The bishop’s finger

In 1463 a small group of monks from Whitstable were working hard to develop a unique strain of ale, utilising a hybrid mixture of French and English hops. Whilst waiting for the brew to ferment the monks were struck by an unusual smell and after fishing for a few minutes they pulled out the decaying corpse of a young woman weighed down by rocks tied to her arms and feet. The terrified men called for the Abbot unsure what to do about their ghastly discovery. Whilst waiting the monks were approached by a wizened old beggar who pulled up a barrel started to shuffle a filthy pack of cards; he called over to one of the younger monks and offered him the deck. At first he tried to ignore the tramp, but the old fool persisted seemingly oblivious to the disaster unfolding around him. The boy wiped his eyes and taking a card in his shaking left hand, held it up to the light. He cried out at at the picture on the card. A skeletal figure wrapped in bishops robes held a crook in one hand, as he pointed the forefinger of his left hand directly at the monk. The boy fell to his knees weeping and confessed to murdering the woman who had been carrying his child. The Abbot vowed the boy to silence, ordered the girl buried and the beer finished. The tramp was never seen again.

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