Life from death

The Martyrs Mirror has a consistent habit of, what they call in the news business, “burying the lead.” Take for example Maria van Beckum who, with her sister-in-law, was burned at the stake in 1544 in Utrecht. The story contains all the usual martyr template plot points and then cuts off as the women are tied to the stake.

It’s not until 32 pages later, in the story of Hans van Monster (awesome name), that we hear why Beckum’s death was particularly poignant. Van Monster’s story abruptly begins talking about a couple of dudes named Bartel and Gerrit, who witnessed van Beckum’s death.

…It occurred that these two young men were present when Mary van Beckum and her sister were offered up in the castle of Delden; and they testified that they heard Mary van Beckum declare publicly before the people, when she was placed at the stake, to be burned, “You shall see this stake at which I am to be burned grow green, by which you may know that it is the truth for which we here suffer and die.” These two young men, who heard this themselves, some time afterwards went of their own accord to the stake, and saw it flourish.

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