In which their journey is
related to Jack Grosseteste
and a new task is set before
the Man from Normandy
Hong Kong was a sprawling
metropolis where vertical space dominated the little land available on
which to build. Cars sped by with inches to spare on one-way streets that stood
as a testament to man's civil engineering ability. In cities like Taipei and
Bangkok, traffic was a battle where the fastest scooter won and where traffic
law took a backseat, but Hong Kong prevailed in the Far East like a beacon of
what to do to overcome traffic woes. Where else could you fly through the very
heart of downtown in a big city at 80km/h? That's where D'Aqs found himself on
the night of his visit to his father's: on the back on Hellmantle's Yamaha
FZR400 motorcycle whipping down the streets of Hong Kong. Despite being in a
metropolis with the highest density in the world, Hellmantle still rode by his
own rules. And D'Aqs could tell he loved it.
After sleeping over on Lamma
Island for the night, the Australian staying over after they had a nightcap on
the balcony, D'Aqs was pillion on Hellmantle's racing bike as he cruised to the
Victoria Harbour Tunnel where they crossed under the harbour to Kowloon.
Hellmantle dodged cars and chose a route that took them through the thick
underbelly of Tsim Sha Tsui, where he purposely took the overpass right
through the middle of an office building between floors. To D'Aqs'
astonishment, they rode through the parking level on the seventh floor.
It was a labyrinth of roads that zigzagged through buildings and around
sky-high apartments on their way north to Kowloon Tong.
After all the beautiful
colonial buildings D'Aqs had seen in Burma, it saddened him that Hong Kong
hardly had any colonial buildings left, especially in comparison to Manila and
Hanoi. D'Aqs felt the familiar pang of regret and anger when he witnessed the
abuse of old architectural gems through disuse and lack of maintenance. In Hong
Kong since the handover a familiar equation emerged: colonial buildings were
left to fall into disrepair by the Chinese government in Beijing so then it
became more cost efficient to tear them down. In Hong Kong many of the old
colonial buildings were on prime real estate in Central. Even Singapore had
managed to keep the colonial flavor that in his opinion gave the city much more
charm than Hong Kong. Privately on the back of Hellmantle's YAMAHA, he feared
that there will be a day when all signs of Hong Kong's colonial past will be
completely gone. And for the first time he saw people sleeping on the street,
homeless and destitute in one of the world's most prosperous cities.
Soon they hit the shopping
Mecca of Mong Kok where they turned for a long tunnel under Lion Rock
Mountain. The number of cars drastically dwindled after the tunnel when
Hellmantle maneuvered his peppy two-stroke racing bike between the mountains to
Kowloon Tong and the academic condominiums for professors and lecturers. For
the first time D'Aqs felt relieved when they arrived at this father's
apartment, knowing he was a sane voice compared to his erratic cousin. It felt
good to be able to discuss these unheard-of corners of religious history.
were some books piled on the dining room table when they both entered. Jack
Grosseteste had been doing some reading.
You look much better. The motorcycling must be doing you good!"
"Yes, I'm feeling better."
Jack Grosseteste was in his
usual good spirits, especially after Hellmantle gave him his grape juice
"From the duty-free," he
said. "And one is from your son!"
Despite the fact that D'Aqs
had told his father about the trip, Hellmantle insisted on doing his own
recounting of what had happened. His passionate recollection made even D'Aqs
laugh, but also concerned for how could two men do the same trip and have two
different variations of the same series of events. Clearly, Hellmantle's
grandiose perceptions were beginning to take hold of his person. When he was
done, he asked his uncle:
"So what do you think about
the Dutch Padre Vander Poodre's sermon about the Ten Lost Tribes of
Israel?" It was a second before his uncle realized he had actually said aloud
the nickname of the Padre. Uncle Jack appeared in thought for a moment.
"Yes. It's the Canadian word
for ‘power snow,' corrupted from the French poudre," he said not missing
"I find it fascinating that he should be giving that
particular sermon just as you arrive at that exact moment. When you arrived at
6pm, it was the culmination of your pilgrimage. I find it eerie that you found
Agoo Basilica on New Year's Day on your final day of motorcycling."
"Sure, it's destiny
manifesting itself! I don't understand why people think ‘providence' is
something that does not exist in real life. I am troubled as to why so many
think it's a fiction. God is showing us the way, to right this wrong done by
the Catholic Church so long ago, spearheaded by that fat fuck Constantine
the Great at the Council of Nicea." Jack Grosseteste was quiet for a
moment letting Hellmantle simmer before he asked more questions about the trip.
The omma put some freshly skinned pineapples on the table. The smell of
dinner cooking in the kitchen cause Hellmantle to salivate.
"Why?" D'Aqs asked "Why is
that interesting to you? Not ‘providence, but the sermon. What's so special
about the Twelve Tribes of Israel?"
"Because that great family
story, especially that hidden part vis-à-vis the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, is everything.
It's a story about us." Hellmantle leaned forward in his chair. "It's
why northern Europeans even care about Christianity. It is the primary
underpinning of the Bible, the reason why Europe converted to Christianity.
Israelites are an extended family, part of the chosen family. It's the
whole point of keeping a record of this chosen family in story form, yet so few
of us see that you and I are descendents of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, or
more precisely the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel and the House of Judah." D'Aqs saw
that theology spoke deeply to his cousin's heart as well as his own, but for
perhaps different reasons.
"Well, that's the question,
isn't it?" said Hellmantle, drinking his wine.
"Yes, that's the crucial
question," Jack Grosseteste agreed. "This is what I know about it: Abraham had
a son named Isaac who bore a son named Jacob. It was Jacob who fathered the
twelve sons that came to be known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Abraham was willing
to kill his only son Isaac by obeying God's command until God stopped him at
the last moment and declared Abraham blessed. It was Isaac's son Jacob who was
favored in the eyes of God that God re-named him Israel."
"I know that Dad," D'Aqs a
"Son, let me say my piece.
Jacob's sons were Reuben, Jacob's first born, whose descendents are said to
have landed in modern-day France. The symbol on their shields was an image of a
man. The next born was Simeon, whose descendents are said to now populate
Scotland and Ireland, who are known to history as Celts, and whose symbol is
the sword. The third son was Levy who is the priestly tribe of Aaron who
remained with the tribe of Judah thus being one of the two tribes that are
today's Jews. Levy's symbol is a breastplate. Judah was the fourth son who bore
twins: Pharez and Zarrah. It is not Pharez that is the chosen line but
according to the Book of Genesis the royal line actually went to the twin with
the red string around his finger, Zarrah, because he was the first out. There
was a ‘breach.' It was when the brave scribe Baruch took the last three
offspring of the royal Zarrah line to Northern Ireland as described in detail
in the Book of Jeremiah, that the throne of power left Palestine and migrated
north, where it remains today. The tribe of Zarrah settled first in Ireland and
then Scotland of course, and then with the Stewart line ascending to British
throne. And of course its symbol is the red rampant lion. All four of these
tribes had the same mother named Leah.
"The fifth son was the tribe
of Dan who were primarily mariners and adventurers. They mainly settled Denmark
and Ireland (mainly via the Danish Viking settlement of Dublin) and were
symbolized by an eagle. The next son was the tribe of Naphtali who settled in
modern-day Sweden and their symbol is a stag. The seventh son was the tribe of
Gad who is believed to have settled modern-day Switzerland, and is symbolized
by a leader of troops. The next son is the tribe of Asher, who is believed to have
settled modern-day Belgium and Luxembourg. It has for its emblem a covered
goblet. The ninth son is the tribe of Issaachar. This tribe landed in upper
Germany. A donkey (under burden) is its tribal emblem."
"It is believed that it is
where the name ‘Saxon' comes from."
"Thank you Rolland. The
tenth son was the tribe of Zebulun, who were merchant traders and calligraphers
who landed in the Netherlands. Its symbol is a ship. It is the only tribe that
still exists today as its own country. Issachar's and Zebulun's mother was also
Leah. The next son is the tribe of Ephraim, the son of Joseph, who settled
Great Britain and her Commonwealth. Its symbol is an ox. The next son is the
tribe of Manasseh, Joseph's first born, who landed primarily in the United States
as part of its Manifest Destiny of settling the ‘Promised Land.' Its
emblem is the olive branch - thus the symbol on US currency. And finally the
last tribe is the tribe of Benjamin who are believed to have been mainly
mariners and merchant traders, but came to be known in history as Vikings. The
tribe of Benjamin is believed to have settled in modern-day Norway and
Normandy, and its symbol is the wolf."
It was clear to Hellmantle
that Jack Grosseteste should be teaching religious history in some small college
in upstate New York, not economics in Hong Kong.
"And we are wolves,"
said Hellmantle, clearly enthused by the topic.
"Yes, we are wolves," his
uncle confirmed. D'Aqs was fighting to gain an understanding of a subject that
his father and cousin knew so much about despite the fact that it was him who
was the missionary and lone minister among them. Jack Grosseteste showed some
exasperation at his son's ignorance so D'Aqs showed off some of his knowledge
"The Normans are Danish
Vikings that were awarded land after the Siege of Paris in 925. So we're also
from the Tribe of Dan?"
"Yes! Mariners and
adventurers the Danes were," said Hellmantle.
reminds me." Jack Grosseteste got up and took out a color print. "Have you seen
your Grosseteste coat-of-arms before? I don't think I've ever shown you." He
put the color print on the table. There in front of D'Aqs was the coat-of-arms
of the Grosseteste family. There were two eagles in the top two corners of the
crest that he now understood to represent the Tribe of Dan. There was also a
wolf at the neck of the crest that he can only assume is from the Tribe of
and Benjamin," D'Aqs said. He watched both his father and Hellmantle nod, and
then Jack pointed at the two Stars of David on the chevron across the crest. A
tingling went up his spine. An edifice of belief was about to crumble.
same Star of David that is on the Northern Ireland flag."
"The mark of an Israelite!"
yelled Hellmantle. "History is coming alive isn't it? You're finally catching
up after forty years of ignoring your family tree. We grew up with knowing we
are part of this living history and that it's been systematically suppressed by
Rome yet you never cared a damn about it, and only now, ye man of little
faith, are realizing that it's not a fiction. We are from a great
bloodline! But there's more to the story than just this, you'll see oh Doubting
Thomas. There's more to the story than we have been told. My purpose in
life is to find them and let people know!"
"Very interesting," he
conceded, interrupting his cousin from his self-righteous lecturing.
the cross in the middle," said his father. D'Aqs could see it was the symbol of
the Blonde Acquitaine. Jack Grosseteste looked at his son and winked his
left eye. On reflex D'Aqs winked back at his father. For a moment Jack was
surprised, but then it dawned on him that it was Hellmantle who had rightfully
christened his son into the brotherhood of the Blonde Acquitaine. It was
with solemn poise that Jack Grosseteste and D'Aqs then shook hands, slipping
each other the grip.
welcome to the brotherhood."