A SHORT STORY
The Penitent Pigeon

June 2013By Andrew M. Seddon

Andrew M. Seddon, a native of England, writes both fiction and nonfiction, with over one hundred publication credits, including three novels: Red Planet Rising, Imperial Legions, and Iron Scepter. He contributed a chapter to Staying Fit After Forty by Don Otis, co-authored the devotional Walking With the Celtic Saints, and is a current member of the Authors’ Guild. Dr. Seddon is a family-practice physician in the Same-Day Care department at Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana. This story originally appeared as a chapter in his new book, Saints Alive! New Stories of Old Saints, Vol. 1: Saints of Empire (Bezalel Books; www.bezalelbooks.com; 248-917-3865), and is reprinted with permission.

Ss. Pelagia & Nonnus. Antioch, Late 400s

“Bishop Nonnus! Look what I found!”

Nonnus, thrown off his stride, broke off speaking in mid-sentence, and looked around. He was sitting on the portico of the basilica of St. Julian the Martyr along with several other bishops whom he had been addressing. The street was bustling — Antioch was always bustling — and at first he didn’t sight the source of the voice.

“Bishop Nonnus!”

Then he spotted a young boy of seven or eight break away from the crowd and run toward him, holding aloft a crudely made wicker basket. A flustered woman, unable to move as quickly as the boy, tried vainly to restrain the lad. “Damae! Come back! Don’t bother the father….”

But the boy was too far ahead of her, and heedless of his mother’s entreaties. He skidded to a halt in front of Nonnus. “Look, Bishop Nonnus!”

Nonnus was conscious of the disapproving looks the other bishops cast in the boy’s direction.

“I’m sorry, Bishop,” the boy’s mother said, panting and disheveled, as she drew up to the portico. She gripped her son by the collar of his tunic. “Don’t bother the bishop, Damae!” she scolded. “Can’t you see that he’s busy?”

Nonnus smiled tolerantly. “It’s all right. The boy’s excited. What do you have in the basket, lad?”


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