CHRISTOLPHE AND THE GOLDEN FLEECE
THE FLEMISH WEAVER
 The Place du Bourg in Bruges was crowded with people. From the walls of the
houses hung gay-colored tapestries and bright banners, and from the windows
ladies in their strange, horned headdresses looked down and over the heads
of the crowd to an altar standing in front of the Town Hall. All the
people of the city were on the streets,—nobles in their gorgeous velvet
cloaks, members of the trade guilds, the weavers, butchers and metal-workers
in high caps, friars in their rough robes, the sisterhood of the Béguines
in their stiff white bonnets, poor peasants and work people in their
tunics,—the poor and the rich all were eagerly straining to see.
The crowds jostled and frightened Jeanne and her little son, who were trying
to reach a place where they could peep through. It was hard work, for Jeanne
was frail and her little boy was lame. "Canst thou see here, little son?"
she stopped and asked. "If I could but lift thee! For surely thou must see,
when we have toiled so hard to come." She looked down longingly at the
little fellow, who clung with one hand to
 her skirt while with the other he held tight to his crutch. "And thou
shalt see," she hugged him close to her. "Thou shalt see. The holy
relic has worked miracles before, they say, miracles harder than to cure thee.
When the priest comes and lifts it, I will hold thee up, Christolphe.
Somehow, somehow, my poor body, thou must be good for that!" The little
boy smiled up at her, and patiently they waited for the great moment to
This was the day of the Procession of the Holy Blood in Bruges. On this day
in May, as for a hundred years before, a procession had formed and was
escorting through the streets of Bruges its chief treasure,—the drops of
the Holy Blood. This was the Holy Blood of our Lord which Count Dierick and
his chaplain had brought from Palestine three hundred years before. For in
reward for his good services as a Crusader the Patriarch of Jerusalem had
given him in a little tube some of the water with which Joseph of Arimathea
had washed the body of our Lord and which had in it some of his blood, as
all believed. It had been placed in the Chapel of the Holy Blood, and once
a year it was brought out and carried in a beautiful shrine through the
streets of the city to the Place du Bourg, where, at an altar, it was lifted
up by the priest in the sight of all the people.
THE GIVING OF THE ROSES
This tapestry woven in the middle of the fifteenth century shows some of the costumes of the time,—the high, horned headdresses of the ladies and the sausage-shaped hats of the men. (Photograph furnished by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Today, as so many times before, the people were waiting anxiously for that
great moment. At last sounds of music were heard,—the solemn chanting
 of litanies and singing of hymns as the procession came in view. Priests were
in front, nuns in their long veils and burghers in rich dressed followed,
and behind them groups, or living pictures, from the holy time gone by.
There were John and James and Peter and others of the Apostles, King Herod
and his court, and, best of all, Mary and Joseph and the babe in the manger.
"Ah, if thou couldst but see the Christ Child," Jeanne whispered to her son,
"and his blessed mother, too. Ah, but Mary is sweet this year, sweeter to
look on than I ever saw her." Behind all this pageant came the bishops and
priests, and acolytes with their incense pots sweetening the air, and in
their midst the Sacred Shrine containing the Holy Blood. They came to the
altar, and the priest stood above the crowd and raised high the tube with
the sacred blood so that all might see. Then Jeanne with a great effort
caught up her boy in her arms. "Look!" she said. "Look well and say thy
prayer." Then as everyone bowed low she dropped him back in his place and
knelt down beside him; and all kept solemn silence while the holy relic was
returned to its place in the chapel close by.
But when all was over and the crowd began to move, Jeanne did not stir.
Christolphe pulled at her skirt, but she stayed on her knees with her head
sunk forward. Someone came up beside him, and he felt an arm about him;
and the kind face of Sister Lisette
 framed in the wide bonnet of the Béguines looked into his. "Come with
me," she said. "Thy mother is ill, and here comes Sister Margot to care
for her. But thou and I will go to my house in the Béguinage, and soon
there will be good hot soup for thee and me." Christolphe went with her
and there he stayed. It was not for one night only but for many nights and
years, for with the passing of the Holy Blood his tired mother had died
and passed on to her place of rest.
THE BÉGUINAGE in BRUGES
The buildings at the back of the picture are the church and houses of the Béguines, or Sisters
But Sister Lisette was glad to give him a home in her neat little whitewashed
cottage in the quiet inclosure of the Béguinage, and he was happy, as
far as a motherless boy can be. For Christolphe was not cured
 of his lameness, whether because he had not looked long enough on the relic
or whether because for some reason it was not a day of miracle-working.
Yet he, with his one bad leg, could walk as fast as other boys with two
good ones, and his hands were cleverer and his head was busier than most
with inventions and dreams. The good sisters, sitting in the sun at their
lace-making or walking to and from their church, found their lives less
tranquil than they had been: some strange contrivance known only to a boy
lay in their path, or across their green lawn echoed the shouts of children.
But Sister Lisette was content. Her garden grew twice as well since
Christolphe's fingers helped to pull at the weeds, and on cold winter
nights when she came back from visiting her sick the fire on her hearth
was burning brightly, and a little boy lay curled up before it building up
the coals a city of dreams. This was Christolphe's favorite hour and
place, especially when he came in cold and disappointed from watching the
skaters. Skating was one of the things he could not do, though he greatly
longed to glide and whirl like the others and make the beautiful, sweeping
motions lovely as the flight of a bird.
He was always a little unhappy after such afternoons of watching by the
Minnewater, but one day he heard something which sent him to the fire to
think. One of the bigger girls had asked another why she did not try the
Wishing Bridge. And she explained that beyond the Minnewater there was a
little bridge and if you
 went there just at midnight and made a wish, alone, they said you wish
came true. "Go try it tonight," she coaxed the other girl, "do, and see
if Jan's heart won't come back and be true to thee." So Christolphe lay
before the fire questioning whether it were only wishes about hearts, or
whether wishes about legs would probably come true, too. It seemed worth
the trying. He said nothing, but that night he did not go to sleep as
usual, and when he heard the bells ring half past eleven, he slipped into
his clothes and stole out. The night was dark and bitter cold and
terrifyingly still. He almost hoped that the girl would be there, too,
even though she spoiled his wish, for it was shivery work to be alone near
the black water at such an hour. He crept along softly, as if the least
sound might startle a hobgoblin or a demon. But no one was at the bridge,
nothing was anywhere but blackness and cold and stillness. He waited.
Suddenly there was a loud clangor, and he jumped in terror. But it was
only the familiar deep, sweet tones from the Great Belfry, sounding at this
hour strange and wild. Ten, eleven, twelve,—the Belfry chimes were
telling him that his moment of midnight was come. Quickly he made his
wish: "I want to run like other boys. Please give me a new leg." Then
he ran back faster than most boys could hope to do, and he did not stop
shaking until long after he was safely back in bed. Sister Lisette never
knew about it, and he never told anyone, but waited, wondering how long
it took the magic to work.
This is a tapestry woven in Flanders three hundred years ago and shows the people skating in the moat of a castle. (From a tapestry lent to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
 But Sister Lisette did discover that he had a cold, and watching the
skaters was therefore forbidden, so he had to find some other occupation.
By good luck he found one much better. He was straying down the street
when through an open door he saw a sight that held him open-mouthed and
wide-eyed. On a huge sort of frame was stretched a picture, and even while
he watched, the picture grew, as a man's hands went back and forth weaving
with bright-colored threads. Already there were the tops of two trees and
something gold hanging and a fearful creature's head,—a dragon with
a long, red tongue. The old weaver looked up from his task and saw
Christolphe's crutch and glowing face. "Come in an' thou wilt," he said.
"I reckon thy life isn't overfull of pleasures, is it? Come in, lad, if
thou wilt be still and not trouble us while we work." Christolphe went
in and looked and looked. The room was full of looms with men at work,
but it was the old weaver's tapestry that held him. Only after a long
time did he dare to breathe aloud, "What is it?"
"What! Dost not know the Golden Fleece?" the old weaver exclaimed.
"And thou a boy of Bruges! Not to know the Golden Fleece when he sees
it! Why, it was here but round the corner that Duke Philip founded his
Order of the Knights,—the Knights of the Golden Fleece. I well
remember the day,—the day when he and Isabella of Portugal were
married. Dost not know the Knights? Thou must have seen one."
 Christolphe shook his head. "What does he look like?" he asked.
"He looks like a very splendid gentleman, to be sure," said the weaver,
"and thou knowest him from all others by his long red coat and his cap
with a long tail to it, and because around his neck he wears a collar,—a
chain of steel links and firestones and hanging from it a lamb of gold."
"I did not know," said Christolphe. "Are there really golden lambs?"
"Tut, tut!" the old weaver shook his head. "He does not even know the
story of Jason and the Golden Fleece. Why, lad, where dost thou live?"
"In the Béguinage with Sister Lisette."
"Ah, so, so. I see, I see. Well, dost see here," he pointed to his loom,
"a fleece of gold and a dragon? And soon my fingers will weave Jason—Jason
who came over land and over sea, and did all sorts of deeds thou shouldst
hear about, until at last he carried off the Golden Fleece. But Medea
helped him, she who was the enchantress and knew all the secret ways to
protect him against the dragon."
"Oh, tell me please," begged Christolphe.
"Nay, I am no story-teller,—except with my fingers," the old man said,
and he threaded on his bobbin a gleaming thread of gold. Yet he told, bit
by bit, enough about Jason and the quest for the Golden Fleece so that
Christolphe had the story. Then his mind was full of questions.
PHILIP, DUKE OF BURGUNDY
The Duke is dressed in the costume of the Order of the Golden Fleece,—crimson gown, cloak, cap and collar with golden lamb
 "And is it from Jason's Golden Fleece that Duke Philip has named his
Knights?" he asked.
"So thinks the lord for whom I weave this tapestry," the weaver replied.
"But some say it is from Gideon's fleece they got their name."
"Gideon's fleece! Tell me that! Who was Gideon?" begged Christolphe
all in one breath, for he was hearing more stories today than he had
even known existed outside of his own head.
But the old weaver had had enough stories enough for one afternoon.
"Go ask the priest," he said. "Gideon is his story, for Gideon was a
man of God. However, Jason suits me well enough, and I would I had
his Golden Fleece."
"Where is it now?" Christolphe demanded eagerly.
"I said but now, I would I knew." The old man took his shears and
cut off the knotted ends of his threads. "Perhaps some day some
young hero like thee will find it." He winked slyly at Christolphe.
"I'm old,—no more adventures for me."
"But Duke Philip's Knights,—do they not go to seek the Golden
"Nay, they get their gold an easier way,—by fleecing the
burghers and the poor of Bruges," and at that, the weaver put
back his head and laughed and laughed at his own joke. But
after that, when Christolphe tried to question him about the
fleece, he said, "I know not where it is, and there's an end
to it." And he refused to talk any more.
 Before the fire that night, Christolphe went over and over
again in his mind the wonderful tapestry and the wonderful
story. He thought about it until a new wish and a new
plan formed in his mind. Again he stayed awake in the dark of
his room, and again just before midnight he slipped out to
the Wishing Bridge. This time it did not seem so black and
awful, for he was fortified by the dreams of a would-be hero,
and when the sweet chimes rang out the midnight hour, he
spoke bravely. "Please, I want to change my wish. I want,
instead, to go to find the Golden Fleece."
The next day, and the next, and all that followed found
Christolphe in the weaver's shop watching his story grow.
Sometimes the old weaver talked with him, and little by
little told him about the making of the tapestry from its
very beginning. He told him how it began with the sheep:
the sheep was shorn of its fleece, and then the wool was
cleaned and carded, and the thread was spun, fine and strong,
and then it was dipped into the dyes, the wonderful dyes
of blue and rose and emerald and pearl, until at last the
bright skeins of wool came to the weaver's hand. He had
a picture, made perhaps by some great painter, and when
he had put that in place behind his loom he began to weave
all the figures—everything just as it was in the
picture. Christolphe saw how it was done: saw how the old
weaver threaded his bobbin with a thread of red or blue
or gold and then went in and out, in and out, of the long
threads stretched between the rollers;
 saw how, when he had woven back and forth over and over
again, he took a heavy wooden comb and pressed the rows
tightly together so that they were firm and solid. It
looked at once so easy and yet, as the perfect forms took
shape, so hard! Christolphe watched until he had his
lesson by heart.
Then he came home and made himself a miniature loom with
two pieces of board at the top and bottom, like the big
loom of the weaver; he begged threads from the Sisters and
even scraps from the shop; he stretched the warp threads
and traced on them in outline a pair of trees and a hanging
fleece, and then he himself started in to weave. He worked
day after day. No one could have guessed a little fellow
would have such patience. He worked until one day it
was done, and he went and thrust his work into his old
"What, what!" said the weaver. "Thou didst this? Why,
this—for a little lad! Here's the tree, and here's
the fleece, I swear. What, what! Keep on, my lad, keep
on. Thou art on thy way to the Golden Fleece, the real
Golden Fleece of Flanders, made of the finest wool and
threads of gold and men's sure hands. Go on, my son,
and some day when thou art old enough, come back or,
better still, go to more-famed weavers than I am, and
they will gladly take thee for an apprentice. But keep
at it now, and some day, mark my words, thou wilt see
that thou hast won the real Golden Fleece."
A CASTLE IN THE COUNTRY
This charming scene is from a Book of Hours, made in the fifteenth century and pictures life in the country at that time
 The old weaver was apt to speak in riddles and Christolphe
often did not understand him. But this time he thought he
understood: he seemed to be urging him to find the
Golden Fleece, and then he could become a great weaver
afterwards. It was just what he himself wanted. He wanted
to adventure forth beyond the city walls and see what he
might find. Out there someone might know where the fleece
was and help him. He dreamt about it before the fire and
laid his plans, and one day he was ready. He left word
for Sister Lisette not to worry—the old weaver
knew why he had gone, and he would be back soon. Then he
set out, his crutch in hand, a bundle with his new woven
tapestry slung on his back, and around his neck something
new which he had made,—a collar made of bits of
leather and wool and hanging from it a wooden lamb gilded
to look as if it were gold. This was a Knight of the
Golden Fleece going out on his quest.
Early in the morning as the market people were streaming
into the city he slipped out between the big watchtowers
of the Porte de Gand, and was on the open road when the
birds began to sing. It was beautiful. He had never
seen the open country like this: the peasants with their
rude wooden plows, the windmills, the canals with
bright-colored boats tied at anchor, the fresh green
fields and grazing cattle, and the soft feathery trees.
It was all a procession of delights. He did not mind going
slowly because of his crutch. Someone overtook him,
and a friar in a long
 gray dress and sandaled feet stopped and spoke. "Since
we are traveling the same road," he said, "shall we not
go on together?" It was pleasant to have such friendly
company, and Christolphe soon told the friar his name,
and the man was good enough not to ask his business, but
he saw the strange chain about the boy's neck and began
to guess its meaning. "Ah, the chain of the Order of
the Golden Fleece! Thou art then a knight, a knight on
a pilgrimage journey perhaps?" He spoke kindly and with
a twinkle in his eyes, for though he was a friar and old,
he had once been a boy himself and had not entirely
forgotten. "Tell me, then, about it. Perhaps I can aid
thee, for I myself have taken many a pilgrimage. Up and
down this land I've wandered in the service of my Order."
Christolphe hesitated, but as he looked into the gentle,
wise face of the friar he wondered if perhaps here was
the very man he had hoped for,—the man who knew the
way to the Golden Fleece. "Could you—could you—tell
me what became of Jason's Golden Fleece and where to go
to find it?" he quavered.
"Jason's Golden Fleece! Nay, it is not Jason's fleece thou
seekest," the friar hastily contradicted him. "It was
not from that the Order of the Golden Fleece took its name.
God forbid," his tones were stern, "God forbid that Duke
Philip should pattern his knights after an infidel and a
man who broke his faith like Jason. Nay, it is from
Gideon's fleece that thy Order is named."
 "Gideon? Not Jason, but Gideon?" Christolphe was
surprised. Yet he remembered that the weaver too had
spoken of Gideon. "Tell me then, please, about him."
"Dost not know the story of Gideon? Listen, then, for
this is a better tale than thine of Jason." The friar
told a story well, better than the old weaver. "Gideon,"
he said, "was a mighty man of battle, a leader of his
people, but before he went to fight his enemies he wished
to know that God was with him and would prosper him.
So he spoke to God, saying, 'I will put a fleece on the
threshing-floor; if there be dew on the fleece and it
be dry upon all the ground, then shall I know that thou
art with me.' And so it was. In the morning he wrung
much dew from the fleece while all the ground was dry.
But even so Gideon asked yet one more sign: he asked
that the Lord on the next night leave the fleece dry
and let the dew fall upon the ground around it. And
it fell so the second time, even as he asked. Then
Gideon understood that he was the chosen of the Lord,
and he did many mighty deeds. And it is in memory of
him, be sure, that Duke Philip has set apart his Order
of the Golden Fleece, his Knights who have pledged
themselves to defend the faith and do valiant deeds."
Christolphe had listened eagerly, but plainly he was
disappointed. After a moment he objected timidly.
"Only you see that fleece was not gold, was it? And
it is the Golden Fleece."
 "Not golden? Who knows? Who knows?" the friar replied
quickly. "In worth it was indeed more than gold, for
it was the sign of the favor of God."
But again Christolphe had his question ready. "But
what became of Gideon's fleece?" he asked. "Can
anyone find it?" Then his face brightened. "Duke
Dierick and the Crusaders in the Holy Land, did
they see it? Did they bring it back like the Holy
Blood? Where do you go to find it now?"
The good friar looked from the boy's glowing face to
his crutch and twisted leg. "Nay, the way to win
Gideon's fleece is not to go on a quest as Jason did.
The fleece of Gideon comes to him who does some
Christolphe thought this over. The worthiest of
worthy deeds did not seem as interesting to him
just then as an adventure into the world, and he
was determined not to turn tamely back. The friar,
who was bound for Tournai and the monastery of
St. Martin, knew it was a long walk, but he let
Christolphe go on with him. However, he took
pains to send word back to Sister Lisette, and
when they reached the monastery, where he himself
was to stay for only a few days, he told the monks
Christolphe's whole story. The monks were very
kind to Christolphe, but he was troubled,
wondering what to do about his quest. Which was
the true story? Was it Jason's Golden Fleece or
Gideon's? Must he go on a long journey to find it,
or must he do some worthy deed?
 One day it happened that as he and Brother Norbert,
his favorite of the brothers, were in the town
together they passed the shop of Robert Dary and
Jean de l'Ortye, two famous tapestry-weavers of
the time, and Christolphe stopped like one entranced.
Even he could recognize the wonder and beauty of
their work, beyond anything he had ever seen
in Bruges. He would not stir. "Why, look at the
boy!" said Brother Norbert. "Art spellbound? What
is this to thee?"
And Christolphe answered, "Some day I am to be a
weaver, a master weaver, after I have—after—"
he stopped, for he was thinking of the Golden Fleece.
Brother Norbert understood. "After thou hast shown
thyself worthy?" he said. "Is that what thou art
thinking? I know thy desire. The friar has told me.
Stay then with us and let us teach thee. I swear
thou art as likely to find the Golden Fleece here
as anywhere. And all things are easier to him who
is well taught. Then when thou art old enough thou
canst decide the matter for thyself."
"I know that I must be a weaver," Christolphe
answered, "that is sure. The old weaver said it.
But the Golden Fleece—I wish I knew!"
"Thou wilt know when thou hast studied and canst
read the books," said Brother Norbert gently.
"Stay with us, then."
That evening Christolphe showed Brother Norbert
his own little weaving which he had brought all
the way strapped on his back. Norbert showed it
to the other
 brothers,—and all nodded their heads in
surprised approval. "But let Robert Dary and Jean
de l'Ortye see that!" they exclaimed. And so it
came about that these two master weavers not only
saw his work but agreed willingly that when the boy
was three or four years older he should enter
their shop to become their apprentice and learn
his trade. It was a great opportunity, as
Christolphe realized even before the monks told
him so; and when, after consulting with Sister
Lisette, they arranged of their own accord that
he was in the meantime to stay with them and
have an education, he was very glad. It was not
the quest of the Golden Fleece he had planned,
but he trusted Brother Norbert and hoped and
Life with the monks, in the gardens, in the
refectory, in the chapel, in the scriptorium
with the beautiful parchment books which he
was learning to read,—all was delightful.
And at every chance he slipped away and
watched Robert Dary and Jean de l'Ortye at
work. The years went fast, and he was soon
fourteen and was duly apprenticed to work for
three years in the famous shop. He had not
forgotten the Golden Fleece, but as Brother
Norbert had foretold, he now understood better
about it. He knew that he could not find it
by going on a pilgrimage, that he could no
more hope to reach it than the beautiful cities
he used to build in the coals at Sister
Lisette's. But he did not give it up. Now
it stood for his dream, the great thing he yet
hoped to do or be some day.
FLOWER TAPESTRY OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
Evidently the tapestry weavers knew and loved their flowers, for each varierty is carefully pictured. (Photograph furnished by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
 The work at the shop went well: he learned fast
and worked hard and loved it, and in spite of
his lameness more than kept up with the other
boys. Everything seemed to favor him, when
one day the master called all the men of the
shop together and told them that a catastrophe
had taken place: a large supply of costly gold
threads to be used in one of the tapestries
had disappeared,—had been stolen,
as they believed. Who was guilty? It was of
immense value and must be found. All eyes
 on the four apprentices and especially on
Christolphe and another named Gherard, who were
newcomers in the shop. "We give you all until
tomorrow morning," said the masters. "Let the
gold be returned then, and no questions will be
asked. But if it come not back, then the
innocent will be punished with the thief.
For the guilt of one, all will suffer.
Punishment will go alike to all unless the
thief confess his sin."
It was an uncomfortable day. Christolphe felt
cold, doubting eyes on him, and he heard
Gherard whispering with the other apprentices,
"His Golden Fleece! So, so! He has gotten it,
then, at last." For these lads, like many
in Tournai, had heard the story of the Golden
Fleece. Christolphe could not work for very
misery. He was wondering what the punishment
would be and whether in the morning they
would all be discharged from the shop, and so
his great chance would be gone.
On his way home he stopped in the Cathedral
and fell on his knees before an altar to pray.
Everywhere it was dark except for a few
flickering specks of light from the candles
at the shrines. But as he passed out, he saw
at the other side of the altar another boy
praying, and in the light of a newly placed
candle recognized Gherard. He half stopped,
surprised to see Gherard there, and then
something bright caught his eye. In the
flicker of the candle it glittered,—a
thread of gold winding its way from beneath
Gherard's tunic to the floor. And Christolphe
saw that even as he fingered
 his beads Gherard held his left arm pressed
close to his side. As if aware of someone near
him, Gherard turned, while Christolphe slipped
off and was lost in the dark shadows. But he
waited; and when Gherard came out of the church
door, he was there watching for him. Quick
as a flash, he struck Gherard a hard blow on
his left elbow. Something fell,—a ball
that glittered even in the bad light of the
late twilight. Gherard understood, and with
his right arm struck back and rained blow after
blow on Christolphe. Christolphe defended
himself as best he could, but he was trying all
the time to hold fast with his crutch and foot
to the gold threads that had fallen, and he,
lame and alone, stood no chance against a
fighter like Gherard. But the passers-by
began to gather. Hands caught hold of Gherard
and threw him back. "A great, strong boy
against a lame one!" they cried. "For shame!"
Christolphe seized his chance, stooped and picked
up the golden ball, tucked it under his smock,
shook himself free of the friendly crowd and
That night he slept little. His many bruises
hurt too much, but still more he was worried
about the morning. How to get the gold back?
Would anyone see? Would they think it was he
who had stolen it? Should he then tell on
Gherard? Would Gherard come back and say that
he, Christolphe, had been the thief? The word
of one against the other, what would be the
end of it? He got up before the sun was risen
and went through the deserted streets to the shop.
 No one was there, but the door had been left open.
He slipped the gold threads into the chest where
they belonged, and came away. Only the boy whose
business it was to sweep out the shop had seen
When all the others came to work, a few hours
later, Gherard was not among them. Still
Christolphe was anxious, not knowing what to
expect. Then the master went to the chest,
picked up the golden threads and called out,
"See, the gold! Safe and in its place. Has
anyone ought to say?" No one spoke, for
Christolphe had made up his mind to tell
nothing against Gherard, no matter what it
cost, since he was not there to speak for
himself. But his face grew whiter and whiter,
and he kept his eyes on the floor. He
heard the master's steps coming nearer, and
he steadied himself, for he was shaking.
Then he felt a hand on his shoulder, and the
master was speaking: "News travels fast, my
boy. We have heard of thy fight at the
Cathedral door, and of how Gherard dealt
thee blows until thou wast nearly overcome.
Already we had suspected who was the thief,
and now, since Gherard is gone and the gold
is here, we understand what caused thy fight.
Therefore, let us all give honor where honor
is due. Men, to Christolphe we owe the good
faith of the shop."
It is not often that a boy is as happy as
Christolphe was that day. The favor of the
masters and the good will of his fellows
warmed him like sunshine after a cold night.
He had done a brave thing and had saved the
day for everyone.
 And not long afterwards he had his reward in
the best way possible. For Duke Philip had
intrusted to Robert Dary and Jean de l'Ortye
the making of one of the most important
tapestries ever given to any shop to
weave,—a tapestry to celebrate the
founding of the Order of the Golden Fleece and
to decorate its meetings. It was to be in
fourteen scenes, made of finest threads of
wool with threads of gold and silver, and the
subject was Gideon and the Golden Fleece.
When the pictures for it came from Bauduin
de Bailleul, the famous designer of Arras, and
the looms were set up and the work began,
Christolphe alone of all the apprentices
was chosen to work on the tapestries with
the older weavers. "For the honesty of
his heart and the skill of his hands is he
chosen," the master had declared.
It took four years to weave the tapestries.
Before they were done, Christolphe had
finished his apprenticeship and had been
acclaimed a master weaver, worthy of the
famous shop. And before they were done he
had made a great discovery and had unriddled
the riddle of the old weaver of Bruges when he
said, "the real Golden Fleece of Flanders, made
from finest wool and threads of gold and men's
sure hands." The real Golden Fleece of Flanders,
what was it but the tapestries woven in her
cities which went through all the world and
brought her wealth and fame and honor? The
Golden Fleece of ancient days was hardly more
prized than were the wonderful weavings of
Flanders in Christolphe's time. Kings and
princes of all lands
 sent to Flanders for these precious pictures.
And so, as Christolphe wove the story of Gideon
for Duke Philip, he liked to call it his Golden
Fleece; and as he recalled the words of the old
friar, "The fleece of Gideon comes to him who
does a worthy deed," again he liked to believe
that in his own experience he had proved it true.
He had done his best for the good faith of the
shop, and he had been given a great chance. He
was now, not perhaps the Knight of the Golden
Fleece that he used to dream about, but something
that satisfied him better still,—a master
weaver of the Golden Fleece of Flanders.
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