The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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We owe the news below to the kindness of one of our subscribers, taken from the chronicles of Froissard, demonstrating that the spirits are not a modern discovery. We ask our readers to allow us to report it in the style of those days (XIV century). It would lose originality if transcribed into our modern language.

The battle of Juberoth is a famous one among the chronicles of the old days. It happened during the war between John, king of Castela, and Diniz, king of Portugal, in the fight to conquer the latter’s kingdom. The Castelans and the Bearneses were broken into pieces. The fact reported by Froissard on that occasion is most interesting. One reads in the Chap. XVI, Book III of his chronicles, that on the very next day after the battle, Count Foix was informed about the event, a fact that was inconceivable those days, given the distances between the places. It is Count Foix’s squire that tells Froissard the fact in question:

“During the whole Sunday, and the whole Monday and Tuesday, Count Foix, in his Ortais castle, showed such a tough, hard expression on his face that nobody heard a word from him; during those three days he would not leave his quarters either, or even speak to his knight or his squire, however close they might be. Even those who did speak to him, he sent them away, not addressing them with even a single word in those three days. Tuesday evening he called his brother, Arnold-William, and told him in a low voice:
• Our people had a battle that made me mad because they were attacked on their journey, like I told them when they left.

Arnold-William, a very sensible man and shrewd knight, who knew his brother’s ways and condition, remained silent, and the Count who wanted to try his courage for he had put up with his boredom for a long time, spoke again and said in a louder voice than the first time:
• For God’s sake, Sir Arnold, that is how I tell you, and we shall soon have news, but the country of Béarn has never lost so much, since a hundred years up to now, as it has lost this time in Portugal.

The many knights and squires who were present and who saw and heard the Count, dared not to speak.

Then, ten days later, the truth was known through those who had been there at work and who were told first and then to everyone who wanted to listen, all things, in the shape and form as they had happened in Juberoth. That reinforced the Count’s and the country’s sorrow, for those who had already lost their brothers, fathers, sons and friends.
• Holy Mary! I said to the squire who told me that story, and how come Count Foix knew all that on the very next day, without presumption?
• By his faith, he said, he can feel things well, as he demonstrated.
• Then he is a fortuneteller, I said; or he has squires who ride the winds or he must have some sort of art.

The squire laughed and said:

• He needs to know it through some sort of necromancy. We know nothing in this land how he uses it, but through his imagination (by supposition).

• Then, I told the squire, the imagination that you mentioned, kindly let me know about it and I will be grateful to you. If it is something to go quiet about then I will shut up and nobody under any circumstance will ever hear that from me.
• I beg you, the squire said, since I would not want others to know that I told you.

• He then took me to a corner of the Ortais castle and started his report, by saying:

• Some twenty years back a Baron by the name Raymond reined over this country as the Lord of Corasse. Corasse, which is a town seven leagues away from this city of Ortais, as you know. The Lord of Corasse, in the days I refer to, had a lawsuit in Avignon, before the Pope, about the church’s tithe in his city, against a priest from Catalonia who was really wealthy and claimed to have rights over those tithes from Corasse, well worth an annual income of a hundred florins and the so called rights he proved and demonstrated. By a definite sentence, Pope Urban V condemned the baron in general council, passing judgment in favor of the priest. With the latest sentence of the Pope, the baron rode his horse for many days until he got to Bearn to show his seal and letters to take possession to his right to the tithe.

The Lord of Corasse came forward and told the vicar: Master Peter or Master Martin, such was his name, do you think that I must lose my inheritance because of your letters? I don’t see you so smart to take it or to take things which are mine because if you do so you risk your life. Go somewhere else to claim benefits because you shall have nothing from my inheritance. I forbid you once and for all. The priest suspected the baron who was cruel and no longer dared to persevere. Thus, he decided to return to Avignon as he did. However, when he was preparing to leave he came to the presence of the Lord of Corasse and said: Through your power and not rights, you subtract me from my church’s dues and knowingly you are making a huge mistake. I am not as strong in this country as you are but know this, before I go, I shall send you a measure that you shall fear more than me. The Lord of Corasse gave no importance to the threats and said: Go to God, go, do as you will; I have no fear, dead or alive; as from your words I shall not lose my inheritance. The priest then left and returned, God knows where to, Catalonia or Avignon, and did not forget what he had said to the Lord of Corasse when he was about to leave, because when the baron least expected, asleep in his bed with his wife in his castle, about three months later, invisible messengers came and started to scramble everything in their path and seemed that they would destroy everything hitting very hard and making so much noise in the Lord’s bedroom that his lady who was present was terrified. The baron heard all that very well but said nothing because he did not want to give away the courage of a scared man; thus, he was smart enough to face all events. The violent noise and turmoil in several parts of the castle lasted a long time, and then stopped. In the morning everybody came to the master when he woke up and asked: Sir, have you heard what we heard last night? The Lord of Corasse was touched by that but said no. What have you heard, he asked. Then they mentioned the violent turmoil in the castle that turned down and broke the china in the kitchen. He laughed and said that they were dreaming and what happened was caused by the wind. For God’s sake, the lady said, I also heard that very well. Then night came again and the violent turmoil was back and the noise was such and the knocks so hard on the walls and windows of the bedroom that it seemed that everything was about to be brought to the ground. The baron left his bed and could not find what he wanted. He then asked: Who is knocking like that on my bedroom’s door? He then got the answer: It is me. Who sent you, asked the night? It was the vicar of Catalonia, to whom you caused great harm because you subtracted him from his rights to your benefits. I shall not leave you in peace until you pay his dues and he is satisfied. The baron then asked: what is your name, since you are such a good messenger. My name is Orthon. The baron replied, Orthon, the service of a vicar does no good to you. He shall make you suffer. If you can believe me I beg you to leave me alone and do me service and I will be very grateful to you. Orthon responded promptly, approaching the baron and saying: Would you like that? Yes, replied the baron, but do no harm to anyone. Nobody, said Orthon, my only power is to wake you up and keep the others awake. Do as I say, said the baron, and we shall come to an agreement, and forget that naughty vicar, who bears no good, but pity on you; thus, be at my service. Since it is your wishes, said Orthon, it is also my wishes.

Then that Orthon was so much connected to the Lord of Corasse that he came to see him often at night; and in his sleep his pillow was pulled or knocks were heard on the walls and windows of his room that kept him awake. The baron would tell him: Orthon, allow me to sleep. I shall not do that before giving you the news. The baron’s lady was so afraid that her hair was bristled and she hid under the blankets. Then the baron asked, what is the news? I came from England, Hungary or another country said Orthon. I left yesterday and these things happened.

The Lord of Corasse then knew what was going on around the world through Orthon; and he kept that messenger for five years; and he could not go quiet and he would say to Count Foix in a manner, by the way I am going to tell you. In the first year the Lord of Corasse came several times to the Count in Ortais and he would say: Sir, such a thing happened in England, or in Germany or in another country; and the Count would be impressed after having verified that it was all true, and how he could have known such things. And the Count insisted so much that one day the Lord of Corasse told him how and through whom he would receive the news. Once the Count learned the truth he was happy and said: Lord of Corasse, do your best to please him; I wish I had such a messenger. That costs you nothing and by such a means you really do know what goes around the world.

The baron responded: Yes, Sir, I will do that.

That is how Orton served the Lord of Corasse for a long time. I don’t know if that Orthon had more than one Lord but every week he would come to visit the Lord of Corasse two or three times, and would tell him of the events he had learned about other countries that he had been visiting, and the Lord of Corasse would report them to Count Foix, who was immensely pleased.

One time the Lord of Corasse and the Count exchanged ideas about this when the Count asked:
• Lord of Corasse, haven’t you ever seen your messenger?
• By my faith, not even once. • It is wonderful, said the Count; if he were so close to me as he is to you I would have asked him to appear to me; and I ask you to take on that task and let me know of his looks and ways. You said that he speaks Gascon as well as you and I do.
• By my faith, said the Lord of Corasse, it is true. He speaks as well and nice as we both do. And by my faith I will try to see him, since this is your advice.

It then happened that the Lord of Corasse, as other nights, was in bed with his wife, who was used to hearing Orthon and was no longer scared. Then Orthon arrived and pulled the Lord of Corasse’s pillow, while he was profoundly asleep. The Lord of Corasse woke up and asked:
• Who is that?
• It is I, answered Orthon.
• Where did you come from?
• I come from Prague, in the Bohemia.
• It is a long time since I have heard from you. How are you?
• Sixty days, replied Orthon.
• And you came back so soon?
• Yes, by God; I move as fast as the wind, or faster.
• You then have wings?
• No, he said. • Then, how can you fly so fast?
• Never mind, responded Orthon.
• I would be more pleased if I could see you.
• It is enough that I bring you certain news when you hear me.
• For God’s sake, said the Lord of Corasse, I would like you better if I could see you.
• Since you wish to see me that will be the first thing you will see tomorrow morning, as soon as you are out of bed.
• That is enough, said the Lord of Corasse. Off you go now, you are dismissed tonight.
• When the morning broke the Lord of Corasse got up. The lady was so scared that she fell sick and said that she would not get up but the Lord insisted that she should.
• My Lord, she said, I would see Orthon and I don’t want to see him, God willing.
• I want to see him, said the Lord. He then left his bed gracefully but saw nothing that would make him say: I saw Orthon. The day passed and the night came. When the Lord of Corasse was in bed again Orthon came and started speaking again, as usual.
• Leave, said the Lord of Corasse, since you are a liar; you should have shown yourself to me and you did not do it.
• Yes I did. • No you didn’t.
• Haven’t you seen anything when you left your bed, asked Orthon?
• The Lord of Corasse stopped and gave some thought to that and remembered.
• Yes, he said, when I got up I saw two pieces of straw moving around on the floor.
• It was I, said Orthon; it was the form I took.
• That is not good enough to me; I wish you can take another form so that I can see and recognize you.
• You ask so much that I shall leave and you shall loose me because you ask too much.
• You will not leave me; if I had seen you once I would not ask to see you again.
• Well then, you shall see me tomorrow and be aware of the first thing that you see after leaving your room.

The next day came and at the third hour the Lord of Corasse got up, got dressed and as soon as he left the bedroom he went to a place from which he could see the castle’s patio; he looked around and the first thing he saw was a gilt, the largest female pig he had ever seen; however, it seemed so skinny that it was only skin and bones; it had long, fallen, stained ears and a long, sharp and pointed nose. The Lord of Corasse was spellbound by that pig. As he did not have a good impression, he immediately called for his servants:
• Hurry, let the dogs out; I want to see that gilt killed and devoured.

The servants rushed to release the dogs and send them onto the gilt that screamed gazing at the Lord of Corasse, who was leaning over the balcony but could no longer see her since she disappeared; nobody knew what had become of her. The Lord of Corasse returned to his room, thinking of Orthon. I supposed I have just seen Orthon, my messenger. I regret to have let the dogs out onto him. It will be a pity if I no longer see him for he told me several times that I would lose him as soon as I recognized him. He told the truth. He never returned to the castle since the incident and the baron died the following year.
• Is it true, I asked the squire, that Count Foix had been served by such a messenger?
• Truth be said, the opinion of several people from Béarn is that it is so because nothing happens in the region and beyond, if it is not his wishes or endeavor unless he is not aware or had not taken care. Thus, it was with good knights and squires of this country that he was in Portugal. His grace and celebrity were of his great advantage for he did not lose the value of a golden or silver spoon at home or anything else without taking notice.”

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