A Sunday Funny: Paul Di Filippo’s Bickering Saints

A friend of mine alerted me to the existence of short story “Math Takes a Holiday” from Paul Di Filippo‘s Neutrino Drag which includes, among other cool things, an imagined cat fight between medieval Saints Hubert and Barbara–precisely the sort of hagiography I can get behind. Why they’re arguing is not important right now. Just read this snippet:

[Saint Hubert said,] “You are deliberately obscuring my point, Barbara. I am merely arguing for a proper chain of command and obedience–“
“Because you’re descended from the kings of Toulouse! And because you were once a bishop!”
“What of it? I’m proud to have been Bishop of Maestricht and Liege!”
“Certainly, certainly, a wonderful item on your cv. But you were once married as well, don’t forget!”
Saint Hubert coughed nervously. “The Church had different policies back in my time–“
Saint Barbara crossed her arms triumphantly her chest. “On the other hand, I am still a virgin. A virgin and a martyr!”
Stiffening his pride, Saint Hubert countered, “I was tutored by Saint Lambert himself!”
Barbara snorted. “I learned my precepts at Origen’s knee!”
“I was vouchsafed a vision–a cross appeared between the horns of the stag I hunted!”
“I experienced a miraculous transport from my tower prison to a mountaintop!”
“As Bishop, I converted almost the whole of Belgium!”
“I was one of Fourteen Holy Helpers! You probably prayed to me!”
“You–you insolent young pup!”
“Young pup? I was born four centuries before you!”
“Where’s your historicity, though? Not a single documented proof of your actual existence. Why, you’re positively mythical!”
“Mythical! You dirty old huntsman, I’ll show you what a sock from a mythical Saint feels like–“

Will Jesus intervene? Will St. Barbara get all fourth century on his ass, or will Hubert show her how they roll down in the Ardennes? I’m not going to tell you. You’ll just have to read the book and see for yourself. Just drop by your local library, where you can find these and many other amazing booksthat will take you away to a land of whimsy and wonder…*

Or buy the thing at Amazon. The author might not sic the copyright police on me for posting that quote. Hurry, though. As of this writing, there’s only one copy left!

*Butterfly in the skyyyyyyyyy, I can fly twice as hiiiiiiiiiiigh.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Seamyst

    Okay, you TOTALLY rock for the Reading Rainbow ref. (Took me a moment to recognize the quote, then I squee’d.)

  • beatrixherald

    Iiiiii Can go Anywhere! Take a look its In a book A reading Rainbow.

  • Neil_in_Chicago

    There’s also a whole raft of stories about bickering between the Sufi saints Rabi’a and Hasan of Basra:
    One day Hazrat Hasan Basri saw Hazrat Rabia near a lake. He threw his prayer rug on top of the water and said: “Rabia come! Let us pray two raka’ts here.”
    She replied: “Hasan, when you are showing off your spiritual goods in the worldly market, it should be things which your fellow men cannot display.” Then she threw her prayer rug into the air and flew up onto it by saying: “Come up here, Hasan, where people can see us.”
    Then she said: “Hasan, what you did fishes can do, and what I did flies can do. But the real business is outside these tricks. One must apply oneself to the real business.”

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