Forest Man

Lars Larsen's blog

Axel Munthe är fri från copyright! Ett underbart stycke ur hans roman "Boken om San Michele"

Publicerad 2019-07-11 17:30:00 i Animal rights, Axel Munthe, Fiction, The animals,

11.2. i år blev läkaren Axel Munthe, en av de internationellt 
mest kända svenska romanförfattarna genom tiderna, fri från 
copyright. Tyvärr är inte Axel Munthe nämnd i våra viktigaste
litteraturhistoriska översikter, heller inte i litterära lexikon, 
men han är ändå en stor författare. Ett exempel på detta är 
slutet av boken "Boken om San Michele", något av det vackraste
jag läst i en roman, som gör Munthe till en föregångare för
djurrättskampen. Här kommer sista delen av den vackra avslut-
ningen, på engelska (man kan läsa boken i sin helhet på Internet
Archive, här):: 




"I lifted my head and I saw myriads of martyrs and saints in their white robes, hermits, anchor- ites and stylites, their wild features scorched by the Nubian sun, naked cenobites with their emaciated bodies covered by a fell of hair, stern- eyed prophets, their long beards spread over their chests, holy apostles with palm branches in their hands, patriarchs and Fathers of all lands and all creeds, a few popes in their ghttering tiaras and a couple of cardinals in their red robes. Seated in a semicircle in front of me sat my judges, stern and impassible. “ It looks bad,” said St. Peter handing them my credentials, “ very bad ! ” St. Ignatius, the Grand Inquisitor, rose from his seat and spoke : “ His life is sullied with heincas sins, his soul is dark, his heart is impure. As a Christian and as a saint I ask for his damnation, may the devils torment his body and soul through all eternity.” A murmur of assent echoed through the Hall. I lifted my head and looked at my judges. They all looked back at me in stern silence. I bent my head and said nothing, I remembered the warning of the old Archangel to be silent, and besides I did not know what to say. Suddenly I noticed far away in the background a small saint nodding frantically at me. Presently I saw him timidly making his way among the bigger saints to where I stood near the door. “ I know you well,” said the little saint with a friendly glance in his gentle eyes, “ I saw you coming,” and putting his finger to his lips, he added in a whisper, “ I also saw your faithful friend trotting at your heels.” “ Who are you, kind father? ” I whispered back. “ I am St. Rocco, the patron saint of the dogs,” announced the little saint, “ I wish I could help you but I am rather a small saint here, they won’t listen to what I say,” he whispered with a furtive glance towards the prophets and the holy fathers. “ He was an unbeliever,” St. Ignatius went on. “ A blasphemous scoffer, a bar, an impostor, an enchanter full of black magic, a fornicator . . .” Several of the old prophets cocked their ears attentively. “ He was young and ardent,” pleaded St. Paul, “ it is better to . . .” “ Old age did not improve him,” muttered a hermit. “ He was fond of children,” said St. John. “ He was fond of their mothers too,” growled a Patriarch in his beard. “He was a hard-working doctor,” said St. Luke, the Beloved Physician. “ Heaven is full of his patients and so is Hell, I am told,” retorted St. Dominic. “ He has had the audacity to bring his dog with him, he is sitting waiting for his master out- side the Gates of Heaven,” announced St. Peter. “ He will not have to wait for his master for long,” hissed St. Ignatius. “ A dog at the gates of Heaven! ” ejaculated a grim-looking old prophet in a furious voice. “ I’VTio is that? ” I whispered to the patron saint of the dogs. “ For God’s sake don’t say anything, remember the warning of the Archangel. I believe it is Habakkuk.” “ If Habakkuk is amongst my judges I am lost in any case, ‘ il est capable de tout,’ said Vol- taire.” “ A dog at the gates of Heaven,” roared Habak- kuk, “ a dog, an unclean beast! ” It was too much for me. “ He is not an unclean beast,” I shouted back glaring angrily at Habakkuk, “ he was created by the same God who created you and. me. If there is a Heaven for us, there must also be a Heaven for the animals, though you grim old prophets, so fierce and stalwart in your holiness, have for- gotten all about them. So for the matter of that did you. Holy Apostles,” I went on losing my head more and more. “ Or why did you omit in your Holy scriptures to record a single saying of our Lord in defence of our dumb brethren? ” “ The Holy Church to which I belonged on earth has never taken any interest in the animals,” interrupted St. Anastasius, “ nor do we wish to hear anything about them in Heaven. Blas- phemous fool, you had better think of your own soul instead of theirs, your own wicked soul about to return to the darkness from whence it came.” “ My soul came from Heaven and not from the Hell you have let loose on earth. I do not believe in your Hell.” “You soon will believe in it,” wheezed the Grand Inquisitor, his eyeballs reflecting invisible flames. “ The wrath of God is upon him, he is mad, he is mad! ” called out a voice. A cry of terror rang through the Hall of Judg- ment: “Lucifer! Lucifer! Satan is amongst us!” Moses rose from his seat, gigantic and fierce, his Ten Commandments in his sinewy hands and flashes of lightning in his eyes. “ How angry he looks,” I whispered awestruck to the patron saint of the dogs. “ He is always angry,” the little saint whis- pered back in terror. “ Let no more be said about this spirit,” thundered Moses. “ The voice I have heard is a voice from the smoking lips of Satan. Man or demon, away from here! Jehovah, God of Israel, put forth Thy hand to smite him dowm! Burn his flesh and dry up the blood in his veins! Break all his bones! Cut him off from Heaven and earth and send him back to the Hell from whence he came ! ” “To Hell! To Hell!” echoed through the Hall of Judgment. I tried to speak hut no sound came from my hps. My heart froze, I felt abandoned by God and man. “ I will look after the dog if it comes to the worst,” whispered the little saint at my side. Suddenly through the awful silence I thought I heard the twitter of birds. A little garden warbler alighted fearlessly on my shoulder and sang in my ear: “ You saved the life of my grandmother, my aunt and my three brothers and sisters from tor- ture and death by the hand of man on that rocky island. Welcome! Welcome!” At the same moment a skylark picked at my finger and twittered to me : “ I met a flycatcher in Lapland who told me that when you were a boy you mended the wing of one of his ancestors and warmed his frozen body near your heart, and as you opened your hand to set him free you kissed him and said: ‘Godspeed little brother! Godspeed little brother!’ Welcome! Welcome!” “ Help me little brother! Help me little brother! ” “ I will try, I will try,” sang the skylark as he unfolded his wings and flew away with a trill of joy, “ I will trrrrrry! ” My eyes followed the skylark as he flew away towards the line of blue hills I could just see through the Gothic archway. How well I knew those hills from the paintings of Fra Angelico! The same silver grey olive trees, the same sombre cypresses standing out against the soft evening sky. I heard the bells of Assisi ringing the Angelus and there he came, the pale Umbrian saint, slowly descending the winding hill path with brother Leo and brother Leonardo at his side. Swift-winged birds fluttered and sang round his head, others fed from his outstretched hands, others nestled fearlessly among the folds of his cassock. St. Francis stood still by my side and looked at my judges with his wonderful eyes, those eyes that neither God nor man nor beast could meet with anger in theirs. Moses sank down in his seat letting fall his Ten Commandments. “ Always he,” he murmured bitterly. “ Al- ways he, the frail dreamer with his flock of birds and his following of beggars and outcasts. So frail and yet strong enough to stay Thy aveng- ing hand, O Lord! Art Thou then not Jehovah, the jealous God, who descended in fire and smoke on Mount Sinai and made the people of Israel tremble with awe? Was it not Thy anger that bade me stretch forth my avenging rod to smite every herb in the field and break every tree that all men and beasts should die? Was it not Thy voice that spake in my Ten Commandments? Who will fear the flash of Thy lightning, O Lord ! if the thunder of Thy wrath can be silenced by the twitter of a bird? ” My head sank on St. Francis’ shoulder. I was dead, and I did not know it. "

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Lars Larsen

Born 1984 in Finland, Norwegian, lives in Österbybruk, Sweden, poet, ecotheologian and ecophilosopher (though not an academic such), is also called "The monk" ("munken", he is monk in a self-founded monastery order, "Den Heliga Naturens Orden", "The Order of the Holy Nature"), he calls himself "Forest Man Snailson" (Skogsmannen Snigelson) because of certain strong ties to Nature and the animals, founded among other things through many years of homelessness living in tent, cot, cave and several huts in the Flaten Nature Reserve and the Nacka Reserve outside of Stockholm. He debuted as a poet in 2007 with "Över floden mig" ("Across the river of me"), published by himself, he has also published an ecotheological work, "Djurisk teologi. Paradisets återkomst" (Animalistic theology. The return of paradise") on Titel förlag 2010. He has published the poem collection "Naturens återkomst" (The return of Nature) on Fri Press förlag 2018 together with Titti Spaltro, his ex-girlfriend. Lars' professions are two, cleaner and painter (buildings). Before he was homeless, but right now he lives in Österby boende, a group home for mental patients 45 km northeast of Uppsala. His adress is: Harviksvägen 6A, 74830 Österbybruk, Sverige. One can reach him in the comments section on this blog. His texts on this blog are without copyright, belonging to "Public Domain".

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