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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Faldoni, parts 2940 - 2943

 2940. So the friar convinced Faldoni of the opposite idea he set out to put into his head. He left the cell and went to his room and sat down to write up his defense, knowing full well that it was a hopeless task. 

 2941. There were about a hundred monks in Faldoni’s monastery at the time of these events, and of those monks there were only three or four who even knew who Faldoni was. First of all he was not a monk himself but only a person whose job it was to hoe and weed the gardens as a common servant. As we said before, he only became involved in painting and church decoration because of a large project that needed extra manual labor to complete.

 2942. But once it became known that the person whom they often saw digging in the garden was most likely to be burned at the stake for theft and blasphemy, Faldoni became the talk of the institution. A question went round the dining hall and remained unanswered, the question was this, “Does the gardener eat cantaloupe in his cell in the middle of the night.”

2943. This question had a long history in the institution, and had a peculiar origin, and an odder meaning. To eat cantaloupe, at that time, suggested that the person in question was, unknown to anyone, indulged in some activity that was forbidden in the institution. The naive belief of the time was that such activities led inevitably to death, and when persons were tried and convicted by the courts, it was simply a form of hastening the inevitable. 

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