Adali’s dark eyes flashed as she attacked a dusty corner with the straw broom. Ursula’s words kept repeating over and over in her mind, “Martin Luther was a heretic. He taught things that contradict the Word of God. Why else would the church condemn him?”

Martin Luther a heretic? What did the kitchen maid know about it? How could she accept the church’s authority so unquestioningly? Adali stopped sweeping for a moment and sighed, brushing a stray strand of dark hair from her forehead with the back of her hand. How could she herself accept Martin Luther’s authority unquestioningly?

She gazed out of the window over the miles of trees that spread in a dark green blanket over the hills. Beyond the forest lay her home town, Eisenach, where Mama and Heinrich and Fritz lived. Had they heard what had happened to Martin Luther?  About a month earlier she, along with the other inhabitants of the castle, had heard that after being condemned for heresy, Dr. Luther had disappeared. Most people believed that he had been executed.

Adali continued her work but in her mind she was at home again. She thought longingly of the time, four years earlier, when she had sat with her mama and papa and brothers around the fire and Papa had read to them. He had managed to obtain some of the German writings of Martin Luther and believed the Reformer’s teaching wholeheartedly. Over the years, Adali had also grown to love and treasure the Biblical truths she learned from Luther and her father. Her faith in God’s love for her through Jesus Christ had given her joy even in the darkest of times.

Now, away from her home and family, she began to feel that it had all been nothing but a pleasant dream. Papa was gone and now Martin Luther had been condemned for being a heretic. Was the Church wrong or had Martin Luther been wrong after all? How could she ever know? She felt as she had felt once when she had been lost in the woods in a thick fog and could not tell which path would lead her home.

She stopped sweeping and glanced around the clean room. That’ll do, she thought to herself and stepped out into the corridor, closing the door behind her. Still thinking about Dr. Luther, she pushed open the door to the next room and was about to start sweeping when she stopped suddenly. She was standing in the forbidden room.

Several weeks earlier a knight, Knight Jörg, had come to stay at the castle. All the servants had been commanded not to disturb him or go into his room. Adali had been so deep in thought that she had entered his room without realizing it. With relief, she remembered that he had ridden out on a hunting expedition with some other noblemen that morning and she knew that he would probably not be back for some time. Standing there, in that mysterious room, she could not resist the chance to have a quick look around.

In one corner, a stood a four poster bed. From the bed, her eyes wandered to a sea-green tile oven which looked out of place on that warm June morning. Close to the oven stood a small desk covered with papers and books. Books!

Adali had never seen such great, beautiful books in her life. She walked softly over to the table and stared at one of the books which lay open. Years earlier, when her Papa was still alive, he had taught her older brother Heinrich to read. As they sat together on the winter evenings and Adali had listened to his lessons, she had also learned to read a little.

But the words in this book were not German. She looked disappointedly at the yellowing pages, staring at the strange shapes of the letters. Could this large, beautiful book be the Bible?

Suddenly, a great longing welled up inside her. If only she could understand it! Then she could find out for herself whether  Luther was right or not. Her eyes scanned the pages on the desk but the ones that were not piled up were all in different languages.

As she turned away in disappointment, she noticed some pages lying on the uncomfortable-looking carved chair which stood close to the desk. The page on top was written in a sprawling, artistic hand and the words were German. Her heart beating wildly, she dared to pick it up. Forgetting everything else, Adali began to study the words, struggling to decipher the handwriting.

Slowly, laboriously, she read, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God…” Adali was not sure what she was reading but a tiny hope had sprung up in her heart. After a few minutes she read these words, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”(Rom 1:1,16-17 KJV) She knew that phrase! Dr. Luther had quoted it in some of the writings that her Papa had read to them. She was reading the Word of God!

Could it be possible? It was as though the sun was melting away the fog and she could see the right path once again. Tears sprang to her eyes as she looked at the open Greek Bible and then again at the page she had just read. She scarcely dared to hope but the more she thought about it the more she thought it must be true. Knight Jörg was translating the Bible into her own language.

Suddenly she realized that she would soon be missed and was about to put the page back on the seat when she noticed that the page underneath the one she had been reading was a letter. It was addressed to “Dr. Martin Luther”. Why would the knight be in possession of such a letter? Adali frowned thoughtfully. Could it be…? A light dawned in her face

Softly, the door to the room creaked open and Adali turned with a start. Knight Jörg stood in the doorway in his great leather riding boots, holding his hat and gloves. His deep-set eyes, which Adali had heard were stern and fiery, looked at her in surprise from above his short, thick beard.

“I…I’m sorry Sir,” Adali stammered, hastily putting down the page. For an instant their eyes met. There was a look of amused acknowledgment in his which was answered by a spark of hope in hers. Dropping a curtsey, Adali hurried from the room with joy in her eyes and a precious secret in her heart.