Infancy: Curing the Leprosy

This story is part of the Infancy Gospels unit. Story source: The Lost Books of the Bible, edited by Rutherford H. Platt, Jr. (1926): The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ.

In this place they abode three days, meeting with the greatest respect and most splendid entertainment. And being then furnished by the people with provisions for the road, they departed and went to another city, in which they were inclined to lodge because it was a famous place.

There was in this city a gentlewoman who, as she went down one day to the river to bathe, behold: cursed Satan leaped upon her in the form of a serpent, and folded himself about her belly, and every night lay upon her.

This woman seeing the Lady St. Mary, and the Lord Christ the infant in her bosom, asked the Lady St. Mary that she would give her the child to kiss and carry in her arms. When she had consented, and as soon as the woman had moved the child, Satan left her and fled away, nor did the woman ever afterwards see him. Hereupon all the neighbours praised the Supreme God, and the woman rewarded them with ample beneficence.

On the morrow the same woman brought perfumed water to wash the Lord Jesus, and when she had washed him, she preserved the water.

And there was a girl there, whose body was white with a leprosy, who, being sprinkled with this water and washed, was instantly cleansed from her leprosy.

The people therefore said, "Without doubt Joseph and Mary and that boy are Gods, for they do not look like mortals."

And when they were making ready to go away, the girl, who had been troubled with the leprosy, came and desired they would permit her to go along with them; so they consented, and the girl went with them till they came to a city, in which was the palace of a great king, and whose house was not far from the inn.

Here they staid and, when the girl went one day to the prince's wife and found her in a sorrowful and mournful condition, she asked her the reason of her tears.

She replied, "Wonder not at my groans, for I am under a great misfortune, of which I dare not tell any one."

"But," says the girl, "if you will entrust me with your private grievance, perhaps I may find you a remedy for it."

"Thou, therefore," says the prince's wife, "shalt keep the secret, and not discover it to any one alive! I have been married to this prince, who rules as king over large dominions, and lived long with him before he had any child by me. At length I conceived by him, but alas! I brought forth a leprous son which, when he saw, he would not own to be his, but said to me, 'Either do thou kill him, or send him to some nurse in such a place that he may be never heard of, and now take care of yourself; I will never see you more.' So here I pine, lamenting my wretched and miserable circumstances. Alas, my son! Alas, my husband! Have I disclosed it to you?"

The girl replied, "I have found a remedy for your disease, which I promise you, for I also was leprous, but God hath cleansed me, even he who is called Jesus, the son of the Lady Mary."

The woman inquiring where that God was whom she spake of, the girl answered "He lodges with you here in the same house."

"But how can this be?" says she; "where is he?"

"Behold, "replied the girl, "Joseph and Mary, and the infant who is with them is called Jesus: and it is he who delivered me from my disease and torment."

"But by what means," says she, "were you cleansed from your leprosy? Will you not tell me that?"

"Why not?" says the girl; "I took the water with which his body had been washed and poured it upon me, and my leprosy vanished."

The prince's wife then arose and entertained them, providing a great feast for Joseph among a large company of men. And the next day took perfumed water to wash the Lord Jesus, and afterwards poured the same water upon her son, whom she had brought with her, and her son was instantly cleansed from his leprosy.

Then she sang thanks and praises unto God, and said, "Blessed is the mother that bare thee, O Jesus! Dost thou thus cure men of the same nature with thyself with the water with which thy body is washed?"

She then offered very large gifts to the Lady Mary, and sent her away with all imaginable respect.

(800 words)

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