“Among my kindred,” she explained, “the covering implies a submission, but not to each other.

“When Jonas Baer founded the Quiet Way, from the beginning all the trolls were to be the same: equality – ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus’. We reverence and love and heed the holy Word – we hold it sacred: and, when we rightly divided the holy Word, we came to (in our eyes) the truth that history came into its making as well as the living breath of God. We believe we are faithful to its meaning and message when we make allowance for the way things were at the time of its writing, and the people among whom by God’s grace and inspiration it was formed. Also, we recognise that part of the teaching of the holy Word is about the way things change and grow. In both the testaments, the story of the people of God is about seeking and finding the living Spirit in unexpected places – among the Gentiles, not just among the Jews, among the poor and weak, not just among the successful, among the outcasts and the sinners, not just among the righteous and upright.”

Flo paused, looking a little anxiously at Eb to see how this was being received. He looked thoughtful: and was in fact reflecting on the teaching of the holy Apostle Paul, that a Sister’s place was to be silent and learn – anything she failed to understand in the meeting of the Kindred, her husband would explain to her at home. Eb thought Flo’s husband might have his work cut out for him.

He smiled at Flo. “Carry on,” he said.

“Well – so, at the beginning of the Quiet Way, all the trolls wore their hair free, no hats; for a sign of equality and believing that the clothing of Bible days was for the people then, though the Spirit was the same, and the principles of modesty and dignity should be carried on. But a feeling came about among some of the Sisters that they wanted to wear the covering. It wasn’t for submission to their husbands; it wasn’t even exactly submission at all. They saw God more as a redeemer who loves us than as a warrior-king who dominates us – though they did, and still do, call God ‘Lord’.”

“The ones who took the covering – and it wasn’t insisted on for everyone, it was voluntary; still is today, you don’t have to wear it, though it caught on in a big way – but the ones who took the covering had taken a particular vow.

“Among the Kindred of the Quiet Way, the covering is called a Humble Hat

“Sisters began to wear it at a time when a lot of contention had arisen. There were conflicting interpretations of the holy Word, differences of opinion about the land use on the community farm, arguments and suspicion about the right handling and sharing of worldly wealth. And this wasn’t just healthy difference – it had a flavour of bitterness about it, as here and there among the Kindred folk got an attachment to being right. I guess wherever trolls gather in community, sooner or later conflict will begin.

Eb nodded. He knew this was so. Flo continued her story: