Chapter 10 I Can Hear… English?

“I’m hearing her in English in my head.”

She’s speaking and I understand it! It’s in English. I slide the switch off and I listen again. It’s in Portuguese. Não precebo[1].

“Hey Dad, wait a minute, it’s not in English. It’s just I understand.”

“Exposing the Bishop of Braga was not smart,” I say she says.

Dad says, “That’s true. The Bishop excommunicated Afonso, and then, Pope Honorius III confirmed the excommunication in a Bull[2].”

Queen Urraca says, “The clerics buried you without rights and you will go to hell.”

Afonso II is standing straight up with his hand over his heart.

He says, “I made the common people’s lives better by not involving Portugal in senseless wars, and ensuring consistent laws across the country. I ensured the rich, including the church, pay their fair share of taxes. I know I have died but I deserve an afterlife of eternal bliss.”

She looks astounded with her hand over her mouth and says, “Because of your arguments with your sisters over money, your army destroyed towns and killed the poor town folks.”

He says, “My father changed his will days before he died and left so large a bequeathal to my siblings and the church that there was a revenue deficit. I had insufficient money to survive. Not enough to keep your long blond hair wonderful that you so vainly adore. My sisters, in particular, didn’t need the money they were married to the rich kings of Leon and Castile.”

“She is circling around on her coffin, stomping her feet and speaking louder than before,” I tell Dad.

She says, “My father asked my grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, to take me and my sister, Blanca, to France to meet the prince who was heir to the throne. I must have made my grandmother upset because she chose my sister to introduce to the Prince! I could have been the Queen of France but instead I’m your Queen. You aren’t a great leader; you couldn’t even ride a horse and you resemble a toad. You let the Templars and the peasants do your fighting.”

She turns to him.

“Are you picking at your scabs? Even here it just makes them worse.”

“I’m not picking at them. Stop picking at me,” he says as he lowers his voice.

“You’re a king, you should behave like one. My father always behaved like a king.”

“I won’t behave like a king if it means I would murder someone.”

“My father did not murder Thomas Becket if that is what you are saying.”

“Somebody did.”

“Not my father.”

“Would you kill someone if you had to?”

“Depends on the person,” she says wistfully.

“I might kill you if I could” he says under his breath

“I heard that. You couldn’t. I’m stronger, smarter and faster than you.”

“There are ways.”

“My mother is strong, smart and fast. My grandmother is Eleonor of Aquitaine a smarter and stronger leader than you by far.”

“I have leprosy. Cut me some slack.”

“You’re so greedy and self centred even though you have leprosy you wouldn’t fund the leper houses. I funded them entirely myself.”

“I can’t win against her,” he says to me and slips into his stand up coffin. I’m surprised to be spoken to.

She turns to me and says, “If the French could pronounce my name I would have been the Regent Queen of France. I was smarter and more beautiful than my sister, Blanca. I would have been more entertaining too. I learned how to play music from the troubadours in my father’s court. I dressed like them when I played the lute. I even played the lute for the Moroccan martyrs when they were living in Coimbra.”

Then she floats over to her coffin and slips in.

“Stop!” I yell out as if I will miss something.

Wow, what an amazing woman. My heart is racing from experiencing her. Urraca in English means Magpie, one of the most intelligent birds. They know how to use tools. Fitting.

“He’s speaking again,” I call over to Dad.

“He says, here I don’t hurt from my disease but I have a sore head.” I repeat to Dad. He looks at me puzzled.

“He’s climbing back into his closet shaped coffin,” I said.

“Wow, is that neat.” Dad says.

“There’s another sarcophagus in here. The inscription says it’s of Rainha[3] Beatrix and smaller coffins are around her,” I say.

“They must be of her children that didn’t live to be adults,” Dad says.

“That sarcophagus on the left of the effigy of St. Bernard, in the back, is Afonso III,” I say.

“That’s a plain coffin for a king,” Dad says.

“The church moved his remains ten years after he died,” I read out what it says on the plaque.

“Someone is there. It’s a hand. There is his head and the rest of him is coming. He has no legs. I guess he lost them when they moved him,” I say.

“Now people are looking at us. Talk louder and they’ll go away,” says Dad.

I talk to the tomb in a loud voice.

“Bless you Afonso III, son of Afonso II, grandson of Sancho I, and great-grandson of Afonso I,” I say. It’s working. People shuffle away.

“Is Afonso II moving?” Dad asks.

“Nope. He went back into his coffin,” I say.

“Let’s walk over toward to Afonso III’s Queen,” Dad suggests.

DSC_0219 (2)
The tomb of Queen Biatrix, wife of Afonso III and their daughter Princess Sanchia above

Above the coffin of Queen Biatrix, I see a person. She has a long gown on and jewels woven into her hair. They are shimmering blue and yellow. She reminds me of a Christmas tree.

Queen Biatrix is speaking to her daughter next to her. She’s saying to her, “Guess what day today is?”

The Queen says, “It’s the seventeenth of June. You know what that means?”

Princess Sanchia answers, “It’s when my favourite great aunts visit!”

The Queen says, “I haven’t seen him. He’ll be in a foul mood.”


[1] Não  precebo – I don’t understand.

[2] Bull – Public decree issued by the Pope. Named after the lead seal (bulla) to authenticate it.

[3] Rainha – Queen

Read Chapter 11 Foul Mood