Please, father, eat something…

A certain old man had been sick for a long time, and for many days he neither ate nor drank. For his disciple, seeing that he had not eaten anything for so many days, took pity on him and begged of him, saying: “Please, Father, eat something while a little and your taste will open up again and you will cool down from the illness.”

And immediately making a fire, he started to cook some food for him. For he had two vessels: in one he had a little honey, and in another a little hemp oil, which he had kept for a long time for the candle and which was rancid, bitter and stinking.

So, the brother wanted to take a little honey to sweeten the dishes he had made for his old man, he did not consider well from which vessel to take it, and instead of taking honey he made a mistake and took rancid and bitter oil, and put it in the dishes to his old man, and took it to the old man asking him to taste it. And the old man took a bite and tasted it, immediately he knew his brother’s mistake and kept silent, not knowing anything.

The brother earnestly begged him to taste at least once or twice. But the old man didn’t want to taste anymore, saying: “Enough, son”. The brother, however, forced him to taste more, saying: “Please, taste more, Father, because I made you very good dishes. Here I am going to eat with you”. And taking with the spoon and tasting, then he saw what he had done and falling at the feet of the old man, he said to him: “I am bitter. What have I done? Forgive me, Father, that I did you wrong. I did not know. Instead of honey I put rancid and bitter oil in your dishes and I ruined you and you didn’t tell me when you took a taste, considering perhaps, that I have done this, putting that sin on myself”.

The old man said to him: “Don’t be disgusted by this, son, because if God wanted you to put honey in my dishes, you would have put honey, and now, what God wanted, that’s what you put”.

And when the old man said this, he immediately felt completely healthy and, getting up from his bed, thanked God, comforting his disciple as well.

Excerpt from the Egyptian Patericon.

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