Dear Eminence:

As I’m sure you recall, you dispatched me to  far-flung  Ireland to prepare that island for the coming of the monastic orders.  In your wisdom, you foresee that mainland Europe is to be consumed by plague, warfare, and ignorance, and great texts will be lost, thousand-year-old ideas will be extinguished, and ancient learning will be forgotten.  

As you said, our hope lies in establishing an outpost in a remote location, likely to be ignored in the coming centuries,where scribes can continue to recopy the ancient texts and keep learning alive.

I believe I have almost completed the preparations for which you wished:  here in Ireland the Celtic tribes are coming to the Cross and the Roman alphabet has come into common use; and the only decision left to me is which of the two relics of an earlier Ireland to keep–snakes abound on the Island and are apt to disturb the most solitary of monks, and an alcoholic stout continues to be brewed in a few areas which a few islanders still consume.  

In that the stout is so rarely drunk and appears soon to fall completely out of favor among a population known for its quiet and reflective nature, I have decided that the stout can be left here on the isle, and I will soon set out to drive all the snakes into the sea so that years from now the inhabitants of this land and of Europe as well will wonder, when they read of Irish snakes and Irish Guinness, what those things were and why they existed at all.



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