20. St. Peter and Paul Church, East Harling, East window, Nativity,
With no room left at the inn in Bethlehem, Mary gives birth to
Jesus in humble quarters. Surrounded by an ox and an ass, with hay
at their feet, all look on in wonder at the radiant child lying in the
manger. The luminous glow of the baby Jesus is equally reflected
in the face, hair, and halo of his mother, kneeling before him in admiration.
The magical bond between mother and child is clearly represented by this
mirroring effect. Set directly below the guiding light of the star, the
central figures of mother and child are flanked by Joseph, on the right,
and two women, on the left. Joseph, whose face has been lost, is
the less curious of the two. The women, poised with their hands folded
in prayer, quite possibly represent midwives. Second century legend
postulates a midwife at the scene of the Nativity. A bit later, two
midwives named Zebel and Salome are proposed to have assisted the Virgin
at the Nativity. This window may have been constructed on the basis
of this later theory.