Is it true, Gisela asked Gerbert, that at a time before our time there were no children at all. How so, said the monk. Because we were born already fully shaped and perfectly groomed, said the girl, from birth to death to Heaven. And where does this idea come from, said Gerbert – not from studying the bible, I presume. No, she said, I dreamt it. I dreamt that there was no play, only work: infinite numbers of men and women were weaving an endless tapestry without knowing why or if they could ever stop. Surely for the glory of God, said Gerbert, who’d begun to roll his rosary, and surely only until the Day of Judgement. I’m not sure, said Gisela, I’m not sure at all. She smiled and returned to her handiwork. The monk looked at her sideways, quickly running the wooden pearls through his fingers. The girl’s mind struck him as spidery and he wondered if there was a spider goddess anywhere in the Lord’s kingdom and if it might assume the shape of a young woman.