The Fault Of The Almanac

By Poncelet.

_Of a cure who forgot, either by negligence or ignorance, to inform his

parishioners that Lent had come until Palm Sunday arrived, as you

will hear--and of the manner in which he excused himself to his


In a certain little hamlet or village in this country, far from any good

town, there happened an incident, which is worth hearing, my good sirs.

This village or hamlet was inhabited by a handful of rough and simple

peasants, who knew nothing except how to gain their livelihood. Rough

and ignorant as they were, their cure was not less so, for he did not

know things of common knowledge, as I will show you by relating an

incident that happened to him.

You must know that this cure was so simple and ignorant that he could

not announce the feasts of the saints, which come every year on a fixed

day, as every one knows; and when his parishioners asked when such and

such a feast would fall, he could not, right off, answer them correctly.

Amongst other such mistakes, which often occurred, he made one which

was by no means slight, for he allowed the five weeks of Lent to slip by

without informing his parishioners.

But hear how he discovered his error. On the Saturday which was the eve

before Palm Sunday, he had need to go to the nearest town for something

that he required. When he had entered the town, and was riding along

the streets, he saw that the priests were purchasing palms and other

greenstuff, which were being sold at the market for the procession the

next day.

If anyone was astonished it was our good cure, though he pretended not

to be. He went to the woman who sold the palms and boughs, and bought

some--pretending that he had come to town specially for that purpose.

Then he hastily mounted his horse, which was loaded with his purchases,

galloped to the village, and arrived there as quickly as possible.

As soon as he had dismounted, he met several of his parishioners, whom

he commanded to go and ring the bells for every one to come to church

at once, for he had certain things necessary for the salvation of their

souls to tell them.

A meeting was soon called, and all were assembled in the church, where

the cure, booted and spurred, came, much flustered, God knows. He

mounted into the pupil, and said the following words,

"Good sirs, I have to signify and inform you that to-day was the eve of

the solemn feast of Palm Sunday, and this day next week will be the eve

of Easter Sunday, the day of Our Lord's Resurrection."

When these good people heard this news they began to murmur, and were so

astonished they did not know what to do.

"Silence!" said the cure, "I will soon satisfy you, and will tell

you the true reasons why you have only eight days of Lent in which to

perform your penitences this year, and marvel not at what I am about

to tell you, as to why Lent came so late. I suppose there is not one

amongst you who does not know and remember that the frosts were very

long and sharp this year--much worse than ever they were--and that for

many weeks it was dangerous to ride, on account of the frost and the

snow, which lasted a long time."

"Every one here knows that is as true as the Gospel, therefore be not

astonished that Lent has been so long coming, but rather wonder that it

was able to come at all, seeing how long the road is from here to his

house. I would ask, and even beg of you, to excuse him, for I dined with

him to day" (and he named the place--that is to say the town to which he

had been).

"However," he added, "manage to come and confess this week, and appear

to morrow in the procession, as is customary. And have patience this

time; the coming year will be milder, please God, and then Lent will

come quicker, as it usually does."

Thus did the cure find means to excuse his simple ignorance. Then he

pronounced the benediction saying,

"Pray to God for me, and I will pray to God for you."

After that he came down out of the pulpit, and went to his house to

prepare the boughs and palms which were to be used in the procession the

next day.

And that is all.