“Who had known that he was so well known?”

From The Book of the Dun Cow, the night before the animals’ battle against the great evil:

Chauntecleer began to crow compline, the seventh holy hour of the day. Cool, smooth, restrained, a silken lariat, the Rooster gave his animals, in the darkness, a point of recognition. He covered them with the familiar. He announced his presence. Then he drew them back from the edge. He blessed them right gently, crowing nothing of the battle for tomorrow—but naming every one of them their names. Names, one after the other, with a prayer for the peace of each one: That was compline on this particular night.

Soon the restless animals on every side began to settle down again. Their own names in the Rooster’s mouth had a transfiguring effect:

“Nimbus,” Chauntecleer crowed, “the Lord’s peace is with you.”

And Nimbus the Deer, whose flanks had begun to shiver, who was jerking his head, ready at a crack to leap and flee, Nimbus heard his own name in the mouth of his Lord, and he came to his senses again. Dark was suddenly not so dark anymore. He lay down encouraged—for who had known that he was so well known?

“Pika,” Chauntecleer crowed next, and behold! Nimbus was himself the more encouraged to hear the name; for Hare Pika, whom he could not see, was suddenly with him, a part of his company. Name followed name. Lonely was lost in communion: The company grew as if lights were turning on. And Nimbus the Deer went to sleep.

So it went. All the animals began to believe in sleep again, and the dark camp settled down.



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  1. […] The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wangerin, Jr. Excerpt here. […]

About Tom

ANCHOR COURSE LOGO Tom Goodman is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, and he holds a doctorate from New Orleans Seminary. He has served as pastor in Louisiana, north Texas, and overseas in Grand Cayman before becoming the pastor of Hillcrest Church in Austin, Texas. Diane and Tom have been married since their days at Baylor University, and they have two sons, Michael and Stephen. Tom enjoys scuba diving, watching the latest Netflix DVD with Diane, and chasing mis-hit golf balls.
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