Book of Knowings: The Roman Grave



She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother, and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. She allowed her eyes to grow softer and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions. They swerved and swirled before her until, finally she saw……


The sun no longer warmed the air and the priest and priestess often awakened cold and shivering. The priestess held her wee Boudicca close sharing warmth with her newborn. She wondered how they would survive the long winter to come.

The native people who had helped with the birth stayed. They gathered wood and hunted, adding to the stockpile the priest had already accumulated for the long winter; their help was appreciated.

In the evening they shared the warmth of a fire on the beach, but at night the priest and priestess entered their shelter under the coracle while the native people spread the embers of the fire in a long pit and buried it with dry sand. There they slept for the night, warm under a pile of furs and the next morning they would dig up the glowing coals to start a new fire. The priestly couple marveled at the ingenuity of it, but they knew it would not be enough when the snows fell. So they kept to their shelter finding ways to keep out the draft and keep each other warm.

One early morning just as the frost was melting off the land, the priestess called to her husband. “Look,” she said as she pointed to one of the native women writing with charcoal on birch bark. “Do you recognize it?”

“Yes,” the priest replied. “It is the script of the ancient Pharaohs. I learned it at the Serapeum as a young lad.”

“When you were sent to the lands of your Tuatha De ancestors? Tell me again.”

“Yes, it was the Storms of Thoth blew my ancestors to the land the cursed Romans call Scotia. It is the same storm, I think, that blew me to you and has now brought us to this new land, this new Scotia.”

“I love that story,” she replied.

The priest gave his wife a gentle kiss on the head and then took a step closer and looked over the woman’s shoulder. 

“What does it say?” his priestess asked.

“She speaks of us, how they found us, and of the birth a special girl-child. She writes it was omens brought them here.”

The priest picked up a stick then and made symbols of his own in the sand—Egyptian hieroglyphics the native woman understood. She drew more symbols then and called to her companions.  

“These people know the writing of the Pharaohs better than I do, I think,” the priest said as he puzzled over a few of her glyphs. “But this will do.” 

“Ask her about our people. Do they know of people who have come in ships?” 

The priest scratched out his question as best he could. “E’e,” the native man called Kal’boo replied. Then he drew the symbol for dangerous.

“Take me,” the priest wrote.

The two native men conferred, argued, but finally agreed. Kal’boo wrote the symbols for, “tomorrow, one day trip,” before he once again made the symbol for dangerous.

And so the next morning the two native men set off with the priest just as the sun was rising. They hiked across the island to the far shore before Ka’boo stopped and motioned to the priest and his companion. “Toqwe’gig,” he said and the priest knew he was to stay there.

Ka’boo took off, crouching as he went. He crested the hill and then crept forward on his belly. Minutes later he returned and motioned the priest forward.

When the priest crested the hill, he, too, knew this place to be dangerous. Not twenty feet in front of him, he saw a grave marker and on it was a Roman sword, a helmet, and a single coin to pay the fallen soldier’s passage across the River Styx. The ground was too rocky to draw out the glyph for enemy, but the priest’s companion seemed to understand. Ka’boo pointed to the bay below and with his gestures indicated that many ships sailed this way and that they must leave now, before they were discovered.

When the three men returned to camp, the snows had just begun to fall.

“You look upset, my husband. What has happened?”

“The Romans have been here. We found their grave. They travel up and down this island. We must leave this place and leave now. Before they find us.”

“But where will we go? We cannot leave with the snows beginning, not unless the people we seek are very close.” The priestess picked up a stick then and drew a picture in the sand. It was of a boat and of women standing as they had for millennia to greet the Great Mother.

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One of the women, the one called Amu, understood the picture. She smiled, nodded, pointed to the south and drew another glyph.  

“What does she write?” the priestess asked.

“It says that we would have to walk for a moon cycle and more to find this sign. And then who knows how much further to find our people.”

Amu spoke to Ka’boo and he stepped forward then, pointed to the west, and drew two suns in the sand. Then he pointed to the priest and priestess and motioned for them to follow him across the channel and into the forest beyond.

Amu took the priestess’s hand and smiled before drawing more glyphs in the sand.  

“She says that you are her Sister of the Sacred Flame,” the priest explained, “and we will be safe with them. She says when the spring comes they will take us south.”

That evening the priest and priestess packed what little they had in the coracle. The priest hefted it on his back like a pack. “I praise the gods that they taught us the art of making the coracle for it is truly a boat, a shelter, and a pack, all in one. I only wish we’d found a bigger one for the ocean voyage. But this one serves us well, I think.”

That night they slept under soft furs, the sand below warm from the glowing coals buried beneath them. And the next morning they took off with their new friends to winter in the Mi’Kmaq village. 



For evidence of Roman presence in the land of the Micmac and surrounding areas:


For theories about the Tuatha De Danann and an Irish-Egyptian connection:


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