Rudip is Cast into the Wasteland

Bitter berries

Bitter berries ripe on the vine.

I was cast into the wasteland. I had no home to rest in, no drink to slake my thirst, my darkest areas were left open to the air.

But the gracious man makes a virtue of his torment: I sheltered in the musty holes of badgers; I drank tears from the eyes of sleeping cuckoos; I marvelled both in the balmy evenings and the frosty snaps.

Birds were my only friend. I was cruel to the animals and the fishes of the sea. Tough, spiny creatures — I ate them. Furry, misty-eyed cattle — I destroyed them for sport. My coat was made from spawn and the hairs from pigs.

I made a shack from all the things of the forest — wood and crêpe paper and trusty nutmegs. This was my home. I lived full hardy. My wife was the sky, my children the birds and the grasses, my cousins the brook and stones, my neighbours the tall trees and branches — I was not related to the insects in any way.

Soon Winter came. There was no food but bitter berries and no drink but stagnant juice. I made a pie from bitter berries and sweetened it with Hope. I drank the stagnant juice from a cup whittled from Faith. For many days I lay poisoned and hallucinated.

On the first day, I was visited by giant minstrels from the marrow of the land.

On the second day, strange-headed shoots grew from the trees and whispered naughty rumours.

On the third day, the moon stared at me with a winking gaze. I hid my head in shame.

On the fourth day, I was beset by vaporous rumblings and fatty deposits.

On the fifth day, I was menaced by unknown proddings in the daylight hours, and was scourged by midnight ticklings.

On the sixth day, I saw the face of God: my stomach twisted, my eyes trembled, my brain revolved, my ears deserted me, my limbs became a paste, my kneecaps mixed amongst themselves, my veins became crazy, I lost touch with my organs — everything in me melted.

On the seventh day, I was fully recovered.


God provides us with bitter berries and stagnant juices that we might better understand his will.