breathed in the earthy smell.
“Looks like we are two of the same kind.” The monk couldn't hide his smile.
He opened his eyes
into a cold misty morning
in the monastery
and left his bed
making small uneasy steps
he followed long dark stony wall
into a small courtyard
covered with tens of graves
wooden crosses on heaps of dirt.
The old monk with long grey beard
saw him loosing his strength:
“Everyone is looking for their own destiny,”
he murmured leading him back to his bed.
The little boy cautiously peeped in
and touched his oily hair
but Cyprian growled at him and that chased him away.
“Be kind to everyone,” the oldest monk chastised him for that:
“ You never know, maybe there is more than name you share with them.”
In few days time he wandered around
seeing rows of low identical cells,
a square in the middle
with a well and stony walls around.
He went out through the main gate
and circled it all around
looking but not seeing
the well kept grave
coming back from other side.
He found a church
dark and bare
a gold Jesus
on its main altar
diamonds pressed to his body
to be his cuts and bruises,
Cyprian looked on his own,
then he touched the precious stones,
unaware of the presence of Superior
kneeling in the corner,
wondering how long
this uninvited guest
would stay in his holy place.
He waited until midnight
and went back to church,
sneaking in as a thief
with a sharpen knife.
He cut out the jewels of Jesus Christ,
when he turned around,
the cross fell down,
burying his leg
and there he was,
injured, lost and scarred,
shaking as a leaf
finally his leg was free.
He left diamonds behind
all except one
and the bleeding trail
sign of shame and defeat
that Monks followed
to his bed
and stood there
with silent accusation
praying for his restless soul.
He lied there, ashamed,
covering his eyes,
squeezing the sharp edge of the knife,
ready to slash out.
The monks sighed in disbelief
finding the precious jewel ,
they quietly put it in the sack
under his bed,
and departed one by one,
leaving him alone with his murderous mind.
He woke up thirsty,
his leg hurt badly,
with a difficulty
the ancient well,
a distant hammer's banging
led him to an old chapel,
where the oldest monk
was repairing the fallen cross.
“ The wood of the thousand year's old tree they used for this cross,
that for three hundreds thirty three years survived flooding, fires
and time until you came to us...”
“ Why did you leave me unpunished?”He asked.
The monk looked at him
but Cyprian could not meet
his wise wrinkled eyes,
in his hand
a walking stick,
he made for him.
That was his reply.
“ Honesty and goodness scare you, I see,”
the monk whispered watching him to leave
using the stick
with obvious unease.
Apple wine and honey beer,
raspberry cordial and river crabs,
smoked salmon and goat cheese,
lentils soup and mushroom soup,
fresh baked bread, fried onion and speck...
he ate and drink, drink and ate,
watching the slow paced, simple and starving life
of hardworking monks
reappearing from their empty cells,
praying and keeping silence,
moving in accordance with ringing
of their ever present bells.
No one came here and no one left
who had nowhere else to go..
“Everything has its order and its reason. Life is a task, nothing more and nothing else.”
He was told by one white haired monk
who talked to his herbs and flowers
in his vegetable garden in front of his cell.
Everything was spotless clean,
even their worn out grey robes,
even their bare feet,
walking miles on dirt every day.
Then he burnt himself,
first on him palm,
then on his hands,
the oldest monk treated him the first time,
but then let him be,
crying out in anger and hitting him on his palms:
“You need more and it would never be enough as physical pain will never be strong enough to silence your inner shame.”
They hold each other in their arms
silenced by utter exhaustion.
“ You never questioned me, who am I, what have I done...”
The oldest monk finally stood up
and treated his burns one more time.
“ You have to accept you inner pain, it has reason on its own.”
“ Who seeks truth doesn't seek answers but looks for the right questions to ask. If you ask
the right question, the answer will be there as well and there will be no need for asking more.”
“How do you know?”
“It was said by Saint Cyprian, other one with the same , lucky you.”
The next day he started to repair
the Christ on the Cross
with his bare hands
he polished and set diamonds
back into their painful holes,
all except one,
he couldn't find.
The wise monk,
who spend most of the time,
rewriting the bible,
taught him to read and write.
He listened in growing horror
at the atrocities of the Lord God,
burning alive the men, women and children
of Sodom and Gomorah,
the prompting of Hebrews to kill everyone
he subverts the divine plan
for renewal of the human race through Noah
and his sons
by means of mutiny aboard the ark
and throwing whole family into the floods.
“ They suffered more than us, but why?”
Instead of the answer
his inspired teacher
gives him five books of Moses,
to read and think freely
what he finds there.
The day of his promise came:
“Me, Cyprian, runaway peasant, outlaw and murderer from the past, your common man,
stumbling back and forth around this Slavic land in growing horror at the atrocities done
in your name, coming to you God to serve you the rest of my life. I promise to live in poverty, cleanliness and order every day until my death. I will follow your voice to do everything what is asked of me by my religious brothers. I promise to give you...”
He looked at the oldest monk-healer, who pointed at his throat.
“..my voice, I promise to stay silent, to be mute for the rest of my life to beg forgiveness for my trespasses.”
It was dawn when they saw
the young Cyprian
flying down from the unused tower
and crashing down in dirt
with his handmade wings broken down.
He was fourteen years old now
and monks could see
that he was not ready for God,
Pious asked him to leave...to follow his own stars.
Everyone was there, wishing him well,
giving him something for the road,
the new monk
found his old sack
and handed it to the boy.
The young Cyprian put his hand inside
and found the precious stone,
the one missing from the cross.
the new monk's palm
and he could feel its warmth.
Then he climbed up to his tower
for one more time
to take off
his long grey robe,
and ran back to the new monk
with the flying book in his hands.
“This is yours, I should not take it long time ago,
but I thought I learn to fly...but here I am...”
The new monk pushed the book back
and touched the shortened old trousers
the boy had on:
“ I know this is also yours, but you will never need them again so...”
Then the new monk touched the bright blue scarf,
he knew so well,
wrapped tightly around the boy's neck:
“This is mine, only thing I own, it belonged to my mum.”
The new monk opened his mouth
and all the monks standing by
murmured in a horror,
he closed his mouth,
picked up the pieces of broken wings
and returned back to their kitchen,
never seeing the boy again.
It was dawn when the oldest monk-healer died.
The new monk watched his eyes turning glassy
and his face full of fearful expectation
of unknown turned to him with the last question:
“How is it, what is there?”
He waited for the answer but it was too late,
there is no answer beyond death.
Three days they prayed and sang:
“ Requeim aeterman dona eis, Domine et lux perpetua leceat eis...
libera animas omnium fidelium defonctum...”
Then they put his casket
he was sleeping in whole life
into the shallow grave.
Then they left
in the early evening drizzle
just the new monk
shaking in the cold air
of approaching winter.
The next day he was back in the kitchen
continuing in the healing work of the oldest monk.
In Anno Domini 1737
the young monk read all the medicine books
and learnt all that was there to know
about plants, materials and metals,
diseases and their prevention...
He was left alone,
but not with the monks,
all except one,
the wise monk, who taught him read and write.
Sometimes they looked at each other
and smiled knowingly
as old friends do.
One night there was an urgent banging
on his kitchen door,
when he opened
a mortally wounded soldier
collapsed on the floor,
supported by monks from both side.
He helped him to the bed
the oldest monk used for him
and he saw
the gun wounds straight away,
but there was something very familiar
about his face.
The young monk-healer operated
on his enemy
and he survived.
When the Husita opened his eyes,
there also was a recognition of the man
from the past.
But then he closed them again.
The revenge and hate was gone from their lives,
chased away by years, blood and acknowledgment of end.
When he opened them one more time,
there was only calmness in and something else...
When he was strong enough to leave,
the Husita gave him the well preserved roll of human skin:
“I thought off painting of my hunting lodge on it, but I never came to it and now I am glad,
what is the better way to pay you for my life.”
The young monk sat at his table
and unrolled the human skin
among his herbs and potions,
feeling its coolness underneath his fingers
he thought about his eldest brother,
whose part was now with him.
Few days passed and monks saw him sitting there
with the precious roll in his lap
until the wise monk stopped by
and picked it up cautiously
stroking his arm.
He brought back a handmade book
covered in this unusual gift
and the young monk started to write.