Sunday, May 25, 2014

Infancy: The Mule

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.


The Mule


THEY came afterwards to another city and had a mind to lodge there. Accordingly they went to a man's house, who was newly married, but by the influence of sorcerers could not enjoy his wife: but they lodging at his house that night, the man was freed of his disorder: and when they were preparing early in the morning to go forward on their journey, the new married person hindered them and provided a noble entertainment for them.

But going forward on the morrow, they came to another city and saw three women going from a certain grave with great weeping. When St. Mary saw them, she spake to the girl who was their companion, saying, "Go and inquire of them: what is the matter with them, and what misfortune has befallen them?"

When the girl asked them, they made her no answer but asked her again, "Who are ye, and where are ye going? For the day is far spent, and the night is at hand."

"We are travellers," saith the girl, "and are seeking for an inn to lodge at."

They replied, "Go along with us, and lodge with us."

They then followed them and were introduced into a new house, well furnished with all sorts of furniture. It was now winter-time, and the girl went into the parlour where these women were,and found them weeping and lamenting, as before.

By them stood a mule, covered over with silk, and an ebony collar hanging down from his neck, whom they kissed, and were feeding.

But when the girl said, "How handsome, ladies, that mule is!" they replied with tears, and said, "This mule, which you see, was our brother, born of this same mother as we: for when our father died, and left us a very large estate, and we had only this brother, and we endeavoured to procure him a suitable match and thought he should be married as other men, some giddy and jealous woman bewitched him without our knowledge. And we, one night, a little before day, while the doors of the house were all fast shut, saw this our brother was changed into a mule, such as you now see him to be: and we, in the melancholy condition in which you see us, having no father to comfort us, have applied to all the wise men, magicians, and diviners in the world, but they have been of no service to us. As often therefore as we find ourselves oppressed with grief, we rise and go with this our mother to our father's tomb, where, when we have cried sufficiently we return home."

When the girl had heard this, she said, "Take courage and cease your fears, for you have a remedy for your afflictions near at hand, even among you and in the midst of your house, For I was also leprous, but when I saw this woman, and this little infant with her, whose name is Jesus, I sprinkled my body with the water with which his mother had washed him, and I was presently made well. And I am certain that he is also capable of relieving you under your distress. Wherefore, arise, go to my mistress, Mary, and when you have brought her into your own parlour, disclose to her the secret, at the same time, earnestly beseeching her to compassionate your case."

As soon as the women had heard the girl's discourse, they hastened away to the Lady St. Mary, introduced themselves to her, and sitting down before her, they wept and said, "O our Lady St. Mary, pity your handmaids, for we have no head of our family, no one older than us, no father, or brother to go in and out before us. But this mule, which you see, was our brother, which some woman by witchcraft have brought into this condition which you see: we therefore entreat you to compassionate us."

(mule)

Hereupon St. Mary was grieved at their case and, taking the Lord Jesus, put him upon the back of the mule and said to her son, "O Jesus Christ, restore (or heal) according to thy extraordinary power this mule, and grant him to have again the shape of a man and a rational creature, as he had formerly."

This was scarce said by the Lady St. Mary, but the mule immediately passed into a human form, and became a young man without any deformity. Then he and his mother and the sisters worshipped the Lady St. Mary and, lifting the child upon their heads, they kissed him, and said, "Blessed is thy mother, O Jesus, O Saviour of the world! Blessed are the eyes which are so happy as to see thee."

Then both the sisters told their mother, saying, "Of a truth our brother is restored to his former shape by the help of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the kindness of that girl, who told us of Mary and her son. And inasmuch as our brother is unmarried, it is fit that we marry him to this girl their servant."

When they had consulted Mary in this matter, and she had given her consent, they made a splendid wedding for this girl. And so their sorrow being turned into gladness, and their mourning into mirth, they began to rejoice. and to make merry, and sing, being dressed in their richest attire, with bracelets.

Afterwards they glorified and praised God, saying, "O Jesus, son of David who changest sorrow into gladness and mourning into mirth!"

After this Joseph and Mary tarried there ten days, then went away, having received great respect from those people, who, when they took their leave of them, and returned home, cried, but especially the girl.




(1000 words)


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