11 Now, when the people heard these things, they were amazed. John's disciples, hearing them, questioned these things, and sent two emmisaries to John, saying, "Are these things that He says true?"
12 John answered then with much anger, saying, "Why is it that you question me? Go away and trouble me no more. I have told you to listen to Him, that He is The One. I was but a voice calling in the wilderness to tell of Him Now my hour is done. Go back unto all of your brethren and tell them 'John has said He is The One.' Do not come seeking John any more, for he will not be here."
13 The disciples went away, weeping, for they understood what John was saying....that he was about to die.
14 True that it was, for Herod's wife had brought down her daughter. Though she was his brother's child Herod had always lusted for her.
15 Her mother told her, "Tonight dance for Herod, for he desires greatly your youth and your virginity. When you are done dancing, if he rises up and says 'follow me,' speak unto him and say 'I will do so, lord, if tomorrow you will give to me whatever I desire if it is within your power.'
16 But if he will not make that pledge, give him not what he wants. But if he makes it give him all that is yours to give."
17 The girl did as she was bid and she danced as she had never danced before. When she was done not only Herod, but every man there burned for her.
18 Herod rose and cried "Follow me!"
19 Before all there to witness the girl made her bargain. And Herod agreed.
20 He entered into her with such force that she wept bitterly, for she had known no man before, but the next morning she rose up and came before Herod. Herod was still joyous in his pleasure and said unto her "What is it you will have?"
21 The girl's mother whispered in her ear and she answered,, "Give me the head of John who lies about my mother. Give it to me on a silver platter, that I might present it to her and end her shame."
22 When Herod heard this he gave a great cry, and rent his garment. "Ask another thing," he cried, "ask TWO things, and I will grant them. But withdraw this request."
23 "I will have nothing else!" the girl cried at her mother's urging. "Keep your word as you promised, and give me my heart's desire."
24 Herod's wrath against his niece was great, but he knew he was trapped. He pointed to his executioner and cried "Go and fulfill her desire! Give unto her that that she wishes."
25 So it was John was slain. Herod's wrath against his niece would not soften. He watched her closely and when her time of bleeding came, entered into her chamber with two eunuchs and examined her.
26 When he was sure it was true that she bled, he said to the eunuchs, "Wait until the day after her bleeding stops, then have her don the garments that she wore when she tempted me, and no more. Then take her far out into the wilderness beyond my land. In the morning tell her to continue a day's journey in the direction she is going, but after that time she may go in any direction that she wishes except in that direction from which she has come.
27 Be it known that if she ever enters into my land again a sharp knife is to be put in her, and she is to be split from crotch to throat. Her blood will not be on my hands. It shall be to God if she perishes, or, if she lives. 28 So it was Herod cast out his niece to her fate.
29 Now when Augustine heard what had happened his anger against Herod was a great wrath. He called forth his sons, his son's sons and, the sons of John.
30 He made them all kneel and swear a bitter oath that they would set their hearts against the house of Herod, that they would seek vengeance on every member of that house until John was avenged, and the blood of Herod was no more.
31 From that day forth Herod and his children were doomed. For the sons of Augustine and the sons of John would meet his descendants in battle and slay them until the line of Herod was no more.
JOHN GRANTS FORGIVENESS
Now John's eldest son Herculinus heard that Herod would put out his neice and hastened to the palace with provisions for a journey and watched the comings and goings until he saw the eunuchs taking the girl into the wilderness. He followed them to avenge his father.
2 As the girl was so lightly clad the eunuchs took pity on her and let her share their blankets at night, for they were kind men at heart, and did not want to see her suffer.
3 But they dared not disobey Herod, for they knew his wrath and had no place to flee from him.
4 When they had taken the girl well into the wilderness one day they told her to go off and not return the way she had come.
5 Herculinus let her journey on in her misery for half a day before he came down and confronted her. "Prepare yourself, woman," he cried, "for the Judgment of God is at hand, and you are about to be given unto Him."
6 The girl answered him, saying, "Sir, I am not unpleasant to look upon. Why slay me? I am cast out by Herod. I have no place to go. I can do nothing but serve your wishes. What profit you that you slay me?"
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