A group of flaggelants bemoan the slaughter of the innocents, which is itself portrayed onstage. The slaughter is followed by a maddened mother addressing a wooden figurine representing the Madonna. The mother asks God how many innocents, including her child, need be slaughtered so Jesus can live. Then she spots what she says is her child, who has survived, and shows him to the wooden Madonna. It is a lamb.
Two beggars, one blind and one crippled, cooperate. The blind man carries the cripple, who spots Christ being flagellated. The cripple has heard that Jesus performs miraculous cures, so he wants to get away to avoid losing his affliction, which enables him to beg successfully. The blind man will not move, however, and both are cured as Christ passes. One rhapsodizes about his restored vision; the other bemoans his repaired legs.
A print of Christ as a Bacchus-like figure appears beside an angel recounting Christ’s first miracle at the marriage at Cana. The angel is interrupted by a drunk, who says Jesus transformed water not for the benefit of others but simply to enjoy the wine himself. The drunk describes a semi-inebriated Christ jumping on the table and exhorting the wedding guests to drink up.
A peasant successfully plants fallow land. A priest rules that the land belongs to a noble, but the peasant refuses to yield the land he has planted. His barn and animals are burned; his wife is raped before his children, who go on to die. Despondent, the peasant decides to hang himself. Christ passes by and asks for water, however, and, when he is sated, he gives the peasant the wit and eloquence to convey Christ’s message. He uses this power and intelligence to become a jongleur, or itinerant folk-actor
A peasant is born to sleep on the floor. His months of toil are prescribed in poetry: January, muck out the barn; February, sweat in the fields; and so forth. All he owns or does is taxed. A postscript informs the audience that paradise on earth is for bosses; for farmers or laborers, paradise comes after death. In the next scene, based on a picture of a pickpocket at the opening of Lazarus’s tomb, a bet is taken on whether Christ can revive...
(The entire section is 901 words.)