Celtic GloryFables

Samson Cellarer

Plots against Samson

Plots against Samson

Samson was a great man of faith and his fervency and dedication to Jesus caused Samson to be noticed by the leaders of the monasteries and he is ordained in ministry by Father Dubricius at the monastery of Llantwit Major, where he spent his early years. During his ordination, a dove hovers over him and sits on his right shoulder, reminiscent of Jesus’ own baptism when the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and settled on him. ¹

Four doves flying

However, Samson’s success causes others to be jealous.

‘He’s back’ a monk whispers as the monastery’s inhabitants sit for a meal.

‘What again! I thought he was still travelling!’

‘There goes our comfort! He’s bound to watch over us like a hawk.’

‘I’ve heard he’s going to oversee the cellar.’

‘Who told you that?’ the current Cellarer asks annoyed. ‘That’s my job!’  He looks anxiously around. He has much to lose. After all, he’s been sneaking some of the honey and wine out of the cellars for his own purposes. ‘Have I been caught?’ he muses to himself.

‘So, what should we do?’ the Cellarer leans into the other monks on his part of the long table. ‘Should we do something to protect our interests?  He’s such a favourite with Dubricius!’  Jealousy seethes in his breast.  The others’ self interest is also challenged.

‘There’s always that little viol of special liquid’ the Cellarer continues. A quiet but audible gasp escapes his companions.

‘Surely not brother! Isn’t that one step too far?’

The Cellarer lets the idea sit a moment before replying, ‘Is it?’

They look from one to another to another. No-one speaks out a firm objection.

‘I’ll sort it, then shall I?’ the Cellarer continues.

A silent nod is all it takes for the others to become complicit in the scheme.

That night, before the monks turn in, he takes the tiny viol of deadly liquid, letting drops fall into the drink he’s prepared for Samson to have by his bed.  Meeting Samson on the stairs to his cell, the Cellarer bows, ‘Here brother. I’ve prepared this drink to help you sleep well after your long journey.’  Samson thanks him and turns towards his cell, not hearing the monk’s mocking whisper, ‘Sleep very well Samson, very well indeed.’

Samson settles for his prayers, the monastery cat curled by his feet before turning in. He leaves the drink untouched, as was his habit of abstinence and discipline and sleeps deeply.

During his sleep, an angel appears to him. ‘Samson, Samson’ he calls. ‘Pay attention for the drink you have been given is full of poison.’ 

The morning dawns early and Samson rises for prayer.  In the dim light, he can see a shape on the floor. Reaching down, he finds the cat dead, having sipped from his drink in the night. Gently lifting it in his arms he cradles it. ‘Is this the life of righteousness?’ he murmurs sadly. ‘What terrible evil follows such deep jealousy?’

Being thirsty now, he prays over the cup and blesses it before drinking the liquid. Nothing happens. The poison has no effect and his fellow monks are further enraged. ²

‘Is there no stopping him?’ the Cellarer rages.

They plot to find another way to discredit Samson.

As they had discovered, Samson is placed in charge of the cellar where all the food and drink is stored. It’s a highly responsible position and a trustworthy steward is required.

‘This has gone too far!’ the jealous monk murmurs to his companions. The former Cellarer is determined to harm Samson. ‘I’ll empty the honey jars. That’ll do for him. Dubricius won’t be able to ignore that and Samson will be blamed. We can’t survive without the honey through the year!’ 

So, stealthily one night, he empties every jar in the cellar and then instructs a fellow monk to report it to Father Dubricius the Abbot.

‘What’s all this nonsense I’m hearing about?’ Dubricius asks, bustling his way down to the cellars. ‘How can someone empty or steal all the honey?  And I’m quite certain Samson wouldn’t do such a thing! He’s totally trustworthy.’

‘Oh, but Father, I’ve seen with my own eyes.  They’re empty and the only ones with a key are you and Samson’.  The sly monk responds, not letting on that the old Cellarer had kept a key for himself.

'All right then’ Father Dubricius says, ‘show me these empty honey jars.’

The monk leads him through the cellars. ‘This way Father, they’re just here’ he makes a sweep of his arm triumphantly, then gasps.

‘What these?’ Father Dubricius turns to him questioningly. ‘These, brother? Are you sure?’

The monk is silenced in astonishment as the previously empty jars are all full and overflowing with honey. Stuttering, he tries to reply but can’t get any words out.

Father Dubricius checks all around, finding everything in order he departs, determined to get to the bottom of what is happening and the plots against Samson.

A miracle saves Samson in the face of unjust accusation.

¹Luke 3:22. ‘and the Holy Spirit descended on him (Jesus) in bodily form like a dove.’

² Mark 16:18 ‘They will pick up snakes with their hands, and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on the sick people and they will get well.’

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