St Thomas's eve

Tomorrow is the feast day of St Thomas. It is also the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. Brother Walter tells me it will be a day of strange magic, when fay folk and ghosts walk the forest paths and keep close to the hearths of the living.

The mummers sang outside the abbey gates today. The brethren gathered by the gateway to listen. Brother Walter was in the hen house when they started to sing and there were a few puzzled glances amongst the brethren when they caught the faint echo of the mummers' song. 'If I didn't know better,' Brother Simon-Peter said in bemusement, 'I would say the hens have joined with the mummers in welcoming Christmas to the abbey.' Fortunately for the hob, the bell for None rang out before anyone went to look inside the hen house. We left the mummers and Brother Walter to finish their song in peace.

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