Thursday, June 5, 2014

Leper

Renaissance Faire 2014-05-25 25 BW

We were sitting on a bench near the end of our visit to the Renaissance Faire, giving Madeleine a snack. When I looked up I saw a man wrapped in bandages, a bell tied to his left hand, walking with what looked like a painful gait. What was this?

It hit me: a leper. This member of the Faire cast was playing a leper. Nothing I will ever see. No idea if this was an ordinary occurrence in Europe half a millennium ago but there I was, gazing at a replica.

I didn't know how to react. It felt cruel to stare but it was just an actor. The man had no actual disease but still it made me cringe. Should I walk over and talk to him about his role? Should I leave him alone? In the end I just sat there and took pictures. Later, I felt ashamed that I hadn't gotten off my rear and made contact.

Note the man on the right, looking through and past the leper-actor. I wonder how he felt.                             

10 comments:

Siddhartha Joshi said...

I agree its not an easy emotion...we sometimes see real lepers in this part of the world, and they are accepted as part of life, though no one actually makes any contact with them. It certainly is cruel...

cieldequimper said...

I'm not sure they would have walked around bandaged at the time in Europe but the bell would certainly have been carried...

Luis Gomez said...

Interesting image Bob. One to reflect.

William Kendall said...

It makes for a stark image, and quite a different addition to the proceedings.

Halcyon said...

That is an odd sight...

Virginia said...

I wouldn't beat myself up over this. It is role playing I presume. Now if you were in biblical times, get off your rear and help this guy!

Jack said...

I don't know what I would have done if I had encountered a guy playing the role of a leper, but I strongly suspect my jaw would have dropped open.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

This does seem to bring rather a sombre note to an otherwise jolly affair Bob.. but when you think about it.. that's life oui.. there are always uncomfortable situations in our daily life, many that afterwards we wish we had reacted differently to.

Stefan Jansson said...

That will make you think.

Nathalie Beaumes said...

You're right Bob, the bell at his wrist signals a leper. Like you I would have felt uncomfortable seeing this reminder of one of the saddest aspects of the middle ages - people with diseases that no doctor could cure and whose transmission remained mysterious enough to scare the hell out of others. The Middle Ages wasn't only about fire spitting and sword swallowing - there were also lots of crippled beggars and this man was a chilling reminder of this.

You analyzed correctly that oing out and talking to him would have been the only way to soothe your soul. But I know how it feels, not daring to talk to people in the street and then regretting the missed opportunity.