Chapter 4:

How Merlin's mother was placed in a tower accompanied by two women until she gave birth

The judges did just as the good man had commanded and put her in a tower designated by the city with two women, and they closed it completely, leaving nothing open but one window through which they gave them their food. And that lady stayed for a time in the tower and had her baby, as it pleased God. And when the child arrived he had the knowledge of the devil, for the devil made him able to know all things done and said, as if he were his son -- which he was, since the devil made him foolishly in her whom God chose for that fate, because God did not wish the child to lose anything he would get from his father. And thus our Lord wanted him to know all things which were to come for the sake of his mother's sanctity, and thusly he was born. And when the women received him they were very afraid, for they saw that he was downier and hairier than any other child, and they showed him to his mother, and when she saw him she marvelled. Then the mother commanded him to be baptized, and they said, "What name shall we give him?"

She said, "Merlin, after his grandfather."

And they went to the windows and let him down carefully, placed in a basket with a rope, and commanded that he be given the name Merlin. And so he was baptized, and his mother cared for him until he was ten months old, and the women marvelled how, being ten months old, he appeared to be ten years old, and they said to his mother, "It is time for us to return to our homes."

"In God's name, ladies, as soon as you go they will punish me."

They said, "We cannot be shut up here for so long."

The mother of the child began to cry and to beg them of their mercy not to go, and she held her child in her arms and cried very much and said, "Ah, my son! For your sake I shall receive death, although I do not deserve it."

When she said this, the child looked at her and said to her, "Do not be afraid, for you will not die."

When the mother heard this her heart weakened and the child fell to the ground and began to cry. The women ran to her when they heard him and said, "How could you let the child fall like that? Did you want to kill him?"

And she replied, as if frightened, "In good faith, my arms failed me because of a marvel he told me, for he told me I would not die for him."

And they raised him and began to fawn on him, and tested him to see if he would talk, but he said nothing until his mother said to the women, "Threaten me, and say that I will be burned because of my child."

Then his mother held him, because she wanted him to talk willingly before the women, and they said that, "It will be a great shame that your lovely body will be burned for such a child."

The child said, "You lie, for my mother made you say that."

And when they heard this they were very badly frightened and they said, "This is no child, but a thoroughgoing devil, knowing as he does what we said to each other."

And they then asked him many things very affectionately, even though the child never chose to answer anything they said, save for telling them, "Leave me be, for you are foolish. In all faith, you are worse sinners than my mother."

And when they heard this, they marveled much, and said, "This marvel cannot be hidden, for we will tell it to the entire world."

And then they went to the windows, and called the people and told about the marvels they had heard from the child, and those who heard it were amazed. And they went to tell it to the judges, and when they heard it they took it for a great marvel, and said that it was now time for them to do justice to his mother, and gave notice that they would judge her in forty days.

When she found this out she sent the news to the good man. So she was until the day arrived when she was to be burned, and the child walked about the tower, and he began to laugh. And the women said to him, "Little you care about the troubles of your mother, who is to be burned this week, and cursed be the hour you were born."

The child said to his mother, "While I live, no one will dare kill you."

And when his mother and the women heard this, they marveled much and said, "This child will be very wise soon, since he can say so much even now."

And so the lady stayed there until the day which was set. Then the women left the tower, and the lady took her son in her arms and took him to the city. And the justices talked with the women, and asked them if it was true that the child spoke. And they said it was, truly. And the judges said, "He will have to know much, if he is to free his mother from death."

The good hermit then arrived there.