Martin Luther and Katie

(Home of Martin Luther. Rainy, stormy fall evening. Luther and friend at table. Katie is sweeping. Luther has pen and ink: occasionally becomes thoughtful and writes stuff down.)

Ted: Yup, another rainy, stormy night (Kicks back, Luther groans.) Yup. Hey, cat got your tongue? You bothered?

Luther: Na- ah, just the weather. O-oh, hate that lightning!

Ted: Hey, just relax. Need more beer?

Luther: Yeah – Hey Katie, more beer please.

(Katie refills his stein. Knock at the door. In bursts Dieter, wet, cold. Takes off Jacket.)

Dieter: Good evening Herr Luther, we're having quite a storm.

Luther come in, have a seat. Katie, get the man a beer. (Dieter hands Katie his coat. She's not pleased, shakes out coat, lays it aside, sweeps up mess.)

Katie: (Muttering) Our father which art in heaven . . .

(Men sit, mumble introductions.)

Dieter: Wow, that was a close call. I was almost hit by that lightning bolt. Hey Martin, weren't you almost hit by lightning once?

Ted: I heard about that. Tell us about it.

Luther: (Painful memory) Yeah . . .(Goes on to tell his lightning bolt story)

Ted: So that's how you became a monk?

Luther: yeah, funny how God speaks sometimes. And I was a good monk, had great prospects. Even got to Rome and did all those steps on the Via de le Rosa on my knees – don't do stairs much any more. I was determined to help God with my salvation. (Three men chuckle. Knock on the door. Katie steps out, returns)

Katie: (Mysteriously) Martin, another barrel of fish has arrived. (in walks a disheveled nun, embarrassed, relieved.)

Luther: Welcome, welcome (stands). How do you do? I'm Martin Luther, and these are my friends Dieter and Ted.

Fide: And I'm Fide!

Luther: Did you come Solo Fide?

Fide: Oh, Yes. I came alone as I could persuade no one else to join me. (to both) you have quite a mansion here.

Luther: (modestly) Well, more like a fortress. (Knocks on mantle)

Katie: Why don't I show you to a room where you can change and rest. (notices dirty floor) More like a muddy fortress . . . No, it's okay, I'll sweep it up later. (starts mumbling. "Our father, which art . . ." Katie shows Fide out stage left.)

Dieter: She was dressed like a nun! And what a name! Did she come with that barrel of fish?

Luther: I believe she came in it (Laughs) Dieter, where have you been, man? This is the best way to get a wife! (Katie returns still mumbling the Lord's Prayer. The men quickly sober up).

Luther: Haven't you heard how my Katie escaped her convent after she read some of my writings? (Hug) Why, she and her friends sweet-talked the local fishmonger into hiding them in barrels on his wagon and he brought them straight to me! The other women are happily married here in town, and Katie stayed with me. (lower tone) She's my manager as well as my wife.

Ted: So how is marriage for a former monk and a former nun, Katie?

Katie: This bulwark (Nudges Luther) hasn't failed me yet!

Luther: Bulwark! I thought I was your knight in shining armor!

Katie: Let's see, Knight George, wasn't it? I really would like to see you in a beard again! Beards make a man look so handsome! (smiles, moves away quickly to sweep some more.)

Luther: Handsome! . . .

Ted: Hey, Martin. Tell Dieter about you stint as a knight.

Luther: Those were hard days. Didn't slay any dragons. Spent most of my days locked up, doing battle with the Greek New Testament.

Dieter: So when was this?

Ted: Yes, indulge us!

Luther: Well, I was trying to be a good monk when this guy Tetzel got the best of me. He worked for the church of Rome and sold indulgences which he promised would get dead people out of purgatory, safely into heaven, at least for some time. Can you believe it? I knew he was wrong, being greedy for the church of Rome, so I wrote up some reasons why I Disagreed with the whole practice.

Dieter: The ninety-five theses?

Luther: Yup. Boy, did I ever open a can of worms (chuckle), which is exactly where they sent me off to when the church got wind of my concerns.

Ted: (to Dieter) That's the Diet of worms!

Dieter: What?

Luther: (Laughing) Part of becoming a knight, you know . . Na-ah. Just kidding. It was some grand council meeting of the church of Rome in the city of Worms where I thought they wanted to ask me some questions. Turns out the holy Roman Emperor Charles the fifth was there and all they wanted to know was whether I'd deny all the books I'd written. Well, I wasn't about to do that, so I was condemned as a heretic. That meant I was kicked out of the church of Rome, and if anyone attacked or killed me they got off free!

As I was returning home from the meeting, thankful I hadn't been burned at the stake, I was kidnapped by armed horsemen and taken to Wartburg castle where Prince Frederick had arranged a secret room for me to hide in.

Dieter: So was Prince Frederick a friend or an enemy?

Luther: Oh, he believed in what I was doing, and he wanted to keep me safe so he made it appear that I'd been taken off by bandits, so it would look like I'd gotten what I'd deserved. Anyway, no one looked for me in Wartburg castle, and I was so convincing as Knight George, I even had my buddy come and paint my portrait, and he didn't recognize me! (laugh) Hey, Katie, where is that portrait?

Katie: I think you gave it away.

Luther Gave it away!

Katie: Don't you remember when Herr Heinrich came to you asking if you'd help him raise money to establish a home for former (recovering) nuns? You gave him that portrait and told him to raffle it off!

Luther: Did I? Oh well!

Ted: Well, Martin. Thank you for the stories this evening.

Dieter: Yes! Well, I'd better be going . . .

Luther: Don't go out in that weather! Why don't you spend the night here! Ted, show him the room next to yours. Ted's put a name plate on his door. (Men exit stage left)

Katie: (whispered anger) Martin, that makes another guest for breakfast, and I'm out of food! Martin, I haven't the money to feed us, and you continue to invite guests! Guests who stay on, and on! I need money!

Luther: Do we have something we can pawn?

Katie: Nope.

Luther: How about that pretty vase we got for our wedding, you know the blue delft one with the handles?

Katie: You gave that to one of your poor students years ago. He had a debt he couldn't pay.

Luther: Oh yeah, I remember. Got any wedding silver left?

Katie: Nope!

Luther: Well, don't you worry. I'll get to work on it. You head on to bed, and I'll be there in a while . . .

Katie: Oh, alright. (starts for the broom to finish sweeping. Luther stops her.)

Luther: Get, get. I'll do that. (takes broom)

Katie: O-o-Kay . . . Goodnight. (exits, yawning. Luther begins to sweep, chuckles)

Luther: Muddy fortress . . . (Leans on broom, staring into the distance. Lights fade. From off-stage the melody to "A Mighty Fortress" is hummed.)