Grandfather tells the grandchildren about a silver cross
|“You know the Bible story,” Jean-Francois de Roche asked his granddaughter.
She shook her head, “Sorry, grandfather, I don’t.” She looked up at him with big brown, sorrowful and innocent. “Here’s what our family believes what happened.”
“Judas threw the coins at the feet of the Pharisees, the 30 pieces of silver he was given to betray Jesus. They left them on the floor. A servant girl, one who did not believe in the Christ, picked them up. She returned to her quarters. Her sister, a believer, told her the silver is evil, cursed. The girl didn’t believe it. She, though, hid the sack. On the death of Christ and after watching it - she is dragged by her sister - she wanted to throw it away. A stranger came to their quarters and called himself a friend. She told the girl to save the silver, hold it, take good care of it. Confused, the servant girl asked why, why save something that brought death to someone so holy.
“The friend said simply, ‘Out of evil done, good shall come.’ The man left the sisters without another word.”
Jean-Francois took a deep breather before continuing. He noticed that Annette had been joined by her brothers Marc and Luc. He smiled and continued.
“Now this is what we’ve handed down from grandparent to grandchildren. I don’t expect any of you to remember now, but once you’re older, I’ll give you a book of this legend.
“The family held onto the silver, brought it to what is now southern France in 193. For 300 more years, the silver coins were kept hidden. In 493, the matriarch had the silver recast into a small chalice. The cup was in family’s possession until 1236. A foolish man, a man married into the family, sold the chalice to cover gambling debts. He sold it to a priest on his way to a village near Paris.
“The priest whose name is not important never used it during mass. He felt that it was something special, held a greater importance. Upon his death, he gave it to his favorite nephew, a pious man who did not enter the priesthood, his love for his neighbor’s daughter kept his out of service to God. They hid the cup and for more than 400 years the chalice stayed in the family, a most treasured heirloom.
“In 1673, the eldest son was given it, told to make it a better symbol to honor Christ. He chose the silver to be melted and made into a cross. The silver icon stayed with the family, being placed in honor, for another 100 years or so. In 1776, it was in possession of the last surviving member, who brought it with him to America.
“This man, who renamed himself Pierre de Roche, traveled to New York with the engineer Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and assisted him in the battlement engineering of Saratoga and environs, in 1777. He followed the Polish hero to the South, all along the silver cross was prominent. After the war of Independence, de Roche settled back in New York, having fallen in love with a farmer’s daughter he met while in Bemis Heights. The cross, however, was lost as the newlyweds made their new home in the Schoharie Valley, New York, sometime in April of 1784.
“De Roche, that’s our name,” Annette said proudly.
“Of course, it is, silly,” Luc chided.
Grandfather looked at him and silently ended the teasing.
“Do you know where the cross is?” Marc inquired.
Grandfather sighed and wiped his face. He needed a few moments to think of something that would satisfy them. They were too young to know that the de Roche’s knew of the cross’s significance, to the Catholic church and to those who used the dark magic. He did not want them to know that magic existed, did not want them to know that witch covens would harm those who kept them from it.
Jean-Francois shook his head. “If I did, I’d go find it. I bet it would help pay for more farmland.” The grandchildren laughed.
“You’re always thinking about more land,” his granddaughter declared through laughter.