Markito Scriptor

Markito was a foundling, who one evening appeared at the refectory door, just as the sun was setting. He looked a bedraggled little thing, scrawny and big-eyed from hunger, a few filthy rags scarcely covering his nakedness. He made no sound with his voice, but was able through gestures and droll expressions to communicate crudely with the brothers ["refector" in the original — Ed.], who took loving care of him for a week or so before presenting him to the Superius Frater, at that time an old man named Egderus.

Brother Egderus seemed suspicious at first, but gradually was won over by the boy's sweet temper, good spirits, and clear intelligence, in spite of the fact that he could not (or would not) speak. The brothers called him Markito — tiny mark or spot — and in the end Egderus, who was losing his eyesight, agreed to employ him as his secretary.

Somehow, contrary to what might have been expected from his original appearance, Markito had already mastered the rudiments of writing, though he had to be taught to spell...