When a girl turns thirteen--the end of one sort of enchantment and the beginning of another--even those who know her well might not see she’s begun to receive visions. It’s summer. Dragonflies rise from the fields like a webby winged fog.
Citizens of France, even the children, are busy in this era. Leisure time is centuries off. Yet young Jeanne D’Arc, who is still mostly light, takes a moment sometimes, while her folks nap during the high-hellish dose of the apres-midi, to reel far out into the fields and to plant herself, like a toad, under an elm. There she’s grown ready to reap the beginnings of dreams. They murmur their hot, dust-bearing fingers through her hair and her eyes and her mind.
Do you love your country?
Don’t let the light bewitch you!
Afterward she does not feel beatified. A company of saints has collectively knock-knock-knocked upon her girlish bones. This saint Michael has entered her; also this Catherine and this Margaret. Now she can never again be a lass. Au revoir, toutes mes enfants!
Suit yourself in armor.
Go get your daddy’s blade.
La France is housing strangers.
They must be cut away.