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Marilyn Friesen

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Did You Protest Out Loud?

Jason is supposed to play the drum while his friend is being executed, and is none too happy about it. Part two.-------------------------------------------------

Oh, Jason, surely you didn’t object!” his wife wailed.

“I knew better than to protest vehemently, but I'm sure they know how I feel."

He got up and reached for a bottle of homemade brew in a cupboard by the door. Maybe if I let myself get just a little bit intoxicated it won’t bother me so much.Heidi cast him a stony glare. She never did like it when he drank too much, but this time, he promised himself, he wouldn’t.  Heidi sent the children off to bed, and Jason checked on the farm animals one last time and went for a long walk beneath the starlit sky. It did little to soothe his agitated spirits.

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Jason grimaced when he saw the crowd of soldiers forming a barricade around the prisoner. He sensed there were other sympathizers besides him that felt like an injustice was being done today. The leaders wanted to avoid a protest.  He was feeling a little tipsy from that last glass of wine gulped down rather convulsively just before dragging himself out of the house. He dared not be late.  

“Keep the children out of the marketplace,” he commanded just before milling with the crowds on the filthy, crowded street.

“Ah, here comes the drummer! Now we can start.”

Seth Snider met Jason’s eye as they bound him, and Jason dropped his gaze first. There was a light, nay a radiance resting on Seth’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.”

Jason 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 Seth Snider; 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. Snider is bound with chains while even our clergy gets away with wickedness.”
“Wow, is he ever drunk!” someone hooted.
“Yeah, crazy as a loon,” 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 Jason'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 congregation 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 Seth utter.
He is ready to go, many thought, and has no fear of Hell.
Jason looked at his friend one last time as his eyes closed in death, then his eyes locked with someone else’s. The bailiff: and those eyes were furious.

Pretending to be drunker than he actually was, Jason staggered away. What have I said? What have I done? I will be in deep trouble now! 
This is based on a true story that happened in 1549. (Yup, that's before my time.) The old-fashioned names were so unfamiliar to our modern tongues that I decided to change them. The wife's name was Hadewijk, but I don't know the drummer's name. It happened in Leeuwarden. Does anyone know where that is? I intend to write more on it soon. And oh, by the way, it is supposed that the martyr was a man by the name of Sikke Snijder
Excerpt from one of my books found at: