There were, therefore, prayers in our own language, and in the language of the Holy Church [Latin], addressed to God and to the Blessed, and especially to the Archangel Gabriel, and to St. Bernard of the monks of Chiaravalle [Clairvaux], invoked as protectors of the family. My main interest was at once for the three Latin letters placed at the beginning of the book, and for many pages of notes written in our own language. The first of these was written by hand, on thick, rough paper, addressed to the Abbot of the Monastery of Santa Maria of Chiaravalle, in the Marca Anconitana [Marche region]. I never discovered this man’s name with any certainty, as the paper was folded in four, and at that spot was faded: Rufus, Ulfus or Curtius or some similar brief name. A large seal was placed in the bottom left quarter of the page. In it a Grifon in relief with a few distinguishable letters; two Ns, one S and maybe an H. In colloquial Latin, this writing told of a little boy, about three years of age, with birthmarks on the right buttock and behind the right ear, with light eyes each of a different colour, the right one blue, the other one grey. This child was brought hither by the Monk Benedictus Petri, Theologian and Chaplain at the court of Sweden. The boy was known by the writer of the letter and also by the Swedish Senate as Ericus Erici of the great House of Birger, grandson to the king. In the letter the writer, who knew the Abbot, pleads for the Abbot’s help, as he was related to the little boy through his [the boy’s] Bavarian mother. He implores for the protection of the Holy Church, that it guarantee the safety of the child until order is restored to the kingdom, where he could then return. Gratitude and remuneration were promised, upon the accession of his rights by the child. Of the very long (….?) only Gryps, Suetius, Senator, did I understand with certainty.
The place where this letter was written was Ringstae Castrum [Ringstae Castle], and the time was in July of the year of our Lord 1359. The above are in clear writing, but not the day, which could be in the twenties.
The second letter, very brief, on dark paper, and also written by hand and in Latin, was the reply to one which the Abbot himself wrote to a woman by the name of Brigid, a renowned nun living in Rome. In this letter the nun declares that God would hurl her into the depths of Hell if ever she help the evil blood of Magnus to return to the Swedish throne by way of this little boy.
The third letter is the wordiest of the three and of great interest to Your Lordship particularly, being it the Will of the Monk Benedictus. It is dated December A.D. 1360. In the room with the dying Monk are the Abbot, some monks and a scribe. In the presence of God, under oath, the dying man briefly tells his story. He says he is Benedetto, son of Pietro, in the fiftieth year of his life, a monk in the order of Bernard of Chiaravalle, a noted Theologian, and one of the Chaplains of the court of Blanca, Queen of Sweden. He tells of having discovered, in confession, from a Lady in Waiting, about a plot by the Queen herself, to murder by poisoning, the entire family of Erik, her son, King of Scania and of Sweden. He describes how he kidnapped and hid, with the help of a wet-nurse, the firstborn child of Erik, an infant boy of two, having the same name as his father; how he replaced the boy with the body of another recently dead infant of similar features; how he came to know the fate of the entire family; how he was greatly and very secretly protected by Grips, a powerful man in the Kingdom, in his castles. He continues to recount how, upon the discovery by the evil woman of the deceitful substitution, he had to flee Sweden by night, as she had kept everything quiet inside the Kingdom, but had sent paid assassins to find them. How the two of them had traveled for months with pilgrims towards Rome, dwelling in ten Monasteries, and at least three times escaping the dagger sent by the evil Queen. They had arrived in the Marca Anconitana in the autumn of the year 1360, and he had lived his life according to the dictates of his conscience and the principles of Christian piety. He swore to have told the whole truth. He blessed the little one, entrusting him to the care of the monks and Holy Mother Church, and asked God Almighty to have mercy on his soul.