I was mopping the floor with a mixture of a rather aggressive plant and hot water, wearing a rather ragged dress, my hair braided around my head and bound in a headscarf. The little gold cross at my neck was dangling out of my dress, swinging to and fro as I rubbed the floor with my crude, homemade mop.
It was at that moment that my life was turned upside down.
I heard a knock on my door. I was nearly finished, so I shouted, in my hoarse voice:
'One moment please!'
I threw some clean water over the floor and mopped it all away into a hole that I'd dug beside my chamberpot. The water would flow away into the earth and cause no one harm.
As I wiped my hands on my dress I opened the door. And I gasped.
He was dazzling, absolutely dazzling. I almost dropped to my knees, thinking this was an angel. With his fair hair and blue eyes, the sun shining right on his head, he couldn't be anything other. But I saw that he was wearing ordinary clothes - a shirt, trousers, boots, a travelling cape, some knives at his hip. Therefore I curtseyed and kept my eyes low.
'Good morning, milady,' were his first words.
He had only come in for a drink of water and a bite to eat, but we ended up talking by my fireside for hours. He told me his name was Gwydion and that he had opened a pharmacy, a herbal store, in the city. That if ever I needed anything, I should drop by, on the street that led north from St. Martin's church, under the sign of the shamrock. I promised him that I would. I asked him what brought him here. He explained that there were certain things he could find only in the morning, only along the path to my house. And so my home was the final destination. Upon his hour of departure he said:
'Then I shall probably see you tomorrow.'
I smiled and bid him farewell. Then, as the hour was late, I quickly finished my daily duties, prayed to the Virgin, and got into my bed. With a smile did I fall asleep.
I had renounced men, and the Virgin had given me a man.
Who was I to defy the Virgin?