FAT MONK (pleased)
Fine, King Herod, you are going it strong.
Even the sun does not rise for me. For others it rises, but for me it doesn’t. Others don’t see the darkness by day, but I see it. It penetrates the light like dust. At first I seem to see a sort of light, but then—good heavens, the sky is dark, the earth is dark, all is like soot. Yonder is something vague and misty. I can’t even make out what it is. Is it a human being, is it a bush? My grief is great, immense! (Grows pensive) If I cried, who would hear me? If I shouted, who would respond?
FAT MONK (to the Gray Monk)
The dogs in the village might.
KING HEROD (shaking his head)
O you people! You are looking at me as at a monstrosity—at my hair, my chains—because I killed my son and because I am like King Herod; but my soul you see not, and my grief you know not. You are as blind as earthworms. You wouldn’t know if you were struck with a beam on the head. Say, you pot-belly, what are you shaking your paunch, for?
Why—the way he talks to you!
FAT MONK (reassuringly)
It’s nothing. He treats us all like that. He upbraids us all.
Yes, and I will continue to upbraid. Fellows like you are not fit to serve God. What you ought to do is to sit in a drinkshop amusing Satan. The devils use your belly to go sleigh-riding on at night.
FAT MONK (good-naturedly)
Well, well, God be with you. You had better speak about yourself; stick to that.
KING HEROD (to Savva)
You see? He wants to feast on my agony. Go ahead, feast all you want.
My, what a scold you are. Where do you get your vocabulary? He once told the Father Superior that if God were not immortal he, the Father Superior, would long ago have sold him piece by piece. But we tolerate him. He can do no harm in a monastery.
He attracts people. Many come here for his sake. And what difference does it make to us? God sees our purity. Isn’t that so, King Herod?
Oh, shut up, you old dotard. Look at him; he can scarcely move his legs, old Harry with the evil eye. Keeps three women in the village; one is not enough for him. (The monks laugh good-naturedly) You see, you see? Whew! Look at their brazen, shameless eyes! Might as well spit on them!
Why do you come here?