AGAIN OF APPARITIONS

In the year of Our Lord 1040, a rich young nobleman who went by the name of Hamo With the Teeth, on account of their inordinate size, was walking in the shade of a wood near the shore of Normandy, it being a hot day. He heard the sound of weeping and, exploring the source of the sound, espied a beautiful young woman, dressed in royal silk, but in great distress. Looking secretly at her, the young man grew hot with lust, increased by the fact that she seemed to be unguarded. He looked about to see if it was a trap but, seeing none but another woman whom he took to be her maid, he came out of hiding and knelt down before her. “You, sweetest and brightest ornament of this or any other world, what can I do to be of service?” She answered, in a sweet and innocent voice. “Kind flower of youth, desirable light of men, it is no voluntary foresight that brought me here but chance. A ship, driven by a storm, delivered me to these shores. I was to be married to the king of France but, when the winds improved, the ship sailed off without me. When they discover me missing no doubt they will return but, in the meantime, I seek your protection.” Hamo took her home and the days drifted into weeks and still no rescue came and Hamo’s love increased. Eventually he could withstand it no longer and pressed his longing on her. So they were married and had many children. It was noted that, although this woman went assiduously to church, she shunned holy water and the consecrated host. Hamo’s mother was particularly quick to note these things. She, as any woman will with her daughter in law, feared the worse. She kept close watch and, eventually spying on her when she took a bath, saw her, as soon as she entered the water, turn into a dragon. Then, as the creature rose from the water and her maid wrapped it in a silk cloak, it turned back into the shape of a woman. The mother instantly rushed to Hamo and told him what he had seen. He refused to do anything about it so she went to the priest. He took the blessed water from the church and, coming upon Hamo’s wife unannounced in the great hall, sprinkled her with the water. The woman gave a loud shriek and, transforming into her true shape, shot up through the roof and was never seen again. But this did not prevent the numerous progeny marrying well. One daughter married the illustrious lord Roger fitz-Hamon and her great-great granddaughter, Isabel, became the first wife of King John, which might explain a lot of the tempestuousness of that family.

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