“I will not instruct you further in these matters, since to be sure the Apple of Knowledge is not far from hence; whereof as soon as you have eaten, you will know all things even as I. But see you make no mistake, for most of the Fruits that hang from that Plant are encased in a Rind, whose taste will abase you even below man; while the part within will make you mount up to be even as the Angels.”
Elijah had come to this point of the teachings of the Seraph, when a little short man came up with us; “This is that Enoch of whom I told you,” said my guide to me apart; and even while he finished the words, Enoch offered us a basketful of I know not what fruits, like to Pomegranates, which he had but discovered that same day in a distant coppice. I took some and put in my pockets, as Elijah bade me. Here-upon Enoch asked him who I might be. “That is a matter,” answered my guide, “to entertain us at more leisure; this evening when we have withdrawn he shall tell us himself of the miraculous particulars of his journey.”
With these words we arrived beneath a sort of Hermitage, made of palm-branches skilfully inter-laced with myrtle and orange-branches. There I saw, in a little nook, great piles of a kind of floss-silk, so white and so delicate that one might take it for the virgin Soul of the snow; and I saw distaffs lying here and there; whereupon I asked my guide what use they served. “To spin,” he answered me; “when the good Enoch would relax his mind from meditation, he applies himself sometimes to dressing this Lady-distaff, sometimes to weaving the cloth from which they make Shifts for the eleven thousand Virgins. Surely in your world you have met with that something white, which flutters on the winds in Autumn about the season of the Winter-sowings. Your peasant-folk call it Our Lady’s Cotton, but it is no other than the Flock that Enoch purges his Linen of, when he cards it.”
We made little delay there, and but barely took leave of Enoch, whom this cabin served for his Cell; in truth what made us leave him so soon was this: that he said some prayer there every six hours; and it was at least that time since he had finished the last one.
As we went forward, I begged Elijah to finish that history , of the Assumptions or Translations; and I said, that he had come, I thought, to that of Saint John the Evangelist.
Then said he to me: “Since you have not the patience, to wait till the Apple of Knowledge teach you all these things better than I can, I will even tell you. Know then that God”
At this word, in some way I know not how, the Devil would have his Finger in that pie; or howsoever it came about, so it was that I could not for-bear Interrupting him with raillery.