(an outtake from Once More, From the Beginning. This is one of the bits that didn’t make it into the book.)
It would be natural to suppose that the prophet Isaiah’s desire for women had been quite destroyed by his distaste for all things feminine. Not so! In fact he dreamt of a world where each man was pursued by a barrage of females, offering their bodies and their worldly goods if only they could be married – having been convinced that this and this alone would cleanse them of their sins. He had this dream a lot. The women in his nocturnal fantasies had, no doubt, abandoned their flashy clothes and their frivolous jewellery. In fact, they were probably quite naked.
As he roamed the land, conscientiously searching out vain women in order to report their sartorial transgressions to the Lord, Isaiah’s eye eventually fell on a prophetess who was much more to his taste. (We can only assume that she draped herself in unadorned sackcloth and neglected her hair altogether.) An unaccustomed and very physical passion rose up in him, and before it could be quelled by any stray whiff of perfume or strand of natural curl, he trailed her to her lodgings and beat upon the door, proposing in the most perfunctory terms to honour her with his holy seed. Because her thoughts flowed in a more heavenly direction – and because she found him unattractive in so very many ways – the woman respectfully declined his generous offer, insisting that he leave the premises immediately and take his precious seed with him.
Fortunately, he’d had the foresight to bring along two of his most devoted followers to record the glorious occasion for posterity. When their powers of persuasion seemed unlikely to sway her, their four strong arms were usefully employed restraining the screaming, thrashing maiden as the irritated prophet hurried to impregnate her before the mood was completely spoiled.
Isaiah was leaving – in fact, he was half way down the block – when he remembered that he and he alone had the power to cleanse this woman of the terrible sin of fornication. Feeling ever so righteous, he reluctantly returned to offer her the precious boon of marriage.
“Are you decent, yet?” he ventured, peering around the door jamb. “I find that I cannot leave without putting this right.” A damp linen rag narrowly missed his right ear. Despite her distraught condition, the dishevelled victim appeared to have excellent coordination
“You don’t understand,” he explained rather testily, keeping well to the left of the doorway and out of missile range. “I feel it is my sacred duty, at whatever cost to my own delicate sensitivities, to wipe away your sin and make a decent woman of you. Of course, it will be most inconvenient – I have several other pressing commitments – but I am prepared to marry you immediately…allowing you, of course a decent period for prayer and repentance.”
Sadly, the prophetess’ views on the value and sanctity of his suggestion varied dramatically from his own. The differences were quite irreconcilable. She turned him down indignantly and definitely and in the very most colourful language and Isaiah was forced to beat a hasty and most ignominious retreat, dodging the barrage of domestic utensils which she fired after him by way of emphasis.