Challenge #01031-B299: I Love in Spite of You

Someone who is a good person, who does nothing but good deeds out of spite. They hate someone, something so much that they go down in history as a saint. -- SeaDragon1012

Peleramus inherited a little less than an acre from his father, and despised him for it. A little less than an acre meant that he had to pay taxes on it, but could not live on it. His father had hated him, too, because there was nowhere 'worth' living in for miles around.

Peleramus sold everything else he owned and purchased a nearby cavern for a pittance. Then he planted apples and walnuts throughout the acre. Corner to corner, wall to wall. All was apples, walnuts, chives, nasturtiums and sundry other herbs.

All plants that his father despised.

Any traveller was welcome to share a bed in his cave. And when Peleramus wasn't tending his land, he was carving guest spaces out of the living rock. He hit a salt deposit, by pure chance. And hosted a large swarm of bees. The smoke from green herbs made them calm down so he could harvest a seasonal comb or two.

He gave away the products of his toil, and never accepted a coin from the wanderers who came his way. In fact, he frequently added coin to his guests' purses.

All because his father hated generosity. His father hated mendicants. His father hated hospitality.

It wasn't long before the mendicants declared him to be a man of God. Well and good for Peleramus, who knew his father hated the Christians as much as he hated the Jews. Peleramus welcomed them all. And tried to only teach his guests how to share and be generous.

Passing women who did not want their babies left them behind when they travelled. Others who had been praying for a child took the babies with them. Peleramus had to keep at least a couple of goats, just in case such transfers took time.

Soldiers came, of course. Looking for a saint of the mountains. But they found neither the sign of the cross nor the sign of the fish(1) in his chambers and let him go with a warning. Of course, it helped that Peleramus fed them all from his bountiful stores. Nothing warmed the heart of a soldier faster than home cooking with fresh ingredients. And nothing prompted absent-mindedness faster than apple cider and honey.

When he received the news that his oldest brother had died, thus allowing some inheritance to trickle down, Peleramus refused. He gave a long oratory in the courts about how he had no further need than what his honoured father had given him. It was so passionate that many took it down as a form of gospel and quoted it frequently.

His father had wanted him to be greedy and grasping, just like all his other brothers. His father hated windbags in the court. His father hated pious types who refused their due.

Peleramus cackled all the way home.

Many young women wanted to be his wife. He set them all to the same work he did daily, and never kept one in his life past one winter. Their loss. If they couldn't join him in his efforts, then they would not enjoy his life or his victories.

Besides, his father also hated those who took a vow of celibacy.

He had quite the following when he finally grew too old and sick to tend his field. His followers plied him with herbs and food and comfort. Sought words of wisdom from his wrinkled lips.


Only Tatina of Meggudah heard his last words. Which were perplexing.

"Rest on a thousand barbs, sweet Daderun of Ptolemy..."

She later found pots and pots of scrolls in his personal storeroom. Filled from edge to edge with hateful diatribes against his father. Daderun of Ptolemy.

It was the middle of the night, so nobody else was awake to stop her feeding every last scroll to the banked fires of his ovens. Let this hate go to hell. It would not do to let such a man of love and tolerance be known as a spiteful man who did every act of generosity out of hate.

She whispered into the fire, "Rest on a thousand barbs, the hatred of Peleramus the Saint."

For the rest of her life, she would be the loudest of his defenders.

(1) For those not fully versed in Christianity: ICTHUS used to be used as an acronym for Jesus [it works in Greek, I think] and drawing a fish used to be the way to show you were a follower, back when Christianity was underground.

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