In this powerful, poetic, and moving parable, the Wandering Jew of medieval Christian legend journeys to Delphi to consult the famed oracle of the pagans. He is turned away, but not before learning that one of the most adept of the old priestesses, or sibyls, lives in disgrace in the mountains above the temple. In her rude goat-hut he seeks the meaning of his disastrous brush with the son of God. She reveals that she, too, has been touched by the son of a god—a very different son, not quite human, born of her own body. He dwells with her as a constant reminder of the betrayal of her mystical and erotic union with the divine: her punishment, and perhaps, her redemption.
Lagerkvist is an author of plays, poetry, and fiction. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1951.