Monday, November 30, 2009

Why "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" is not a pro-life film

"Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu depicts with bleak accuracy and wry observation what it's like to navigate the back alleys, easy cruelty and sheer pettiness in a totalitarian society in "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days." This is not the stuff of concentration camps, strong-arm tactics and vicious repression, but rather a society's complete indifference, absent even the slightest human empathy, toward two hapless young women trying to resolve an unwanted pregnancy. Yes, the ostensive portrait is of the final years of Communist rule in Romania, but the film speaks to the banality of evil in all political systems and the contemptuous creatures more than willing to exploit the vulnerable in all societies."
From Reuters Top Ten Movies of the Decade.

Yes, the fact that pro-abortion advocates would find the film supportive of their view does make the film not very pro-life. No, the fact that the film is disturbing about the procuring of an abortion does not mean that the film is pro-life.

As far as, "Well, it's neither you see, because it's a work of art and art is not supposed to bash us over the heads with messages..." and so forth, well, it's not that great of a work of art to begin with. And art that sucks, sucks about life.

I saw the film and found the content obviously repulsive. Yes, the film is harrowing and disturbing and bleakly gritty and grittily bleak and yadda yadda. The film "accurately" depicts a night of nightmare. So what? But not one minute of the film did I find to be engaging with the lineaments of life, not with life in its suffering, not with life in its absurd distortions; in fact, if it weren't for the unflinching gritty harrowing disturbing bleakness, what you have here is an after-school special. So lets replace this regime with another regime (not with one of those bad regimes of course, but the good ones that have safe legal abortions and have done away with all that back alley lack of empathy) why don't we? The film is a clunker.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Prayer

Stir up your power, we beseech you, O Lord, and come, that we may be protected from the dangers to which our sins expose us, and thus we may be saved. Amen.

A Poem for the New Liturgical Year

Around for silent miles, the cleaned trees go in
to some listening state, as would appear
hibernation to their bud break, shade-making
prime and dispossession, flurried ember-rot.
But no: new eyes open this ashen afternoon,
stealth-hearing ears and stillness like a rock.

Each lineage of emptied stems becomes
a nest's vigil waiting, receiving from
the sky, portents that are also presences.
The ages are done and their terminus
is set within each bridge's time and length:
the end of all time has been fixed within

the center of time. Stripped is all in all,
and all-in-all's a vigilance. Darkest depth
has housed a frightful liberation whence
the spillage poison may freak and foment,
may drive up to the very heaven's stars to shake;
and while it happens, deemed to overtake,

creature man will have free, terrible space
in which to lift towards his birth his face.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Desert Fathers

XXVI. An old man said, "The ancients did not readily remove from place to place unless it might be for three things: that is, if there was any who had a grudge against him, and he could not pacify him do what he would: or again if it befell that he were praised by many: or if he ran into temptation of fornication."

Prayer for the Deceased

O divine Lord, whose adorable heart ardently sighs for the happiness of your children, we humbly pray that you remember the souls of your servants for whom we pray; command that your holy angels receive them and convey them to a place of rest and peace. Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Prayer for one Recently Deceased

Grant your forgiveness, Lord, to the soul of your servant [N.] that, being dead to this world, he/she may live now to you alone, and whatever sins he/she committed through human frailty, do you, in your mercy, absolve. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Desert Fathers

XXVIII. And again the abbot Macarius said, "If in desiring to rebuke any one thou art thyself moved to anger, thou dost satisfy thine own passion; in saving another, lose not thyself."

Monday, November 23, 2009

An old drawing

Some drift wood. I came across the drawing going through a sketch-book from awhile back.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Perverse Christmas Lights

Driving home from Adoration I noticed a few homes already have their Christmas lights up. But every one of them has these lights that, to me, are kind of ghastly. I don't even know what colour they are; something between a vague light blue and a vague light violet. For some reason they have caught on in the last few years.

They look like those lights that forensics teams use at the scene of a crime. They're so cold.

You want to put up your Christmas lights too early, fine. But at least have colours that are not thoroughly anti-symbological.

Saturday Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which gushed forth from the sacred Side of Thy divine Son Jesus in the presence and to the great sorrow of His most holy Mother, deliver the souls in purgatory and among them all especially that soul which has been most devout to this noble Lady, that it may come quickly into Thy glory, there to praise Thee in her, and her in Thee through all the ages. Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holy Dream

Garden Sprawl Friday

We've been having wind storms here. This time of year it is typical to get wonderful, deep-roaring winds.

This is our backyard willow. Both leaders snapped. Just this past spring I pruned it along its sides, shaping and clearing the way for it to put its growth towards the top. This allows steady sunlight to get into the gardens. I had yet more plans to do further pruning higher up, and keeping the leaders. The willow was looking quite nice, with a good upright form and tapering off into its natural ends. Usually you see willows that get truncated every year, then resprout like a mad Madusa.

And now the beautiful leaders are broken. So, what I'll do is this: I'll go ahead and prune the branches I was going to prune anyway, in addition to cutting clean the broken ends where the wind had its way. From those clean-cut ends, in spring, will sprout multiple branches. I will then prune all of them out but one. This one will become the new leader. I will select the one branch that has the most upright form.

Now this branch,

from one of the apple trees, broke not from winds but from being so heavily laden with apples. That's what I like. There's some kind of metaphor there.

The four back garden beds:

I covered the two beds that have growing things in them with leaves. There's carrots, onions, cabbage, rutabaga, lettuce, garlic and leeks growing (or at least not dying) in these beds. Soon I will need to rig up some sort of cold frame for some of the crops; though I would like to see what I can get away with just by piling more leaves.

I have the leeks in three different areas, each group a successive size, according to the time that I took them out of the mostly shaded greenhouse (perfect for germinating and keeping young crops for transplanting where they won't grow too much) and planted them in the garden. Here are the ones I first took out:

A number of them (the largest) have been pulled up for cooking. These variety (Bandit) are not a giant leek. They are a moderate size (but not small) with a nice buttery, tender white portion; lots of flavour. But their even better trait is that they are a work-horse. They are very cold hardy.

Growing out of the bed at the farther end of the pictured pole beans (the ones that are all now dead) is this singular pumpkin:

That area is where the compost bins used to be. A stray pumpkin seed from who knows when decided to sprout. It must have come from an hybrid pumpkin, of the typical grocery store variety for Halloween carving. An hybrid seed will not grow true to the parent. It "reverts", or does unexpected things. I am going to save the seeds from this little guy, and grow them in the spring and pollinate it with the pollen from a Rouge Vif d'Etempes variety, then see what happens.

And these are some of the well-aged beans from the pole that I marked off in the spring, for saving for seed:

I left them too long, out of laziness, and some of them I threw away as some of the mould had penetrated through the skin to the seeds inside; though it was minimal, I don't want to take any chances. The others were quite clean. Its amazing how a plant will develop all these protective measures.

As for the beans that are still on the dead vines (lots of them) and which are matured but still in the green stage (not the brown stage as pictured above), I am going to pick all of them and perhaps save only the most matured for future growing and see if I can use the others in a slow cooker.

I transplanted kale (which I had grown in the back) into the front bed a little while ago. Kale is another work-horse.

Friday Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Jesus Thy divine Son did shed this day upon the tree of the Cross, especially from His sacred Hands and Feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and particularly that soul for whom I am most bound to pray, in order that I may not be the cause which hinders Thee from admitting it quickly to the possession of Thy glory where it may praise Thee and bless Thee for evermore. Amen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Desert Fathers

IV. A brother asked an old man, saying, "What shall I do, Father, against thoughts of passion?" He answered, "Pray to the Lord that the eyes of thy soul may behold the help that is from God, that doth go round about a man and keep him safe."

Four Mazurkas

Victoria Smus, Chopin Recital. part 2 (2) from Eugene Nizker on Vimeo.

Thursday Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Body and Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus, which He Himself on the night before His Passion gave as meat and drink to His beloved Apostles and bequeathed to His Holy Church to be the perpetual Sacrifice and life-giving nourishment of His faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory, but most of all, that soul which was most devoted to this Mystery of infinite love, in order that it may praise Thee therefor, together with Thy divine Son and the Holy Spirit in Thy glory for ever. Amen.

The NeverEnding Story

The NeverEnding Story is one of the most depressing films of all time. Yet it is the more so when it tries not to be. And where it reaches for profundity it becomes shallow and desultory. There are many films that are deliberately sad; among them many that can be depressing as a lingering offshoot; lots of them films from the 90's, and of course none of them belonging to the fantasy genre: that genre of the 80's, to which The NeverEnding Story can be counted as one of many unfortunates that further tarnishes it.

Rather, the movie is utterly unique in achieving a virulent hangover through the sheer sincerity of the filmmakers' and writers' drive to make this fantasy world believable (a noble intention), but 'believable' in a way that, straining and overbearing and with nothing to really earn it in the first place, turns this alternate world (Fantasia) into the very pulpit from which they expound the absolute necessity of believing in it. Talk about getting ahead of yourself. And as the flipside to this Very Necessary Belief they pit The Nothing. You must buleeeeeeeeeve! Or else!

"But father, what must I believe in, and why?"

"Well's like...well, uh oh, I think I hear The Nothing coming."

"No! No! I believe! I buleeeeeve!"

"That's a good boy."

I put myself through the painful experience of watching it the other night, and, having grown up in the 80's, obviously not for the first time. I remember as a kid in particular the ending portion of the movie that left me indifferent and empty (not to mention the sinking of Atreyu's white horse in the muck of sadness; a scene that absolutely petrified me with sadness as a kid. The white horse is a biblical symbol of Christ. And later his steed is replaced by a good-luck dragon, also white). Now it is possible to see why: the grubby, self-aware markings of stupid adults who want to really show, nay, tell, nay, dictate to children the importance of believing in their dreams and wishes and their own worth (which they must really, really, really believe, instead of humility and self-abasement, as they pass between the two laser-eye sphinxes with the amazingly anti-gravitational breasts) and how the whole world is completely dependent on their own powers (and they better have one of those talismans of two snakes eating one another; and a good-luck dragon to boot) because it is wholly one-dimensional and is at the mercy of The Nothing if they don't just simply, you know, wish, or something.

Puleeeese Bastian! You must! You must give me a name! Your powers are to be wielded in this world, in other words, as having no place and proportion in the hierarchy of creation as created by the One, not as gifts, but at your own service, having no recourse to any wisdom but your own as it seems these powers are nothing more than your own autonomous will.

Your own autonomous will and a one-dimensional, or two, or three-dimensional world and The Nothing pitted against it all: that this sort of thing has long infested that most pure and rich of genres, Fantasy, is perhaps not surprising, given that we know the Great Plagiarizing Feign always goes after the sanctuary.

There is one effective part in the movie, and that is when Atreyu comes upon the drawings on the stone wall showing some of his lame-ass journey in retrospect, and then (the good part) comes upon the drawing of the wolf's face, snarling. It is quite creepy. The wolf itself is also well done.

I didn't know this film was based on a book. And the theme music at the beginning and end of the film is worse than Abba.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus that was shed in the streets of Jerusalem whilst He carried on His sacred shoulders the heavy burden of the Cross, deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that one which is richest in merits in Thy sight, so that, having soon attained the high place in glory to which it is destined, it may praise Thee triumphantly and bless Thee for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


A Night in November
By Thomas Hardy

I marked when the weather changed,
And the panes began to quake,
And the winds rose up and ranged,
That night, lying half-awake.

Dead leaves blew into my room,
And alighted upon my bed,
And a tree declared to the gloom
Its sorrow that they were shed.

One leaf of them touched my hand,
And I thought that it was you
There stood as you used to stand,
And saying at last you knew!

Tuesday Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus that was shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, particularly that soul which is in the greatest need of our prayers, in order that it may not long be delayed in praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing Thee for ever. Amen.

A Nocturne and My Favourite Ballade

Victoria Smus, Chopin Recital. part 2 (1) from Eugene Nizker on Vimeo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, especially that soul which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory, that it may soon begin to praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood, which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in the Garden, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one which is the most forsaken of all, and bring it into Thy glory, where it may praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Nocturne and a Ballade

Victoria Smus, Chopin Recital. part 1 (3) from Eugene Nizker on Vimeo.

Prayer for All the Deceased

By Thy resurrection from the dead, O Christ, death no longer hath dominion over those who die in holiness. So, we beseech Thee, give rest to Thy servants in Thy sanctuary and in Abraham's bosom. Grant it to those, who from Adam until now have adored Thee with purity, to our fathers and brothers, to our kinsmen and friends, to all men who have lived by faith and passed on their road to Thee, by a thousand ways, and in all conditions, and make them worthy of the heavenly kingdom.

Friday, November 13, 2009

After Meal Blessing

We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, Who livest and reignest forever. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Acrostic Poem - On Root Canal

Recline while the numbing freeze reaches to the eye,
Ossifies the face's left side; read a bit
On melting ice caps, poor polar bears, while freeze sinks in.
Then 'tis time, just when you relax: nurse comes in.

Confine the tooth in screw device and rubber shield
Against the mouth; rubber wedge into the other side.
Now the unyielding tooth-grate, shooting rills, drilling filling
Astoundingly, your jack-hammered head; now tell us,
Lift your hand if you taste something really awful.

A Ballade

Victoria Smus, Chopin Recital. part 1 (2) from Eugene Nizker on Vimeo.

Heroic Act of Charity

From fish eaters:

An "Heroic Act of Charity" is the offering of the satisfactory value (not the merits) of all of our sufferings and works of our rest of our lives and of any time we may spend in Purgatory for the relief of the souls in Purgatory. We do this by first deciding to do so, and then praying (using our own words or the more formal prayer below) to offer these things to God through Mary's hands.

Doing this is not a matter of taking a vow; it doesn't bind under pain of sin, and it is revokable (unless one vows never to revoke the Act). But it is a tremendous sacrifice, hence the name. It is truly heroic, a giving up of one's own earned relief from the temporal effects of sin -- even relief of the sufferings of Purgatory -- for the good of others.

In addition to asking God to use their satisfactory works for the souls in Purgatory, those who make this Act also receive a plenary indulgence (under the usual conditions) for the souls in Purgatory each time they receive Communion, and each time they hear Mass on Mondays for the sake of the departed. Words to a formal Act of Heroic Charity are as follows:

O Holy and Adorable Trinity, desiring to aid in the relief and release of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, through my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I cede and renounce, on behalf of these souls, all the satisfactory part of my works, and all the suffrages which may be given to me after my death. In their entirety, I offer them to Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, that she may use them, according to her good pleasure, for those souls of the faithful departed whom she desires to alleviate their suffering. O my God, deign to accept and bless my offering which I make to Thee through the most august Queen of Heaven and Earth. Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Desert Fathers

XLIX. The abbot Moses came to the well to draw water, and he saw the brother Zachary praying, and the Spirit of God resting over him.

LXX. The abbot Poemen said with a groan, "All virtues are gone into my cell but one, and by it doth a man stand." And the brethren asked him what that great virtue might be. And the old man said, "That a man should ever be rebuking himself."

LXXXIII. An old man said, "See that thou despise not the brother that stands by thee: for thou knowest not whether the spirit of God be in thee or in him."

XCI. An old man said, "There is no stronger virtue than to scorn no man."

XCIV. An old man said, "The man that every hour hath death before his eyes, will conquer meanness of soul."

XCV. An old man said, "Be a free man in thy speech, not a slave."

Prayer for Deceased Veterans

O God, by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest, look kindly on your departed veterans who gave their lives in the service of their country. Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom and rejoice in you with your saints forever. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Desert Fathers

LXXIII. When the abbot Marcarius was in Egypt, he had gone out of his cell: and returning found someone stealing whatever he had in his cell. So he stood by as if himself had been a stranger, and helped load the animal with all stealth and led him out, saying, "We brought nothing into the world. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: and as He willed, so is it come to pass. Blessed be the Lord in all things."

Prayer for Mercy on the Souls in Purgatory

My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine agony in the Garden, in Thy scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in Thy crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken; do Thou deliver them from the dire torments they endure; call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in paradise. Amen.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christ Healing

Ball-Point and Mirror

Prayer of St. Gertrude

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Four Mazurkas

Victoria Smus, Chopin Recital. part 1 (1) from Eugene Nizker on Vimeo.


By Pavel Chichikov

Everything You touch becoming royal,
Pearl of frost enamels trampled leaves,
Someone has encrusted winter cinquefoil
Artisan, my innocence believes

Only this, by crossing through the green,
Craftsmanship that no one can deny,
And if a random handiwork be seen,
What may be the secret of the eye?

Answer goes to answer—man, look down,
There is no low or high but only this:
Everything with majesty is sown,
Everything returning to its bliss

Only this, look down and you will see,
Wake from heaviness and come with Me

By Pavel Chichikov

The creek has not yet frozen
But shaven winter vines
Naked since October
Tangle their designs

Arching wooden bridges
Slippery with snow
Jump between the edges
The running stream below

Freezing water crystals
Around a grain of sand,
Makes a river metal
A running river stand

I saw a bird of winter
Flutter on a perch,
Snow descending gathers
An ivory winter church

Everything that’s needed
Except a sacrifice,
And then will be completed
Solemnities of ice

The Poetry of Pavel Chichikov

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Desert Fathers

CLVII. There is by the Dead Sea a mountain called Mardes, exceeding high. In that mountain hermits dwell: but they have a garden at the foot of the mountain about six milestones distant from them round the margin of the sea and there they have a serving man. So if at any time they wish to send for vegetables, they saddle the donkey and say to him, "Go to the garden to the serving man, and bring us vegetables." And he goes off by himself to the gardener, and stands in front of the gate, and knocks upon it with his head. And straightway the gardener comes out and loads him with vegetables, and sends him away with his load. Daily you may see the donkey climbing up and coming down and ministering to the old men, but he will obey no man else.

Garden Sprawl Friday

Seeds and stringy pulp from around nine pumpkins.

I tried an outside method of cleaning and separating over a screen with the hose, but the holes in the screen were too big and the seeds kept falling through. So I did the washing inside in the sink.

Lesson: don't wait any number of days before separating pulp from pumpkin seeds. Do it as soon as the stuff is taken out of the pumpkins. The strings will cling too much to the seeds otherwise. I had to do numerous washings.

After washing I got some window screen and put the seeds on it to dry with a fan at medium speed and oscillating at enough of a distance to move the air around but not blast the seeds with air.

They should dry for up to three weeks. Even if they look and feel quite dry, one should leave them for the three weeks.

Of course not all of them are viable. Some are empty, which can be told by the flatness of the seed and the give when you press it between your fingers. Do not use the floating test for squash seeds (where you put the seeds in water to see which ones float and which ones sink; the sinkers being the viable seeds and the floaters being duds), as viable squash seeds can both sink and float. This may hold true for other seeds as well. The float test should be used only for those kinds of seeds which for a certainty only sink when viable.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Desert Fathers

CLXIII. The abbot Alexander, father of the monastery of Calamon beside the Jordan, used to tell this story. "One day I was with the abbot Paul Helladicus in his cave, and behold one came and knocked, and the old man went out and opened the door, and bringing forth bread and peas that had been steeped, set it before him and he ate. Now I thought it might be a pilgrim, and looking through the window, I saw it was a lion. So I said to the old man, 'Tell me, father, why dost thou give him to eat?' And he said to me, 'Because I admonished him to do hurt to none, neither man nor beast, and said to him, "Come every day and I will give thee thy food." And behold this is now the seventh month since he hath come twice in the day and I give him to eat.

"Again after a few days I went out to him to buy a wine jar from him, for that was the old man's trade, and I said to him, 'What ails thee, Father? how goes it with the lion?' And he said to me, 'Badly.' And I said, 'How?' And he said, 'The other day he came here that I might give him to eat, but I saw his chin stained with blood, and I said to him, "What is this? Thou hast been disobedient to me, and hast eaten flesh. Blessed be God, I shall give thee no more, a devourer of flesh eating the bread of the fathers: begone." But he was unwilling to go away. Then I took a rope, and trebled it, and gave him three blows with it, and he went away.'"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It breaks the heart

to see the desolation in the variety of Halloween candy. When I was a kid, not too long ago, you simply did not know what you were going to get, from house to house. Nibs, twizzlers, wagon wheels, tootsie rolls, toffees, assorted suckers, cracker jack boxes, candy corn, sweet tarts, little chocolate bars, and even little toys, like glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth, and various other obscure candy that I can't remember the names of. The open-air magic would set in upon visiting the houses of the neighbourhood and further, along the familiar streets now like new; houses that you were familiar with, but only from a distance; now going up their driveway and seeing their jack-o-lantern up close then the door opening and seeing the inside of their house, then the bestowal of Lord knows what kind of candy; and the candy having some sort of associative virtue as to what kind of person it was that gave it out: I found all this so exciting and so much damn fun that I would almost pee myself.

And now what is it? Everyone has bought their damn candy from Wal-Mart, and it's all the same - mostly little chocolate bars. This is seriously wrong. And when I go to plunder my nieces' or nephews' Halloween hoard - when visiting a sister's house - I want variety damn it, variety.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Desert Fathers

XXIV. A certain old man lived in the monastery at Cuziba, of whom the old men of the place told us that when he was in his own village it was his custom if he saw anyone in the village unable through poverty to sow his field, he would go by night, carrying seed with him, and sow the poor man's field, the owner knowing nothing of it. And when he came to the desert and lived in the monastery at Cuziba, he did the same works of compassion. For he would go along the road that leads from the Jordan to the Holy City, carrying bread and water. And if he saw someone growing weary, he would shoulder his load and climb as far as the Holy Mount of Olives, and return again with others by the same road, carrying their burdens as far as Jericho. You might have seen the old man sometimes carrying a huge bundle and sweating under his load: sometimes carrying a youngster on his shoulder; sometimes two. Sometimes he would be sitting patching the broken shoes of some man or woman: he used to carry with him whatever was needed for the task. He would give some a drink of the water he carried, to others he would give bread; and indeed if he should come on any naked, he would give him the cloak that he wore. It was sweet, to see the old man toiling day after day. And if he found one dead on the road, he would say over him the wonted psalms and prayers, and give him burial.