The vivid memory of the woods had blossomed into a visceral longing for the Ridge, so immediate that I felt the ghost of my vanished house rise around me, a cold mountain wind thrumming past its walls, and thought that, if I reached down, I could feel Adso's soft gray fur under my fingers. I swallowed, hard.
But is the unicorn a falsehood? It's the sweetest of animals and a noble symbol. It stands for Christ and for chastity; it can be captured only by setting a virgin in the forest, so that the animal, catching her most chaste odor, will go and lay its head in her lap, offering itself as prey to the hunters' snares." "So it is said, Adso. But many tend to believe that it's a fable, an invention of the pagans." "What a disappointment," I said. "I would have liked to encounter one, crossing a wood. Otherwise what's the pleasure of crossing a wood?
And don't succumb too much to the spell of these cases. I have seen many other fragments of the cross, in other churches. If all were genuine, our Lord's torment could not have been on a couple of planks nailed together, but on an entire forest.' 'Master!' I said, shocked. 'So it is, Adso. And there are ever richer treasuries. Some time ago, in the cathedral of Cologne, I saw the skull of John the Baptist at the age of twelve.' 'Really?' I exclaimed, amazed. Then, siezed by doubt, I added, 'But the Baptist was executed at a more advanced age!' 'The other skull must be in another treasury,' William said, with a grave face. I never understood when he was jesting.
In that face, deformed by hatred of philosophy, I saw for the first time the portrait of the Antichrist, who does not come from the tribe of Judas, as his heralds have it, or from a far country. The Antichrist can be born from piety itself, from excessive love of God or of the truth, as the heretic is born from the saint and the possessed from the seer. Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. Jorge did a diabolical thing because he loved his truth so lewdly that he dared anything in order to destroy falsehood.