Oh, I know, I know it's taking me an 'awful' long time to get this book out. Here's another tidbit to tantalize your taste buds, and maybe, jut maybe I'll hit send today, yet.
This is based on a true story that happened in 1549. The wife's name was Hadewijk, but I don't know what the drummer's name was. It happened in Leeuwarden. Do you have any idea where that was? It is supposed that the martyr was a man by the name of Sikke Sneijder.
“Fabian, please, just do as you’re told,” Hadewijk pleaded worriedly. “You cannot let them know that you are an Anabaptist supporter. Please, for my sake and the children’s don’t make a fuss about it.”
Fabian slammed his fist against the thick wooden table, making the dishes rattle. Anna and Daniel looked up from where they were playing beside the fireplace to see what all the noise was about.
“Lower your voice,” Hadewijk whispered as she cleared the table.
Fabian scraped back his chair and stretched his legs. Then he tucked them in again and folded his arms across his brawny chest. He scowled.
Hadewijk carefully stepped around the contented children to retrieve the cauldron of hot water hanging from a hook over the fireplace and prepared her dishwater.
“I’ve known Sikke all my life,” Fabian said when his wife’s long dress brushed against his leg. “Ever since he’s gone and got rebaptized he’s been more likable than ever.”
He sunk lower into the chair.
“Shh,” his wife cautioned, “The children are listening.”
He sighed, ignoring her comment. “Now that we are working in the same shop, it gives us plenty of opportunities to discuss what it truly means to be a Christian.
“Fabian! That’s not safe!”
“Will you quit worrying all the time? There are more important things than being ‘safe’! There’s a deep hunger in my soul that longs to be satisfied. I want to be sure me, you, and the children make it to Heaven, you know!”
Hadewijk didn’t answer.
“Well, he’s been found out. Someone tattled on him, and he was apprehended.”
Hadewijk groaned, “So he’s in prison now?”
“Worse than that”—this time he did lower his voice—“he will be executed.”
“Oh, no! What about Mary... and the little ones? Aren’t they expecting their second baby in a few months?”
Fabian nodded glumly. Daniel leaped up and placed his hand on his father’s shoulder. “Are you talking about ‘Uncle’ Sikke, Papa? Is he going to be killed?”
Fabian turned and hoisted the boy onto his lap. He brushed a lock of white blond hair off his forehead. Anna also stood watching them.
“Not only that but the authorities are insisting that I play the drum to drown out whatever the ‘martyrs”—for that’s what they are!!—have to say.
“Oh, Fabian, surely you didn’t object!”
“I knew better than to object vehemently, but I sure they know how I feel.”
He got up and reached for a bottle of homemade brew in the rough-hewn cupboard by the door. Maybe if I let myself get just a little bit intoxicated it won’t bother me so much.
Hadewijk cast him a stony glare. She never did like it when he drank too much, but this time, he promised he wouldn’t.
Hadewijk sent the children off to bed. Fabian got the chickens in for the night then went for a long walk beneath the starlit sky. It did little to soothe his agitated spirit.
“Keep the children off the streets,” Fabian warned the next day and was soon milling with the crowds in the filthy, congested marketplace.
He grimaced when he saw the crowd of soldiers forming a barricade around the prisoner, knowing full well there were other sympathizers besides him that felt like an injustice was being done that day. The leaders wanted to avoid a protest.
He was feeling more than a little tipsy from that last mug of beer gulped down rather convulsively just before dragging himself out of the house. He dared not be late.
“Ah, here comes the drummer! Now we can start.”
Sikke Sneijder met Fabian’s eye as they bound him, and Fabian dropped his gaze first. There was a light, nay a radiance resting on Sikke’s calm features. It seemed such a shame that a kindly, peace-loving gentleman’s life was to be cut short. “Start drumming, boy,” the magistrate bellowed. “We’re waiting.”
Fabian started drumming all right, and he did it more loudly and vigorously than the occasion required. “Hear ye, hear ye!” he shouted, “A good man is going to be put to death.” His slightly intoxicated tongue wanted to slur the words, but he tried even harder and pounded louder on the large skin-covered drum.
“Take a look at good Sikke Sneijder; he was a peace-loving neighbor with a kindly heart. Look out for your pocketbooks, my friends, thieves are milling around waiting to rob you while this fine Christian is being offered up!”
Someone snickered, and others elbowed each other in the ribs.
“Yes, sir, folks, the world is being turned upside down, today. Mr. Sneijder is bound with chains while even our clergy gets away with wickedness.”
“Is he ever drunk!” someone hooted. “Yeah, crazy as a coot,” another man slapped his thigh then nudged in closer to get a better look at the prisoner who was trying to say something.
But it was Fabian's voice that carried the best. “Whores are stealing your husbands, women, while the upright are being butchered.
“Bang, bang, bangety bang. The wicked are free to roam the streets of our fine city. Bang, bang bangety bang-bang. And our leaders allow it!”
Some of the audience looked at each other then looked down.
“He speaks the truth” one woman whispered to her sister, who nodded her head in agreement.
Soon it was all over. Not one blasphemous utterance spewed forth from the benign saint’s lips, nor even a word of protest did Sikke utter.
He was ready to go, many observed, and has no fear of Hell or even purgatory.
Fabian looked at his friend one last time, and then his eyes locked with someone else’s. The bailiff: and that man was furious.