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This is a fictionalized account of the origin of the poem used by the Western Church as the Sequence for Mass at Pentecost, frequently alluded to as ""the Golden Sequence"". The author attributes this important part of our Christian ritual to a strange individual named Walafrid, who lived in France at the time the cathedrals were a building, probably in the 13th Century. Walafrid was a non-conformist, a rugged individualist who ran away from home and from a convent, married a Scandinavian girl who was thought to be a witch and who killed herself, gained the reputation for black magic, and finally murdered a man because he had killed his pet bear. Walafrid consorted with abbots, bishops, duchesses and harlots, all of whom bore with his weird behavior because he had an uncanny gift of song. When finally that gift was dedicated to religious uses, Walafrid was deemed to have atoned for his sins. The author is endeavoring to establish the point that even as our beautiful cathedrals owe their erection to the contributations of common men many of whom must have been far from saintly, so much of our ritual has a similarly lowly origin. It is an interesting story, because the reader is always trying to discover what sort of a person this Walafrid is, and why anyone would want to write a book about him. There is neither Catholic nor Protestant ""slant"" to the book.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1949
Publisher: Westminster Press