As Theodore the Alchemist went to Penelope’s market for food and supplies, he was stopped by some teenagers from Northwich.
“hey old man, what is that on your head?”
Theodore was startled.
“Why hello, young men. It is a turban.”
“You don’t look like us. My dad says not to trust your kind.”
Theodore looked surprised.
” what kind am I?”
” You know. You wear a silly towel on your head and you look different.”
” That is not respectful, young man.”
They laughed. “You are a rag head!”
Theodore resumed on his walk when one of the boys grabbed his turban, pulling it off his head.
Grabbing the boy by the arm, he retrieved his covering. Sternly, he looked at the youth.
“never touch my head. You are shameful and an embarrassment to your father.”
The others threw rocks and mocked Theodore.
He ignored them.
Arriving at his destination, Theodore was perusing the available produce and dried meat at Penelope’s when men with stout clubs approached.
A man cried out, “that’s the man that struck my child!”
Theodore was surrounded. “I struck no child!”
The accuser was surly. “My son says you hurt him, rag head filth. You and your witchcraft is bound to hurt someone. You already hit my son.”
As they moved to harass him or worse, Theodore drew his sword. “I have done no wrong, nor do I engage in witchcraft! I am a man of science!”
A deep voice boomed. It was Jeptha.
“LET HAT MAN GO! BROTHER SAYS HE STAYS.”
He turned to the accuser.
“YOUR SON LIES. I WAS THERE! THEY THREW STONES.”
“LEAVE HAT MAN ALONE.”
The surly man with the disrespectful son turned to Theodore. “you’re lucky the Beast is here.”
Emerson Berengar, who had heard the commotion had ran to Penelope’s to see what was going on.
It did not take long to read the situation. He was resolute.
“All are welcome in Northwich, men. It does not matter the color of your skin, the clothes you wear, or the food you eat as long as the rules are followed.”
Brother was one to encourage order and would lay hands on someone when necessary.
The man and his acquaintances slinked off.
Theodore was grateful. “Thank you, Brother and Beast!”
Beast responded softly, “Beast knows what it is like to have stones thrown. The words are worse. They are what really hurts.”
Theodore shrugged and examined a purple cabbage.
” This is perfect for testing PH!”
No one understood and no one asked.
Brother was curious, but said nothing.
With his supplies in tow, Theodore headed home.
In a small pot, he boiled the purple out of the cabbage and let much of the water steam off.
When it cooled, he dipped thick parchment in the purple liquid and let it dry.
Mixing ashes in water, he tried his PH paper. The purple turned a yellow green!
Theodore thought. “I bet they find this to be be witchcraft. I guess it appears so.
Brother believes in me. I will help him. Just a few more days and my work will be finished.”