posted on Aug, 2 2014 @ 01:24 PM
The Lost Latchet
The cobblestones were hot to the touch and yet it was but the third hour of the day. Not a cloud in sight to cast even a shadow upon the ancient city
of Jerusalem and yet it was bustling with merchants and beggars alike. The city streets were lined with shops and their keepers standing about and
shouting about their goods of everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to silver and brass wares.
Roman police were milling about with a watchful eye for unwanted people such as beggars and thieves. The law protected the merchants in favor of the
high tribute which was exacted against the people. It was a simple reason which favored the merchant from theft and robbery. The Roman govt. would
be cheated from their revenue if thieves and robbers were allowed to practice their trade and deprive the merchants from a sale or trade and because
of this they were offered protection by the state.
The market streets were reserved for the rich tradesmen while the older and less traveled streets were fair game for the beggars, the dyeing and the
poor. In fact the beggars were contained with certain untold rules which they soon learned through the Roman police which seemed to be as thick as
the flies on fresh fruit. Life was cheap and very cruel with no hope for a decent life and most people simply lived for the day at hand. Just to
stay alive for one more day.
This day found an old man sitting beside the eastern gate with a wrinkled tan hand held out for a farthing or maybe a piece of bread. This was where
his life always began from the time he was but a boy. His right leg was badly deformed and the foot turned inwards so that he would not only limp but
drag the leg at each step he would take. He was old but no one truly knew his age because he was always at the gate from the time anyone could
remember. He was known simply as the old man.
Some folks are so common that they simply blend in with their surroundings but not so with the old man. The first thing which struck most folks was
the dark tanned skin of his wrinkled old face. The eyes were so white with the pupils of blue that they looked as though they were painted into his
face and the snow white hair blended into a full beard so that one could not tell where one or the other began or ended. The teeth were as white as
the white of his eyes and sparkled as though they had just been set into his mouth and if he was a man of renown with fine clothes he would be a
handsome man indeed. But fate had to have her way with men and he was an example of the misfortune that befalls the unfortunate.
The beggar sat at the gate till about the ninth hour of the day and slowly got to his feet and limped on down the hot cobbled stone street towards
another section of the street when suddenly he heard the clapping of horses hooves and shouting of a great many people. Looking over to his right
shoulder he saw a great hill and Roman police on horses and on foot beating people away from prisoners of the state. The prisoners were being whipped
and beat about the face and body till it sickened even the most stout hearted of men.
The old man stood still at the side of the road and sat down to rest and watch the procession as best he could. A young lad stopped beside him and
the beggar asked the lad what this was all about. The lad told him that there were some men to be put to death by crucifixion for crimes against the
state. As the crowd started up the hill with shouting and waving hands the old man closed his eyes and wept with a loud cry for all of this sorrow
which was upon the poor souls who were caught up in such a concern in life.
As the beggar sat beside the road waiting for the return of the people from the hill, the afternoon sun took its toll on him and he retreated to an
old olive tree which offered some shelter from the glaring heat and yet allowed him to see the cobble stoned road which led to the top of the hill.
It must have been over an hour before people came down the hill and as the crowd slowly began to descend the old beggar limped over to the side of the
road and began his daily task of begging. Most people were probably as poor as the beggar but even so he managed to get three farthings for the day
and that would buy him a hand sized cake at the least.
Now was about the time that he should be starting his way back to the beggar’s quarters of the city. It would be a fearful thing to be caught on
the streets after the curfew and would mean a beating and perhaps a stay in the prison to say the least. Now there was a section in the city which
they called the beggar’s quarters and this was where the old man slowly limped to spend the night. Most of the unfortunate would gather under the
stone bridge and share their fire and food with their unfortunate brothers who had not fared as well for the day. Slowly the old man got to his feet
and limped to the bake shop to get his bread and then to the beggar’s quarters to sleep the night. As he came to the familiar stone bridge he saw
the fires which some had already settled for the night.
The old man was greeted by a few old friends and limped over to warm himself against the cold night. One old friend handed him a wood cup of cold
water as he sat down beside the fire and with a warm greeting he took his cake from his sleeve and began to share with those who had nothing. There
were some among them who were sick as well as some who were dying and these were the ones who were given the greater share. So it was with these
unfortunates. A life of misery and death.
As the sun rose to another day and the people began to move about the city, so the beggars put out their fires and started to move out of their
section to roam the city in search of food or clothing. It was this day which the old man decided to not beg at the gate but go to the hill where he
had profited so well yesterday. Yes, he would try this street again now that the crowd was gone and may be find a coin or some thing which was lost
or cast away. So with that thought in his mind he slowly limped towards the great hill.
He started his long journey as quickly as possible but with age and crippled leg it would be a slow and tiresome ordeal. He noted that as each day
passed he became weaker in both body and mind. It would not be too many more days in his wretched life and he was very well aware of what happened
when one becomes a burden upon the others. His only hope was for this day and not to be concerned with the tomorrows.
As he approached the hill he rested for a moment and stood looking up the cobble stoned road to the very top. It is odd, he thought to himself, how
formidable the hill looked now that he has measured it up close. It did not look that difficult yesterday but today it will be a challenge. Yes
quite a challenge.