Anthony’s anger came to a boil slowly. Then, at the remembrance of his own guilt as a thief of clothing and food, his ears felt hot. But that was different, he thought. Or was it? He looked up and mumbled, “Dear Lord, forgive me if I have sinned.”
The half-eared thief reached inside his shirt and pulled out a knife. When Anthony saw this, he shoved his way through the crowd, swung his staff, and knocked the knife out of the thief’s hand. The thief turned to attack and Anthony gave him two blows to the head, right and left. The thief fell, dazed. Anthony knocked the pitted thief to the ground with a strong blow to the back of the head. The crowd applauded. The singer turned, scooped up his hat, surcoat, and the lute, and fled in a blur of red and yellow stripes. Frightened that the two thieves would kill him, Anthony followed.
The singer was fifty yards ahead of Anthony by the time he reached the bridge that marked the edge of town. He looked back at Anthony and slowed down. Anthony caught up and they ran together into the countryside before they slowed to a walk. They looked back to be sure they had not been followed.
Out of breath, the minstrel panted, “I think it... unlikely... that they will follow us... since they still have... the money... they stole. I thank you, my friend... I owe you... a great deal, perhaps even my life... so please, tell me how I can repay my debt to you.”
Anthony noticed the man’s broken front tooth and a badly scarred cheek, but his brown eyes bespoke gentleness. The man’s black and curly hair hung to his shoulder, and his skin was deeply browned and wrinkled from weathering in sun.