House of God
We are up in Jutland, near the wild marsh. We can hear the North Sea, hear it tossing about, for it is quite close by. Before us there rises a great sand dune; we have been looking at it for a long while, and we've been, and still are, driving toward it, very slowly, through the deep sand. On the top of this sand dune is an old, rambling building, the Börglum Monastery, the largest wing of which is the church. We arrive there in the late evening, but the air is clear and the night is bright, so we can enjoy an expansive view over meadow and moor as far as the Aalborg Fiord, over field and heath, out over the dark-blue sea.
"I will master you yet, Bishop of Börglum! You are safe from the law, sheltered by the mantle of the Pope, but not safe from Jens Glob!" He writes to his brother-in-law, Sir Oluf Hase of Salling, bidding him meet him Christmas Eve at Mass in Hvidberg Church; the Bishop must leave Börglum and come to Thyland, to read the Mass there; this Jens Glob knows.(...)
The church is the courthouse; the altar is the counsel table. The candles in the heavy brass candlesticks are all burning.(...)
It is past midnight, Christmas Eve. The wind has died down; the church is lighted up, the light shining from the windows over meadow and heath. The service is ended, and the house of God is so still that the wax can be heard dripping from the candles to the stone floor. Now at last Oluf Hase arrives.(...)
The altar lights burn red, but redder is the stain that shines from the church door; there, lying in blood, is the Bishop, with a cloven skull, and lying dead around him are his men. It is quiet and calm on the holy eve of Christmas.
The third evening after Christmas, funeral bells in Börglum Convent. The murdered Bishop and his slain men lie in state beneath a black canopy, lighted by candelabras swathed in crape. The once mighty lord is a corpse, robed in a silver-bordered mantle, with the crosier in his powerless hand. Incense fills the air as the monks chant a funeral dirge;