Godric: A Novel


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Godric: A Novel

They never came again. Wear with my ballocks shriveled to beansize in their sack and old One-eye scarce a barnacle's length clear of my belly and, crying a-mercy. It was him as I sought in freezing Wear to teach a lesson that he never learned nor has to this day learned though wiser, you'd think, for sixty winters' dunking in bonechilling, treacherous Wear. Not him. I would spy my gentle Tune and watchdog, firetooth Fairweather watching me as still as death in the long grass or under a stone as I hied home sodden on cracked feet, but none of us ever let on that we were seeing what we saw until we saw no longer.

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I miss them no more or hardly do, past most such sweet grieving now at age above a hundred if 'I've got time straight for once. For old Godric's now more dead than quick, a pile of dark rags left to steamand scorch now by the fire. It's the missing themnow I miss.


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That's two. The third was Roger Mouse, as stout of heart and limb as foul of mouth, plowing the stormy seas for pilfer or prize.

Godric: A Novel by Frederick Buechner, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

He had an eye outever for the willing maids, and no matter to Mouse were they flaxenlocked Dane or black Spaniard, old as earth or cherryripe for the plucking. No matterto Mouse if the deck was awash and storm in the rigging. He'd play with them at diddelydurn the weather be damned and cared not a pin that the eyes of the oars were upon them. What a man was Mouse!

Godric: A Novel

What a sinner too was Mouse, but none was ever a fonder friend, and what with all the man's great mirth, there was less room left in him for truly mortal sin than in your landlocked, pennypinching chapmen working their cheerless stealth at the fairs where we peddled. We had rabbitfur, goosefeather, beeswax, calfskin, garlic and gauds galore. We'd load them cheap the one place and unload them dear the other for any fatrump mistress or dungfoot pilgrim with cockles in his hat that had the pence to squander. We grew rich till one fine day the Saint Esprit was ours with her sharp prow that sliced the waves - like cheese.

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Mouse stood so high he said it blew the caps off men who stood astern when he broke wind. Godric was captain helmsman with a canny nose for weather, and captain Mouse was Godric's charm against the Evil Eye, for, mark you, Mouse's sin smacked less of evil than of larkishness the likes of which Our Lord himself could hardly help but wink at when he spied it out in whore and prodigal. I loved Mouse. Together we saved a Christian king from infidels and not a silver coin to split between us for our pains.

Years afterward, two hundred miles and more away in my dry hut, I saw Mouse in the eye of my heart go down with Saint Esprit off the Welsh rocks. He cried out the only name he knew me by, which was not Godric, and in the ear of my heart I heard him, helpless. Ailred was fourth. They say as a babe he reared up like a lily in his tub and spoke the Pater Noster through nor would take of his, mother's teat for the forty days and nights of Lent save Sabbaths. He grew to a sheaf of bones made fast round the middle with a monk's rope.

The pictish king of Galloway was the devil fleshed. He had the gold eyes of a toad and a forked beard.

Godric: A Novel

On cold nights he'd slit a slave's belly open like a sack so he could dabble his feet in the warm bowels. He tied together the limbs of women in labor for sport and drank blood. Ailred went to him. Throned on a rock, the king was picking his teeth with the bone, of a weasel when Ailred knelt and watered his shins with tears. They, say a light went forth from Ailred then that blinded the king's gold eyes, and a creature was seen passing forth out of the king hung all over with bottles of the blood he'd drunk, and the king swore holy faith from that day on and took him the name, of Allred for his own.

Thus with no loss of seed or purity, my friend got him a son that day upon the rock, and Jesu a forkbeard, pictish knight though blind as a bat from that day on.

Ailred himself they made abbot after a time at Rievaulx where so great was his meekness the fat monks vied with each other to try it till one day one of them, finding him flat in a swoon from an attack of the stone, plucked him up as weighed no more than the weight of his thin bones and cast him onto the fire. But Ailred forgave him, wouldn't you know. He'd let them harm no hair of the monk's head for the mischief he'd done.

Nor was Allred himself so much as singed. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Frederick Buechner's Godric "retells the life of Godric of Finchale, a twelfth-century English holy man whose projects late in life included that of purifying his moral ambition of pride About the Author Frederick Buechner, author of more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction, is an ordained Presbyterian minister. Image from Wikicommons. It is possible he owned the ship that ferried the crusader king Baldwin I of Jerusalem to Jaffa in AD to prepare for a siege against Jerusalem.

During his years at sea, he apparently went to Farne Island, where he had a spiritual encounter with Cuthbert , the beloved Bishop of Lindisfarne, who was long dead by this point. This encounter changed Godric. He dedicated himself to Christ and devoted the rest of his life to Him. Eventually Godric ended up at Finchale, which is around four miles from the monastery at Durham, where Cuthbert was buried.

He lived there for around years as an extremely ascetic hermit and died as a very old man. That Reginald actually knew the saint makes his hagiography even more interesting, I think. There are plenty of wrinkles in this tale. As always, the writing in this book is strong. Buechner gives us lyrical and thoughtful prose, filled with sentences that make you stop and ponder.

Why did we weep? I asked myself.

We wept for martyrs cruelly slain. We wept for Christ, who suffered death upon a tree and suffers still to see our suffering.

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But more than anything, I think, we wept for us, and so it ever is with tears. The book is full of passages like this. I will admit that I did not love it upon first reading, but as I flip back over the pages and see all the places that I underlined and marked, I feel a greater appreciation for it. In the book Buechner gives Godric more than one encounter with Cuthbert, and as well with a mysterious figure named Gillian, an angel-type being that encourages him even before he meets Cuthbert to embrace Christ.

The light peeks in here and there, sometimes more strongly than others. At one point Godric remarks, How seemly is a life when told to children thus, with all the grief and ugliness snipped out. This book contains all the grief and ugliness, to be sure. But because of that, the light that shines is all the brighter. Thank you so much for introducing me to Godric and for bringing me closer to Buechner. As some who keeps trying to live a holy life but who fails much of the time I am grateful for someone who seems to understand.

I think that I might find think story helpful. Like Liked by 1 person. You are very welcome!

Godric: A Novel Godric: A Novel
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Godric: A Novel Godric: A Novel
Godric: A Novel Godric: A Novel
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