The Imp is Translating it…

It wuz the devil wot made us crookit. My muther sed my hare lip wuz frum The Nome-Muther wot lives in the urth. But that Nome-Muther is the Devil’s lot and a devil herself. It durnt matter wot name u give a thing. Things are good, or things are bad. And thats how it has allus ben since the 1 eternal begyning. An if yu want 2 know abowt Jak, yu must know abowt the 1 eternal begynin. My farthur told it me wen I woz a yunger…

In the 1 eternal begynin thur wer 2 spirits called Ormuz and Ariman. No one knows how they cum abowt or how old they myt be, wich is why they call it the 1 eternal begynin. Awl yu docturs av ben lernt 2 reed an write, an know awl crafty ways of speekin an thinkin things up. But yu cannot think of nuthin. Nuthin is jus an idear in the mynd of the person thinkin it; so nuthing can be thought of, exsept idears in mynds; what cum b4 the 1 eternal begynin is not nowable; and wot is not nowable cannot exsist. It mayks yu wonder tho durnt it? That nothing is real exsept in mynds an thorts. Mynds and Matter. Wich mayks me wonder what matter really is. Thats the mystry of the 1 eternal begynin. Fer how can matter exsist, except in the mynd of sum body?

Now, if yu durnt know it, Ormuz is the good god, an Ariman the bad god. Ormuz is Lite and creashun, but Ariman is darkness an destrukshun. Wot Ormuz makes, Ariman hates. In the 1 eternal begynin, Ariman wuz bownd by Darkness an cudnt see the Lite. Thur wuz no stars, no moon, no nuthing – jus an outr darkness wich crept awl roun, an into the hart uv him. It woz 1 big nuthin; thur were no colors, sounds, or smells; no hardnesses or softnesses, no heet or coald. No objects, no matter, no nuthin. Jus darkness. An that is how Ariman lyked it. He didnt even know abowt Ormuz. Awl he thort abowt woz nuthin an thur woz nuthin but him.

But Ormuz dwelt in a wurld of Lite: a lite wich he thort into exsitenz. Ormuz set abowt dreemin up the world, wich woz awl pearly perfik, jus as it shud be. But then Ariman got a glymmer uv the Lite; 4 he spyd it shynin in the darkness; it wer jus a littl spark at first, but as he got nearer, it grew bigger an bigger, until it shone lyke a grate big sun.

Ariman sed, “Ormuz, I hav lived 2 long in the outr darkness. Give me the Lite, or I will chop yu into littl bits.”

Ormuz sed, “We can share the Lite in peece.”

But Ariman wanted the Lite awl 4 hiseen an wernt going 2 share it with no body. So Ormuz cast Armian owt uv the Lite, an he fell into the Big Nuthin. Ariman woz shut up in the Big Nuthin 4 a thousand yers. Then Ormuz set about making the Urth wich woz awl brite and byutiful. He made the plants, the ox and the perfik man called Gayomart, who woz awl shynin an compleet. He made awl the fish in the seas, an awl the fowl in the air, awl the bears an wolves uv the wudz, an the lyons of the desert; he mayd awl the sheep uv the hills, an even the wormz of the clods. Awl things, even the air, water, urth, and fire, got thur life from Him. An the whole Creashun cried 2 Him, “Lord, do not forget me 4 a moment! The pillar of my being is held in thy mynd, and if yu shud stop thinkin of me, I wud ceese 2 exist!”

But then Ariman, who had ben shut owt in the Big Nuthin, woz freed by Jeh, the Liar Hoare. Ariman woz full of rage, an he rose up in anger an attacked the wurld uv Lite.

Ariman sed, “I shall reshaype this shynin world 4 myself!”

Ormuz sed, “Whatre yu talking abowt? Yu will ruin evree thing! If yu woan stay in the Big Nuthin, I will bind you in the wurld of Time!”

So Ariman made war on Ormuz with weppns uv darkness. The war rayged 4 thousands of yers, with no winnr in site. But then Ariman burst owt from the Big Nuthin and attacked the sky with fire, an he fell 2 Urth, an went deep into the sea. Ariman mayd darkness cover the Urth, and he made poyzen creatures, lyke spyders, snayks, and skorpyns… He put the hunger in evree belly, an awl the livin things began 2 eat each othur. Man ate pig, pig ate rat, rat ate grub, an grub ate the perfik man. Arman cunjured grate winds, drowts an playgs; he made a leejun uv devils wot brawt on dizeez and Deth; an they burnt up the plants, the ox, an Gayomart the perfik man…

Armiman wer prowd with his ruin an fled back 2 the Big Nothin in triumph. But Ormuz wudnt allow his Creashun 2 perish. So he mayde the soals of unborn men, who wer the anjels of Heaven. The anjels formed a grate army an captured Ariman b4 he escapit into the Big Nothin; an they bownd him with the wurld of Time. Then Ormuz set abowt mendin his ruined wurld. The blud of the grate ox fluded the barren land, the plants cum up an the Urth grew green agayn. Then the seed of Gayomart entered the sods, an up cum Adam and Eev, muther and farthur of Mankind.

Evree 1 knows that Adam an Eev had free will in the begynin. But they were tempted by Ariman who chaynjed into a serpent.

The serpent sed, ‘Eev, lissen 2 what I tell yu. Ormuz didnt mayke the Urth, I did.’

Eev sed, ‘If yu mayde the Urth, then who is Ormuz?’

The serpent sed, ‘Ormuz is a liar who keeps yu slaves. Worship me an I will set yu free. I will lern yu how 2 mayke fiar an giv yu the nowin of things.’

Eev told Adam wot the serpent sed, an they burnt an ox in sacrifice. Well, they both got the nowin of things, but diseeze and death cum into the wurld agayn. An when they had childer twins, they ate them both.

That’s what my Farther told me when I woz a yunger. Thers more 2 the tellin, lyke wen Abel wer slain by Cain. But that’s anothur tellin wich I wont tell now. Exsept that Ariman is the Prince of Evil an cummands an armi of devils who fite agaynst the Lite. My farthur sed Ariman made my hare lip an put the laymness in my childer. Devils make awl dizeezes. Each diseez has its own devil. If yu want 2 cure a dizeez, its devil must be cunjured owt into summat else, lyke a hoal in a tree, or water, or urth. Now when I woz a yunger, a devil put a clowd in my farthurs eye wich made his site go milky wite. So my muther mayd a spell, an cast the clowd into a bowl uv water. But yu cannot leeve a devil in a bowl uv water; so she cast the water into sum flour and mayd sum bred; but yu cannot eet bred with a devil in it. So she buried the bred in the urth; then the Urth Man ate the bred an’ my farthur wuz cured, an his eyes grew cleer. So 1 day I asked muther 2 cast owt my hare lip. But she sed no man cud do it, nor cast owt the laymness in her childer…

I grew up an I tuk me a wyf, but the devil put the laymness into my childer. We wandered the urth, up an down, roun abowt, wither the wind tuk us. We wanderit far an wide, but nuthin wen well with us; an’ money nun cud I make. We tryd 2 settl down, but we cud never stay in towns: thur wuz 2 much welth, 2 menne howzes, and 2 menne streets sprung up. So we lived in the wilds, winter an summer. I went from howse 2 howse, mending pots an sellin sivs. An my wyf told 4tunes 4 a copper. We wer happy 4 a wile. But 1 winter the snow fel shoalder hy an my wyf wuz taken by frostbite. I wuz left aloan with my 2 dawters. An they cryed owt, “Farthur, giv us bread!” But I had none. An they cryed owt, “Farthur lite the fire!” But I had no tinder. So I tuk 2 theevin. I got wot ever I cud get my hands on. Even ded things. 1 day I come 2 an howse and sed:

“Hav yu got a ded pig or a ded sheep lady?”

She sed: “We had a pig dyd a week ago; but it dyd so sudden we think it must hav got summat.”

I sed, ‘O! That durnt matter, lady, if u wud only giv it us. Weev had menne a 1 lyke that, an’ it never did us no harm.”

She sed: “But we buried it 2 days ago.”

I sed, “Well I can dig it up agen lady.”

She sed: “But it wont be fit 2 eat.”

I sed: “Yes it will lady, we lyke ’em lyke that.”[ i]

An thats how we lived: eetin wot other folk wud not tuch. Sum times I snared a rabbit or cort a fish. But we wer allus hungry in winter. It wuz the hunger wot Ariman put in ar bellys. Folk think that livin in the wudz is eezy. But livin in the wudz is hard. Nuts are gud if yu can get em; an thur is faery butter wot grows on trees in autumn, wich is delishus. But wen winter comes, food is scarce. My 1st dawter died wen she wer 10. She ate a rank fox an got a fever. The devil payned her 4 days b4 she passed away. I buried her under a bush. I only had 1 dawter left. She had the laymness but woz still a bewty, with brite blu eyes, pretty teef an raven blak hair. She did the 4tunes lyke her muther, goin from howse 2 howse. Now 1 day she herd uv sum majik goin abowt the cuntry. They sed it wuz a mirakul man. Some sed it wer Jezus who had cum back 2 Urth, 2 bring abowt his Kingdom. But I didnt bileev it, 4 men wer still killin each othur, jus as allus. My dawter sed the mirakul man cud do wot Jezus did, an cast owt devils, an cure the crookitness wot the devil put in us. She sed he cud mend my hare lip an cure her club foot.

I sed, “Where is this mirakul man?”

She sed, “He is cumin wen the hawthorn puts 4th her blooms.”

I sed, “Where at?”

She sed, “He shall cum at a grotto in the wudz.”

So we set off 2 fyn it. The sun did not shyne 4 many moons; it rained in grate downpoors awl day an night. I dug ditches roun the tent 2 stop us being swamped. It wer cold, wet an mizerable. Awl we cud do woz sit in the tent an make sivs. Sum days it cum into my hed abowt my paw ded wife who got the frostbite; so I kept the fire lit even tho the wudz wer sodden. I went abowt, grubbing up the roots uv fallen trees. It seemed lyke the spring wud never cum. But soon the blakbird began 2 sing, the urth dryed up, an the wudz grew green.

The grotto wer not hard 2 fyn. Word had spred far an wyde abowt the mirakul man, an the wudz wer full uv pilgrims. We jus follered the others. Thur wer a big crowd wayting when we turned up: folk with curses and sickness uv awl kinds; older an yunger, blind, def an layme, jus lyke my dawter. Thur wuz a blind man wot had his eyes peckit owt by a cock wen he were a childer. An thur uz a wombman with a dead childer in her arms. The childer woz so long dead it stank; the littl body woz awl bloated an blak an blu. She sed the mirakul man cud raise the ded an bring back her childer. When I herd that, I thort it wer awl a load of offal. Sum went away an shuk thur heds an sed it wuz jus an idle dreem. I wud hav follered after but 4 my dawter. So I stayed put an wayted 3 more days. On the last day, the sun cum owt, an the hawthorn put owt her blooms. Then the mirakul man came owt uv the wudz…

But wen I set eyes on him, I thort he wer a devil, 4 he had horny cankers on his hed. He lukit lyke an old turnip. Now thur ar manne devils with mens fayces, but not manne men with devils faces.

I sed, “How can the crookit cast owt the crookit?”

My dawter sed, “Watch an see.”

I sed, “Is he a devil or a man?”

She sed, “Hes a holy man wot they call a Parfay.”

I sed, “Parfay? Then why is he dressit up lyke a munk?”

He stood by the rocks, wer the water ran down. He eyes wer shynin lyke blu glass an he lukit very ghostly. Now the worst abowt it wuz this: thur wer a goats hed behind him. A goats hed made of stoan. Sumbody mus hav carved it long ago. But he lookit jus lyke it, with his curly horns an his crookit hed. Awl the folk cum roun, an thur wer much pushin an shovin.

One man cryd, “Ar yu Jak Vallan?”

Anothur sed, “How can it be Jak? Jak had red eyes, not blu!”

The mirakul man held up his hand an sed: “How shall yu know me, wen I am owt of the body? Wot shall yu call me, when I put on my Fathurs garment? Shall yu even recognize me? Yu ask me who am I. Then I shall tell yu. I am a heretic wot persists in error; 4 I beleev the church uv Rome is the church uv Satan; I affirm awl prelaytes, bishups and preests as the Devil’s agents. The church of Rome is but a synagogue of devils an a house of mershandize! The preests are wycked scribes and farasees who divest the Christian peepil of ther goods an propertee! Awl preests teech in false an blind ways, and leed good people into a mire! I deny confeshun an baptizm by preests; I beleev the sacraments are wurthless; 4 the wurld an the flesh wuz made by the devil, an not ar Hevenly Farthur. An I beleev the Holy cross is a detestibal emblem uv the Devil. Remember this: the gifts uv god are freely given; they are not bort by ar oan works, or by penanses, fastings an prayers; neethur are they bort by indulgunses or confeshuns; they are only ever bestowd by grace – the grace wich cums from accepting Jesus Christ as yur Lord an saviur – from being His propertee, as the sheep belongs 2 the shepherd. Only then can yu belong 2 God’s kingdum uv mercy! Beleev me wen I tell yu: ther will be no resurectshun of human flesh. We shall not cum 2 judgement in these bodies, but in spiritual bodies, in wich persuns hereaftur ar mayde 2 rise. If yu wud be cured, cum forward an be consoled!”

Then a voice cried owt:

“Jak! I want 2 see the sun!”

It wer the old man, who had his eyes peckit out by a cock wen her wer a childer. An he cum thru the crowd, tappin his stick. An he stood b4 Jak, an I saw Jak tuch him on the hed. But I saw 2 uther hands go b4 his, that wer made uv lite. The lite uv Ormuz. The old man began shaykin lyke a mad mare, groanin and wailing. I thort Jak wer goin 2 kill him. But then the shaykin stopped, an a peece came over him. An wen Jak tuk his hands away, thur were 2 nu eyes in the old mans hed! 2 nu eyes, awl brite an blue! The old man cryd owt lowd an ran abowt, an nocked his hed on a tree. The crowd were weepin, an fallin 2 thur nees 2 pray. Then cum a cookit crone who wore an iron pan on her hed.

She sed, ‘Oh Parfay pleeze heel my back!’

Jak sed, ‘Wombman, why do yu wear an iron pan on yur hed?’

The crone sed, ‘2 stop the devil knowing my dreems. The devil cannot pass thru iron.’

We awl thort this woz very odd. An yu cud tell the wooman wuz thinkin 2 herself: if the Parfay is a devil, he will remove the pan. But Jak jus put his hands on the pan, an the crone began 2 shayk lyke an aspen leef. She woz awl a tremble, with her lims stretchit owt stiff. Yu cud tell the Lite wuz goin rite thru her. My god, her crookitness strayted owt b4 my eyes. Then she stood up 2 feet taller than b4.

Jak sed, ‘The devil cannot pass thru iron, but Christ can pass thru anything!’

A grate cheer went up and the crone fell 2 her nees in prayer. Then cum a boy with a club foot jus lyke my dawters. An the boy sed: “Oh Jak, I knew yud cum! Forgive us fer being so cruel!”

Jak put 4th his hands an says: “Be healed in Jesus name!” An the boy started tremblin an showit the wites of his eyes. A lite blazed ovur his hed an his hare shon like a burnin bush. Then I saw a devil come owt of him. I cort it owt the corner uv my eye: a devil, awl withery an blak, with skin like old levver; it slitherit owt lyke a quick lizard an crawlit into the urth. Well the boy wuz cured an wept menne tears, an kissed Jak on the feet. Then my dawter goes up, an Jak did the same 4 her. I cudnt beleev my eyes. Thur wuz my byutifil dawter, graceful as a swan, walkin tall and strayt, 4 the 1st tyme in her lyfe. An I wept with so much joy, 4 the laymness wot the devil put in her wuz tayken owt.

My dawter sed: “Go up farthur an be cured!”

But I darnt go up, an I’ll tell thee why. 4 evry tyme Jak put 4th his hands, his flesh went pale; an the blu uv his eyes wer washed away, until they wer grey as stoan.

Then Jak cryd owt: “The Lord tells me there is a wombman amongst yu wiv a dead childer. Cum 4th an be cured.”

So the wombman cum thru the crowd wiv her dead childer an the stink of death woz upon it. But Jak reached owt an tuchd the childer, an a litening bolt went 4th from his hands, and the childer cayme 2 life. But after that, Jak lookit lyke he wer goin 2 dy; he fell to the urth an sed, “I am very tyred. Cum back on the morrow wen I hav rested.” An the crowd went away full uv grate wundr an astonishment.

The sun wer sinking wen we got 2 ar tent.

I sed. “I will fetch sum wood fer the fire.”

My dawter sed, “Let me go farthur. I want 2 walk on my new leg.”

She wer so happy, an skippit off into the wudz. But not long after I herd a teribal screemin. So I ran after her thru the thickits an cum 2 a fallen tree. 2 munks had my dawter pinned on the trunk. 1 uv them wer small an scrawny but the othur wer lyke a big wite dog.

The dog munk sed, “Keep back gypsy, an let me hav my way with her.”

I sed, “If you harm 1 hair on her hed, I will put a curse on you.”

The littl munk woz all a tremble an sed, “It wuznt me gypsy. It wuznt my idear.”

I pullit my nife but the dog sed, “If yu durnt keep back, I’ll cut her throat!” An he pullit his nife.

An the littl munk sed, “Leev her. Lets go, b4 we get cursit.”

The dog sed, “A gypsy curse durnt fryten me.” An he rippit her skirts and showit her brests.

An wen I saw that, the blud boilit in my vanes; so I pickit up a stik an charjed him. But the dog wer 2 stong an threw me 2 the groun. He snatchit my stik an hit me over the hed. He kickit my ribs an knocked the wind clear owt of me. Then he took his nife an held it hy. I thort I wer goin 2 dy. Then sum 1 sed:

“Get off him Gluk.”

I lookit up: it wer the Jak, the mirakul man.

An my dawter cryd: “Oh Jak, pleez save us.”

Jak liftit me up an put his cowl roun my dawter.

Gluk sed, “What have yu ben doin Parfay? You pretender munk. The quizishun will burn yu!”

Jak sed, “Burn me? Wot 4?”

Gluk sed, “We saw yu thru the trees. You ar a heretic wot persists in error; 4 yu beleev the church uv Rome is the church uv Satan; yu affirm awl prelaytes, bishups and preests ar the Devil’s agents; yu deny confeshun an baptizm by preests; an yu beleev the sacraments are wurthless… An yu do majik in the Devil’s name…”

Jak sed, “Yu shall go 2 hell 4 this.”

The littl munk sed, “I wernt doin nuthin Jak. I only cum 2 get my 4tune told. This wer Gluks idear.”

Then my dawter sed, “If its yur 4tunes yu want then let me giv them…”

But Gluk laughed an sed, “Yu cannot tell 4tunes. If yu cud, you wud never have cum this way. Im not giving yu a copper!”

And my dawter sed, “Since yu will not give a copper, Ill tell yur 4tunes fer nothin. Yu seem 2 carry yur hed very hy now, but it will be razed yet hyer b4 yu dy, 4 yu will be hanged…”

Gluk didnt lyke 2 hear them wurdz.

Then my dawter lukit at the othur munk an sed, “Yu shall not hang. Yu shall drown.”

The littl munk didnt lyke 2 hear them wurdz neether. An they both run off into the thikets.

I sed, “Yu are dun 4 Parfay. Yu cannot go bak. Yu shud stay with us, or the quizishun will burn yu.”

Jak sed, “I must go bak. I hav sum cures 2 do at the abbey.”

An Jak follered them into the thikets. We never saw the mirakul man agayn.

That is my tale – an the tellin is dun.

Extract from ‘Bred in The Bone’ Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2010-2016