Once in the land of Harran, beyond the Love-loss tree, in the valley of Hidden Blame, at the end of the river of Misbegotten Hope, at the very center of the kingdom ruled by King Cheval, was a grand and spacious castle, topped by rising towers, golden spires, cockled ramparts, banners of blazing red and emerald green. Here lived the Princess Trella, up in her high tower overlooking the valley. She gazed out of her window, over her father’s great kingdom and as the Sun made the granite bricks sparkle, looked upon the magnificent meadow and stream below, it all looked so fine and beautiful to her, almost godly and divine, all this her father ruled, all this her father’s domain.
Everyone within the castle walls was fond of the girl, she was ever kind and pleasant, loving and gentle, and the model image of goodness and beauty, the King saw everything good in her. So when the princess came to her father she asked in gentle tones, she wanted to travel out to see for herself the lands that she had seen stretched out beneath her. She was able to look upon them every day but how much she wanted to see it all up close, to walk within it, rather than gazing upon it as if it were a silken tapestry. Her father this time believed she was old enough that this time it was time to permit her to go, but that he promised to her that if ever she encountered anything that was a threat or danger to her, that it would be at once removed from his kingdom. He gave this as his solemn oath to protect her. She thanked her father and couldn’t wait to go out and see.
So out she went and across the bridge, singing cheerfully:
This means this
That means that
This I do want
This I don’t
This person’s ok
This person’s not
Trust my intuition
Trust how I feel
She reached the end, jumped up and breathed in the air, somehow not so fresh as what wafted through her castle window. Then there heard a croaking sound, the first thing she encountered there was a frog, sitting on the edge of the cold moat waters, groaning out his song. She looked upon it and said what an ugly thing this frog was, all green and slimy with two awful looking eyes that seemed to regard her curiously. It sat on a rock in a pile of mud, seemed like a filthy animal. Such a thing could only ruin the beauty of her father’s kingdom, at once she called to the King:
Father, Father this creature is unpleasant to me.
It should not be here among us, take it away!
So the King on his word ordered that all frogs should be removed from his kingdom, they were all gathered up into baskets by the servants there, and dumped on the other side of the mountain peaks. Then what a time everyone in the valley had after this, since all of the rooms, barns and fields were filled with flies.
So the girl went on singing merrily to herself:
This means this
That means that
This I do want
This I don’t
This person’s ok
This person’s not
Trust my intuition
Trust how I feel
She next arrived at the gate and there was a dog who barked as she approached and moved towards her, being stopped from his approach by his rope. She cowered and thought what a frightening beast, the dog should be let go to run away, it had sharp teeth and made a terrible noise when it barked. So she called to the King:
Father, Father this creature is frightening me.
It should not be here among us, take it away!
And so the king on his word ordered that all dogs should be removed from his kingdom, so they were rounded together and sold off to a trader who was soon leaving the realm. Then you should have seen what happened, everywhere there were rats and rabbits who came and infested every place and ate down all the plants.
So the girl went on singing happily to herself:
This means this
That means that
This I do want
This I don’t
This person’s ok
This person’s not
Trust my intuition
Trust how I feel
So then she came to a farmer’s house. The farmer was outside plowing and saw the fine girl there. Running to her, offering her to come out of the sun into the shade, he seemed to her so dirty and smelled and she thought such a creature had no place here, they invited her into their home and offered her something as a keepsake. She threw it down and called the King:
Father, Father this man is dirty and wretched,
They have filthy animals, some smell horrid some roll in the mud,
Such people should not be with us here!
So the King had all these people sent away. Then you can imagine the chaos, there was no more food to be eaten and only what the king had left in his stores remained. But he could not go against the word he had made; his word was law and the princess was putting the law to work.
Then as she went on singing contentedly to herself:
This means this
That means that
This I do want
This I don’t
This person’s ok
This person’s not
Trust my intuition
Trust how I feel
Then she encountered there on the road a priest, who greeted her with a “bless you child”, she said she was no child of his, but the child of the King. His manners were strange and he dressed a robe, what an untidy thing to have, acting with such arrogance and profundity, and called to the King:
Father, Father, this man has treated me like his own child,
And tried to treat me with charms and blessings.
He put his hands upon me, he smiled and showed his teeth!
King sent him off with all his fellows, and all the people fell into sinful ways.
Then the girl went on singing enchantedly to herself:
This means this
That means that
This I do want
This I don’t
This person’s ok
This person’s not
Trust my intuition
Trust how I feel
Now she encountered a valiant man, one of the king’s soldiers, who smiled at her and asked her where she was bound. He was tall and sturdy and carried a gallant spear and shining sword. She saw him to be dangerous to her, his weapons and regalia looked menacing and mean. So she called again to the King:
Father, Father, these men have dangerous weapons,
And are afoot to interfere with my passage,
They are making themselves familiar with me and are talking and talking!
So they were brought to together and all marched off. All of them went by the King’s decree. Now an invading horde from the east was approaching and stood before her. The grim-faced leader snapped her up to his horse and sent his troops on ahead, for there was no one now to protect the kingdom. So he and his soldiers took possession of all the land and all the possessions that were left. Then breaking through the castle door, capturing all the servants of the king and finding the King took him. He bent down and threw his head down on the chopping block himself. The last thing he heard:
Father, Father, come save me,
These brutal men are selling me into slavery!
But he had no breath then to answer with. This is the end of the tale of Princess Trella.
The Tale of Forgotten, Lost, and Lonely
Deep in the dark woods there was a small wooden house. So hidden that no passing traveler would see it through the trees and so forgotten that no-one ever found cause to travel there. Within the house was a Mother, with a Daughter, who had a Girl of her own, a Grandmother and Great-Grandmother, who all lived in the one-room dwelling. Girl sat on the floor with her doll, Daughter sat on a stool staring out the window, Mother stood stirring in a pot suspended over a weak flame, Grandmother sat in a chair warming herself by the fire, and Great-Grandmother was lying on a straw bed in the darkened corner.
Girl sat on the floor near her mother, playing with a well-worn straw doll that had been around so long it was missing its head and half of one arm. She scuffed the doll against the wooden floor like a broom, back and forth, back and forth. Girl stopped playing and looked up to her mother who was sitting on her stool, staring out of the window to the trees outside, too deep to see the end of them, and said: “Mommy, we live so far away from anyone, I have no-one to play with. I am lonely playing all by myself.”
Daughter had a fine yet sullen face, her hair was long and uncombed, her skin pale and unwashed, and she wore a dress patched with rags on her thin frame. She looked over from her stool at her daughter, creased her forehead and replied: “Why should you be worrisome if that is your only trouble? If anyone should be thinking about who needs someone to be with, it is I. A young man enticed me into his arms, kissed and held me pledging his eternal love, and took me to his bed, giving me a child. Then when you were born he left me and has never returned. I have sat waiting at the window for three years, hoping to see him return, his fortune made, and that he will pledge to take me again and marry me. I have not a hope that another gentleman would find me out here in the middle of these forsaken woods, and any who found me would think me an old maid, so poor and unchaste that he would not think to consider me again. Do not think that you have concerns in you life, think of your mother when you see misery in yours’.”
And with that Daughter turned again and faced to look out into the dark woods. Then Mother turned from her place over the pot by the fire. Mother’s hair wrapped in a rag on her head, her skin tough as leather, her hands covered in calluses, and her face black from soot. Mother replied to Daughter: “You should not speak of your troubles as though they were of concern. If anyone should be thinking about who needs someone to be with, it is I. A wretched man took me and I am his wife, but my heart broke so long ago I could not now find all of the pieces. I have to wake before the cock crows to bake the bread and break my back in fetching the water. All day he is away from me hunting in the woods while I go out and cut down trees and bring in wood. When he gets home in the evening he is in a savage state. He strikes me with his fist, for all that I have left undone. I am then forced to sleep on the floor and he curses me for being in his way and threatens to one day kill me, leaving me to rot on unholy ground. Do not think that you have concerns in your life, think of your mother when you see misery in yours’.”
Then Grandmother sat in her chair by the fire wrapped in a shawl. Her hair is long and gray, and her skin full of wrinkles. Her eyes yellow and unclear, her hands shaking and her voice rough and low. She said to Mother: “You speak of your concerns as though they were a serious matter. If anyone should be thinking about who needs someone to be with, it is I. I have all but lost my ability to hear, and my bones are feeble. I walk hunched down with a cane. My eyes cannot see my hand before my face, and food and drink for me have no taste. My joints creak, my bones ache. My husband has been dead and buried for more winters than I can recall, and I will soon follow. Do not think that you have concerns in your life; think of your mother when you see misery in yours’.”
Lying forgotten in the corner on a straw bed, Great-Grandmother turned her head, and it was just about all she could do. Her eyes were sunken and staring, her skin sagging all over, her hair just a few spare threads, and her teeth black or gone. Her eyes only saw lights and shadows. Lying in the bed all day and all night, most of the time she lived in a world of her own. Her bed smelled of excrement and bugs crawled all over her. Rats lived inside the straw tufts and the corner was cold and drafty. She had heard all that Girl, Daughter, Mother, and Grandmother had said, although many of the words were missed since she was deaf in one ear, and spoke in a slow weak voice. The sound from the corner startled the others who thought she had long ago become unable to speak: “What you all say reminds me of the wonderful life I too have had. When I was a young woman I had many fine children, when I was a mother I kept a good clean house, when I was a grandmother I spent time telling old tales before the fire, but now I am not who I was. I do not even have the strength to spend time playing with my great great grand-daughter to keep her from being lonely.”
The others could not quite understand what she had said in between the wheezing and coughing. And with that Great-Grandmother lay back her head and died.
The Great Thunderbird
Long ago in ancient times, when the Passamaquoddy tribe first arose
The people lived fine lives on their land and hunted there
But every so often there came loud thunderous sounds from the sky
They hid in fear for they did not know what was befalling them
So one day two of the bravest young men were chosen to find out
They travelled north until they reached the clashing mountains
Here the rocks opened and closed again with great ferocity
It was a dangerous place so they momentarily halted there
The older said he would attempt a leap through the gap first
But if he did not make it through, it would be up to the other to continue
He timed the motions and jumped just at the right moment
And before the mountains crashed shut he was through
But his fellow traveller, less skilled and adroit than his companion
Thought to get through too quickly, and jumped at the wrong time
And then the mountains closed upon him and he was crushed
His friend was shaken but continued on knowing he had to
And found where he was, on the other side, a great expanding plain
Set around there were houses and men playing a ball game
He watched them until they finished and returned to their homes
There they put wings upon themselves, and with their bows and arrows
They flew away to the southern mountains, they were the Thunderbirds
This was where they lived, and it was they who made the thunder
He then went into the village and found the old men of the tribe
They asked him who he was and what he was up to
He replied that he had made the journey to find the source of thunder
But that now he was unable to return to his own people
So they felt for him and decided to give him wings like the Thunderbirds
They did this and gave him a bow and arrows and saw him on his way
But they warned him one thing: to not fly so low as the trees,
Since he would be going so fast he would hit them and would be killed
And so then he went off to the southern mountains, flying above the trees
This is how the Passamaquoddy boy became the great Thunderbird
When he flew in the southern sky each spring he kept watch over the tribe
And they knew that they had no reason to fear the thunder evermore
Mimir the Giant
There was One who existed at the Beginning
When worlds were crossed between nature and void
When the cauldron pooled and flames were cooled
And bubbling breath hissed from fire-scorched ice
Uprising fumaroles of steam, then deep Mimir arose
A yawning mild chasm was thus so formed
Long time did he consider his awakening there
The first man to breathe and taste the pure air
He sat and pondered long to gather his meaning
To the well’s edge he went to taste its wise waters
Now awakened to know and to form a great sword
First gold, then silver, then hot bronze he poured
From raw iron he labored with hammer and tongs
To forge this molten metal into masterful form
Holding his great sword Mimung now made aloft
With a drinking cup formed from Audhumla’s horn
He guarded that well of inspiration from the rest
Keeping the secret of the runes and way of the smith
One brother of three sought wisdom to be gained
Upon Winter’s Way was Odin’s wandering track
To take him to Mim’s hall, beneath the tree’s vault
Odin approached and asked deep Mim for a draught
But no drink would come from that well unless
He would give one eye in exchange for this gift
To possess such a secret as no other could know
His eye would be a suitable price to bestow
So this he gave for as much as he might quaff
Then given to bluster, to prove his new stuff
Proposed to the giant a contest to partake in
To wager head to head and it was undertaken
What wisdom is seen when two men are drunk
From mead they poured into that shapely long cup
But in that contest Bor’s boy made out best
And with one swift swing of Brimir’s stiff blade
Cast off the head of that wise giant that day
Now the surest among the living Odin was now
Standing over that blue body and red severed neck
Then did that head filled with untold wisdom speak
Frigg’s man took that corpse to the deep chasm’s edge
And filled it so upon it all things could be made
Mim’s head was placed within that deep well of his
It still can be seen when the Moon lies unhid
Beneath his tree and within his treasure-flung lake
With his drinking horn tipped from its waters to take
Long ago, within cold caverns deep
In a boundless cave, water seeped
It dripped into a froth-filled cauldron
This is how it was in the beginning
When nine sisters were gathered
Around the wide Measuring Tree
Seeking the elusive form of light
The first Holy One came in this way
They passed his shape between them
Each of the nine carrying him for nine more
Until, coming forth, he shone white
So they sprinkled him with water,
Giving him the names of Heimdall and Rig
The nine have made this known, and know yet more
When he set out to find a living space
To him the tree’s sacred seed was given
To be planted only in fertile ground
He ventured out to a place unknown
Neither seeking adventure nor renown
Through the dark forest Myrkwood
With only his self-light to guide him
His brilliance drove the trolls away
Unable to bear light, in shadows they crept
All places found were dry, cold, and hard
Until he came to a clearing that was void
That gap filled with Brimir’s cold corpse
Between craggy mountains ridges lay
Then taking out the seed he planted
Covering it over, lying down to sleep
An ash grew for a thousand years or more
Before he awoke and first saw the wide sky
Rigid were its limbs, hanging with gold fruit
Upon high branches four stags stood
Upon its highest branch an eagle perched
Under its deepest root a serpent gnawed
From the root that spanned between them
A squirrel scurried up and down the way
Bringing messages from one to the other
The nine have made this known, and know yet more
From these branches water dripped
The rain formed pools, streams and swamps
Puddles made a poor bed, so Rig built a hall
To keep the drops from patting on his head
But out of those swamps emerged a beast
During the night, when Heimdall slept
It crept to the hall and gobbled men down
So they fled and Heimdall sought out its lair
Down in the depths beneath the bogs
There he found the deep fountain’s home
The spring that bubbled beneath the ground
Where it had grown, from out of the scum
There Bertha, the fountain’s guardian
Encouraged him to drink from those waters
To gain the strength required to vanquish
So when it next came out of the swamp
Heimdall waited and wrestled with it
The furious and fetid creature fought
Heimdall grabbed fast the beast’s wild claw
With divine strength he cleaved it free
Leaving the beast to flee to its foul fen
He followed the demon down into the depths
There the second contest was fought
One fell swipe clawed off Rig’s right ear
A second took off his left, so there they lay
Gaining the upper hand, grabbing Erendel
With sacred strength severed trunk from head
The beast fell, only bleeding black ooze
Bright Bertha was freed from the fountain
Her light drives unhealthy spirits away
From the high hall the bloody claw was hung
The nine have made this known, and know yet more
Bertha lit the worlds above and below
When she rose over the earth it grew hot
From dry leaf and heat came Loder
He ate hungry greed with golden teeth
And stole Bertha’s shimmering necklace
Heimdall pursued him and in this duel
With weapons that flashed and crashed
In several forms they fought for possession
Until Heimdall won and returned to Bertha
Her necklace can be seen as the rainbow
In return, Loder spread over the world
All was burned black, the land destroyed
But the flames were extinguished by Heimdall
Who poured water from his golden horn
As Loder lay in burning embers left
Heimdall took him and bound him below
To the rocks binding the halves of the world
There Loder pulled upon his iron chains
Shaking the land until the world's end came
When he will break free to consume it in fire
The nine have made this known, and know yet more
Here then follows "Rigsthula" which concludes with the follwing verses:
Young Kin rode through woods and thickets,
Shooting bird-arrows, charming down the birds.
Then a crow said–it was sitting on a branch–
“Why, young Kin, are you charming down birds?
Rather you ought to be riding horses, conquering armies.
Dan and Danp own precious halls,
Worthier territories than your clan own;
They know very well how to steer ships,
To assess a sword blade, to make red wounds.” (Faulkes trans.)
Soon enough he became King Dag the Mighty
Ruling over that area now called Sweden
Then his crow flew down into Reidgotland
Until it decided to put down near Vörva
Coming down on a farmer’s field it fed
That bonder saw the crow and took a stone
He threw it and slew him with deadly aim
Dag was uneasy and thought of ill fortune
Giving an atonement sacrifice he asked
In reply it came the crow was killed in Vörva
So he assembled a large army at once
Went down from Sweden into Götland
An encampment was made near that town
People spread word and fled far from fear
In his attack he killed and took many captives
Then in the evening returned to his ships
When crossing the river near Vapnavad
One of the thralls came out of the wood
With pitchfork in hand, quickly he threw
That fork broke through the king’s skull
He fell down from his steed and there died
King Dag the Mighty had a daughter Dageid
From her came the line of the Daglings
The Mead of Poetry
There was once a very wise one among the gods whose name was Kvasir, who brought fermentation to things. After the winter’s rain had ended and warmth brought buds to tree limbs he set out from his hall across the green meadowland. His journeys took him around from place to place where he would answer whatever questions people put to him, and thereby brought great benefit to all, whether they be of the race of the giants or the elves or the dwarfs, and was always welcomed by those who wished to gain a piece of his knowledge. The only payment he received was the meal that was made for him and a night’s lodgings before he moved on. Then the sun cast its last yellow beams through the branches as he found himself on a path between two rock faces. Preventing the sun from ever reaching, all the stones were covered in moss and moisture. In this inhospitable place he found the small figure of a dwarf named Fialar there and he lived within western face while his brother Gialar lived on the eastern side. The dwarfs then made offers to Kvasir as to what he would receive if he would stay with one or the other. Both brothers offered him things that he could have, as dwarfs are greedy and take everything they can and hide it away in their caves. Kvasir accepted Fialar’s invitation to avoid anymore dispute, as the sun was just then no longer to be seen. The interior was dark but for a small fire in a carved out nook in the wall. There was well enough room for him, although the roof caused him to bring his neck low. So he sat down there with Fialar and was brought some dark-elf mead in a wooden cup. The taste was more bitter than he was used to and the dwarf not any more pleasant of face or manner. But the dwarf soon took a great interest in asking Kvasir riddles of any manner he could devise.
Now Fialar and Gialar discussed how they could get this man’s knowledge for themselves if they were to kill him and drink his blood. They well believed that they would be more wise than All-father if they could have this for themselves. And then at once they began to plot dark thoughts as what to do. No one before thought to do harm to Kvasir, so valued was he to those who sought his advice, but each of these dwarfs thought nothing but for his own self. But Gialar warned his brother not to kill him until after he had woken in the morning. But when Fialar found his opportunity, he did not wait until he woke up. It would be much simpler to kill him in his sleep, he thought. Then just as the sun rose, when Kvasir was asleep and dreaming, he then killed him by cutting off his head and let the blood flow into his large cauldron. There that night he added in honey and stirred it to blend a mixture, eager for it to ferment. When his brother came the next day and saw the pot he asked whether Kvasir was awake or not and Fialar said he had waited until morning, but that Kvasir was then dreaming. Gialar stamped and slapped his legs, saying that the brew made would not give them great knowledge but only the gift for poetry and that it was useless. When Fialar had finished brewing he ran his finger around and tasted a small amount. Once it touched his lips and from that time forward there was a difference in how he spoke, so that he just spoke short rhymes. So he said “good mead, bad deed” and poured it off into two pots. One he hung aloft from the ceiling. The other he gave to his brother.
It was some time afterwards that the dwarfs were visited by a certain giant called Billing, who also brought his wife. But the giant needed more food and so the two took him out to the sea in their boat so he could do a stint of fishing. But there the dwarfs lost patience with the giant who would not stop his fishing and, knowing he could not swim, kicked him into the water. The splash sent the boat half way back to the shore and they rowed the rest of the way and put it up. As they were walking back they thought of what they would do about the giant’s wife, and thought they might do the same to her. And so when they told Billing’s wife about it, she was in great anguish and asked to be taken out to the spot where he had fallen in. So they took the boat back out and returned to the spot where they had pushed him in, although they were somewhat nervous. And as Billing’s wife peered into the waters, Billing rose up from the deep and told her that the dwarfs had made his new home in Ran’s kingdom and that he could not return above again. Just before the two dwarfs were to repeat their crime she swiftly grabbed them and held them both over the side, threatening to leave them to her husband below to avenge himself upon them. They looked down and begged that she accept something that might appease her. None of their gifts of gold would tempt her, as giant women had no interest in foibles. But then they offered her the only thing they had left, the two pots of mead that would give anyone who drank them the gift of poetry. Such a rare gift was acceptable and Billing sunk back down into the sea. The two dwarfs rowed ashore and after putting up the boat, walked back to their dwellings, and Fialar went into his rock hall and came out with one pot, while Gialar emerged from his roost with the other. And with these she returned to Billing’s hall.
Odin had missed the arrival of his kinsman and so took up his walking stick and headed out himself, although by now it was the autumn. Going from Asgard through the misty depths of the valley to the rock path, winds whipped up and brown leaves stirred upon the ground as he made his way through the regions he had last been seen, until he saw two wisps of smoke coming from the dwelling of the two black brothers. So there he went to ask if they had seen Kvasir. Gialar said to him that he had head off before the break of the sun. Odin asked Fialar if this was true and he said “open door, walks no more” and he decided to see if there was anything more he could learn and was so decided to spend the night. He sat with the two and they drank quite a bit of dwarf-mead. The dwarfs were justifiably nervous to have the stranger there, for they now believed he was Odin. So they told him they brewed this mead but no longer had any but what was left at the bottom of the pot. The rest they had given to Billing’s wife. Odin took up the cauldron and drank fully the brew. There was not much left but enough to stir his mind. So he said that if they told him where the rest of this might be that he would offer them something in return. After some little discussion it was agreed that they wanted to become taller, because they thought that in this way the fair daughters of men might be theirs. So he agreed to show them the means to do this and that they must follow him outside. He led them to a spot among the trees, then anchored their feet to the ground. He then bent down two young maples and told them that they would stretch their bodies as tall as they wanted. The ropes he fastened beneath their ears and when they were tied fast, with a scythe he sliced their necks through, causing their heads to spring up into the sky with their long hair streaming behind them. These we know today as the comets.
He made his way to the northern mountains capped with frost to Billing’s hall. He found it within a cave with overhanging rock beyond the third cleft of rock. He arrived and found Billing’s wife there and she told him that he should return in the evening and that he should then have the mead. When he returned there in the darkness he saw that her son Sutting had come with a number of frost giants carrying burning torches and stone axes. Suttung then took the mead with him to place it in hiding for safe keeping and put his daughter Gunnlod in charge of it. Odin made his way to Suttung’s hall and at night came to Gunnlod’s room only to find two gnarling dogs with bristled hair there guarding her in her bed. The next day he visited Suttung, dressed in fine garments and riding upon his high horse. He came into the giant’s court saying he was a great king named Bolverk and that he would have his daughter to wed. Suttung happily agreed and set a wedding day upon which there was a great feast with much drinking. Then that night Odin took her to bed and after, when he asked for one small sip of the mead, Gunnlod trusted him enough to show him where it was hid. As soon as she revealed the hiding place of the pot, Odin drank it fully to the bottom. Odin swiftly escaped by making a hole through the stone with a drill and slipping out in the form of a snake. Suttung headed out at once after him. When he came out of the gaping cave mouth, he saw him flying in the sky in the shape of an eagle, now almost over the red horizon. He took up his bow and three arrows and climbed to the very height of the mountain peak. Shooting each of his three great arrows, one hit under Odin’s wing and caused him to turn, allowing some of the mead to spill out. This is called the poet’s portion. But that giant had expended himself so much in climbing up the ridge, he froze stiff on that snowy crag, still to be seen upon that northern peak.
The next day the frost giants assembled and went out seeking Bolverk, and wondered too if Suttung had been through, because none had seen him since he went out that night, and Gunnlod stayed in her room and wept. Odin told them that Suttung and Bolverk had both killed one another in a fight in the shape of eagles and that both had fallen into the sea. To prove this to them he pointed out to them the one feather that hung up in the morning sky, that can still be seen to this day. Gunnlod can also be seen sitting forsaken in her cave, holding the empty pot, with the hole Odin made through the wall behind her, within the cave of the clashing rocks.
After winter had passed, Bolverk set out again. He walked by the lake that is called Vattern, and there on the shore were two boats. The fishermen Bodn and Son had returned and were washing their nets. Bolverk said that if they would take him to the far side of the lake he would pay them. So the three climbed into the small boat and he told them to put out a little way from land where he would pay them. And he sat down as they rowed, until they reached the spot, then he said to Bodn, “Let down your nets for a catch.” And Bodn answered, “Sire, we toiled all night and took nothing!” But when they had done this and pulled it up, they enclosed a great shoal of fish, and this was his payment to them. And as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their servants in the other boat to come and help them.
And they came out with the other boat. And Bolverk saw one of the servants had a withered hand and could not pull well on the net. So he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And as he did so, his hand was restored. They filled both the boats and were close to sinking. So they immediately brought them back to land and unloaded them. And Bodn was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish they had taken.
As it was late, Bodn invited the stranger into his home for the night, and promised to take him across the lake in the morning. They entered Bodn’s house and he told Bolverk that they had to serve themselves, for his mother lay sick with a fever. But Bolverk went to where she was lying and touched her hand, and immediately the fever left her, and she rose and served them.
In the morning Bolverk said to them, “Let us now cross to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they rowed he fell asleep. And a great storm of wind arose, and the boat was filling with water. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Bolverk. We are perishing!” He opened one eye and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. At once they ceased and there was a calm. And they marveled, saying, “Who is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”
And when they came to the other side of the sea, a wildman met them, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. He could not be bound, even with a chain; for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke to pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying like a wolf, and bruising himself with stones.
And as Bolverk approached him, he cried out, “What have you to do with us, sire? We beg you not to torment us?” And Bolverk asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many,” because many demons had entered him. And the demons begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Bolverk spied a herd of many swine feeding on the hillside, “Then I will cast you out into that herd of swine.” So they came out and went into the swine, and then the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. The herdsmen fled into the town and told what had happened to the wildman and to the swine. And people came out to see, and there found the wildman sitting, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. And they told Bolverk to depart from their neighborhood, so he got into the boat and left them.
Bodn and Son rowed, but even with all their strength were making little headway, for the wind was against them. They grew tired and sought Bolverk’s help and found his cape rolled up in the prow but he was not in the boat with them. They called for him, thinking he had fallen overboard. And he came to them, walking on the sea in a trance. When they saw him they thought it was a ghost, and cried out in fear. But immediately he said, “Do you not recognize me?” And they saw it was Bolverk. He took up the mooring rope, pulled the boat to land, and moored it to the shore.
And as they came into the country of Næriki, a collector of the King’s tax, named Lodd, came up to them and demanded that they pay their obligation to the King. But as they could not pay, Bolverk told Bodn, “Go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a gold coin; take that and give it to him.” And he did and thus paid their duty.
Now Bolverk told them that he was going on a pilgrimage to Uppsala and they agreed to go with him. Lodd, the tax collector, went with them also.
And as Bolverk walked through King Salve’s land, one of the King’s vassals came to him and fell at his feet, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” But a man from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble this man any further?” But he went with him.
When he came to the ruler’s house, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. So he put them all outside, took her by the hand and chanted the spell. And immediately the girl got up, and they were overcome with amazement. And he told them to give her something to eat.
From Birka they proceeded by boat across the lake of Mälaren. And on the Fyris Plains, Bolverk and his friends stole into the camp of the army that had engaged the King’s forces, and who had now run out of their provisions and were withdrawing. And Bolverk found the commanders and told them that he could find enough to feed them, even though there were five thousand of them. They said, “We have no more than five loaves and a few small fish.”
And the servants were setting out the last of the food for the commanders to eat and Bolverk took it up. And he said to them, “Make them sit down in companies.” So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. Then he broke the loaves and divided the fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied.
Now they were determined to recommence their attack, but Bolverk told them to wait there until they saw a sign, when two ravens would cross over their heads as the sun set, and that only then should they resume their attack. Meanwhile, he told Bodn and Son to remain and continue distributing the food, as much as they needed. And he took only Lodd with him.
Now nearby Odin’s grove is a spring, and around it lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, and paralyzed seeking a cure. One crippled man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Bolverk saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sire, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going, another steps down before me.” Bolverk said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.
And there was a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and he besought Bolverk to lay his hand upon him. And taking him aside, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue, and said, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And those around were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”
A blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and when he heard the people talking he began to cry out saying, “Sire, have mercy on me!” And Bolverk said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Let me receive my sight.” And Bolverk spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him. He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men; but they look like trees walking.” So he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with it, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool.” So he went and washed and came back seeing.
And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Bolverk saw her, he said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And he laid his hands upon her and immediately she was made straight.
And a leper came to him and knelt before him saying, “Sire, will you cure me?” Bolverk stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And those who saw this said, “We have seen strange things today.”
And as Bolverk reached the town, he was hungry. And seeing a walnut tree by the wayside he went to it, but found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, “May no one eat of your fruit again!” And this is why we don’t eat the fruit of the walnut tree but only the nuts inside.
And as they walked on the road, Bolverk spoke to Lodd, saying, “We are approaching Uppsala; and there Bolverk will be delivered into the hands of his enemies, and they will deliver him to the King; and his company will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him. And the one who denies that he knows me three times will pay his tax when the cock crows.” And Lodd was astonished to hear him say such things but did not understand it.
Soon afterward he went into the town of Uppsala. As he drew near to the gates of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of a woman named Mor, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the town was with her. And when Bolverk saw her, he said, “Do not weep.” And he came and touched the bier and the bearers stood still. And he chanted the spell and said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. The crowd shouted praise and immediately turned back.
Bolverk was weary from his walking and found a mule that was tied up nearby. They brought it to him, threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. Bolverk was invited to a feast, but he told them he wanted to go to the temple first.
Now King Salve had heard of the procession that had come through the city gates, and thought that this man had come to conquer his kingdom. Lodd had broken away from the crowd and went to the King. And when he heard he had come he was very glad, and promised to give him money if he betrayed Bolverk to him. And Lodd, having collected taxes his entire life, loved money, so he quickly agreed.
Bolverk entered the temple of Uppsala; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out. And when he arrived at the feast he was told that they had no more wine left for him. And he was very thirsty so he told them to fill the wine jars with water. And they filled them up to the brim. Then he said, “Now draw some out.” And they drew out some and tasted it, and the water had become wine. And he said to them, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
And they sat at the table in the hall, and as they were eating Bolverk took bread, broke it and gave it to them, and he took a cup and gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And after they had sung a song, Lodd entered and Mor said he had not come too late to partake of the meal, and that they had plenty of wine. He asked if they had room for others, and she said they had. And they made room on the benches.
Lodd entered the hall and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the King’s army. They came up and laid hands on Bolverk. And Bolverk said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me?” And one of those who were with Bolverk stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the commander, and cut off his ear. But the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers seized Bolverk, bound him, and took him away.
Bolverk was taken to the dungeons, and the guards received him with blows. And they spoke many words against him, reviling him. They left him shackled and lying in a bed of straw until the dawn.
Now Lodd had gone into the temple courtyard and was warming himself at the fire and one of the servants looked at him and said, “You were his friend.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out by the gateway. And a man saw him and began to say to the bystanders, “This man was with Bolverk.” But again he denied it. And he walked out to the spring and those who were there said, “You came with Bolverk, and were his friend.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And at once the cock crowed. And Lodd remembered what Bolverk had told him, and died on the spot.
When the guards came to Bolverk at dawn, the shackles sat in a pile next to him where he slept. And they were amazed. And when they came to him he opened only one eye and asked them if it was time.
The soldiers led him into the palace, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they clothed him in a purple robe, and plaited a crown of thorns for his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King Bolverk!” And they struck him with their hands and spat upon him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, put his own clothes on him, and led him away to hang.
He was taken to a tree on the high hill that overlooked the temple. And there they brought him on a horse and put his neck through the rope. Then he was hung there and one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. It was now about the hour of sunset, and darkness fell over the whole land. And Bolverk uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split. And the army saw two ravens cross above them in the sky, gave the call, and moved forward at once. And the army stormed the palace and beheaded the King.
Now Bodn and Son, who searched after their friend, found him among those hanging on the tree and cut him down. They covered his body with a cape until they could make a pyre. Then the two lay down and slept.
The next morning, the sun broke the horizon and just then Bolverk rose up and addressed them. They awoke and were astonished, thinking they were still dreaming. They questioned him about it, so he answered them, saying,
“I know those spells which a ruler’s wife doesn’t know, nor any man’s son.
The first one will help you against accusations and sorrows and every sort of anxiety.
I know a second one which the sons of men need, those who want to live as physicians.
I know a third one which is very useful to me, which fetters my enemy; the edges of my foes I can blunt, neither weapon nor club will bite for them.
I know a forth one if men put chains upon my limbs I can chant so that I can walk away: fetters spring from my feet, and bonds from my hands.
I know a fifth if I see, shot in malice, a dart flying amid the army: it cannot fly so fast that I cannot stop it if I see it with my eyes.
I know a sixth one if a man wounds me with the roots of the sap-filled wood: and that man who conjured to harm me, the evil consumes him, not me.
I know a seventh one if I see towering flames in the hall about my companions: it can burn so widely that I can’t counteract it, I know the spells to chant.
I know an eighth one, which is most useful for everyone to know; where hatred flares up between the sons of warriors, then I can quickly bring settlement.
I know a ninth one if I am in need, if I must protect my ship at sea; the wind I can lull upon the wave and enquiet all the sea to sleep.
I know a tenth one if I see witches playing up in the air; I can bring it about that they can’t make their way back to their own shapes, to their own spirits.
I know an eleventh if I have to lead loyal friends into battle; under the shields I chant, and they journey inviolate, safely to the battle, safely from the battle, safely they come everywhere.
I know a twelfth one if I see, up in a tree, a dangling corpse in a noose: I can so carve and color the runes that the man walks and talks with me.
I know a thirteenth if I shall pour water over a young warrior: he will not fall though he goes into battle, before swords he will not sink.
I know a fourteenth if I have to reckon up the gods before men: Aesir and elves, I know the difference between them, few who are not wise know that.
I know a fifteenth, which the dwarf Thiodrerir chanted before Delling’s doors: powerfully he sang for the Aesir and before the elves, wisdom to Sage.
I know a sixteenth if I want to have all a clever woman’s heart and love-play: I can turn the thoughts of the white-armed woman and change her mind entirely.
I know a seventeenth, so that scarcely any young girl will want to shun me.
I know an eighteenth, which I shall never teach to any girl or any man’s wife - it’s always better when just one person knows, that follows at the end of the spells - except that one woman whom my arms embrace, or who may be my sister.
I know that I hung on a windy tree nine long nights, wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself, on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run.
No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn, downwards I peered; I took up the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there.
Nine mighty spells I learnt from the famous son of Bolthor, Bestla’s father, and I got a drink of the precious mead, poured from Odrerir.
Then I began to quicken and be wise, and to grow and to prosper; one word found another word for me, one deed found another deed for me.” (Larrington trans.)
And then they knew that it was Odin.
It was said that in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. At that time Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas.
Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. And he preached, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
When he spoke to them, he said, “Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the multitudes asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than is appointed you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
And then he would say, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. His winnowing fork in his hand, he will clear his threshing floor and gather the wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he preached good news to the people. And as the people were in expectation, all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all: he shut up John in prison.
Now Jesus came out to the Jordan to become a disciple of John, and to be baptized by him (for John had not yet been put in prison). And when he came up out of the water, immediately the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit descending upon him like a dove, and heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Thou art my beloved Son; today I have begotten thee.”
So Jesus went away from there and came to his own country and preached, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (When he began his ministry, Jesus was about thirty years of age.) And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
When he heard that John had been arrested, Jesus withdrew into Galilee, and he went down to the city of Capernaum. He was teaching them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And reports of him went throughout all the surrounding region.
Now as he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them; and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
And he entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when Simon saw it, he said to Andrew, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”
And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “What is it, Teacher?” Jesus said, “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Then he told them a parable, saying, “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
While he was thus speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd making a tumult, he said, “Depart; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went through all that district.
Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick or possessed with demons brought them to him. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.”
And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them; but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of heaven to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of heaven? It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened. The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Then he said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
When he ceased praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our spiritual bread; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Then he said, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also will forgive you. For if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Then he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying, “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked them, and they yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears, let him hear.”
And when he was alone, those who were closest to him asked him concerning the parables. And he said to them, “The seed is the word of the kingdom. The ones along the path are those who have heard and do not understand; the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown from their hearts. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this refers to those who hear the word and immediately receive it with joy, yet have no root in themselves. They believe for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for those that were sown on good soil are the ones who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. And when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
He turned and said to them, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
So he went up on the mountain, overlooking the sea, and when he sat down his many disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser to court, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and the guard put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and worm consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor worm consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
“He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful when entrusted with a few coppers, who will entrust you with great riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, nor what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? And why are you anxious about clothing?
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
“Enter by the side gate; for the main gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the side gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.
“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of his Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”
And when Jesus finished these sayings, he said to his closest disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord to send out laborers into his harvest.” Then he went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. And his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Some one told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
And as Jesus sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick do. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?”
Then he said, “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his belly with the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son treat me as one of your hired servants.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.
“Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
In these days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; Simon whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother (whom he surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder); and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
After this he appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. “Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear! For I tell you that many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
“Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they malign those of his household. But no one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
“If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Will any one of you, who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.
“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you are a disciple, will by no means lose his reward.
“Take nothing for your journey except a staff, no bread, no bag, no money in your belts; but wear only sandals and one tunic. Do not put on two. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. Do not go from house to house, but remain in the same one, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages.
“Whenever you enter a town and they receive you; heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near to you.’ And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.” So they set out as Jesus had directed them. And they went through the villages, preaching the gospel and casting out many demons.
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet, and kept him safe.
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
One sabbath, while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath?” And he answered them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” Then he said, “And which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?” And they could not reply to this. “If you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” And he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath.”
The Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves, they do not eat anything from the market unless they purify it; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze and beds. Now when the Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” And he said to them, “You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.”
And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. For what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
And he said to his disciples, “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open the way to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! Truly, I say to you, he will set them over all his possessions.
“But if a servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
And he went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again; and again, as his custom was, he taught them. And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery. And he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”
An argument arose among the apostles as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be last of all. For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? Even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve.”
“When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Now they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked the people. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of heaven like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
And a young man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall Love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “Teacher, all these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “You lack one thing, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
And Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of heaven! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.”
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’
“And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
And Jesus went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. And he was going, the apostles said to him, “Teacher, increase our love!” And he spoke thus, “Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, you must forgive him.” Then Peter came up and said to him, “Teacher, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”
Then he said to them, “A king wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also your heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
He then said, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Then he said to them, “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” And Jesus said to them, “Blessed is he who shall eat at the banquet of heaven!”
Then he told them a parable, saying, “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’”
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to him, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”
And he proceeded to tell a parable: “A nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom and then return. Calling his servants, he gave them each one mina, and said to them, ‘Trade with these till I come.’ And so he went on his journey. Now after a long time the master of those servants returned, having received the kingdom. He commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minae more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minae.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a napkin’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you idle servant! You knew that I would return. Why then did you not invest my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have collected what was my own with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has the ten minae.” And then Jesus said, “I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” And when he had said this, he left Jericho, going up to Jerusalem.
And they came to Jerusalem. And Jesus entered the temple of God and began to drive out those who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons; and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple. And he said to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the Mount of Olives.
And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him. And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him. But he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of heaven is preached, and every one enters it violently.”
And he spoke thus, “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.”
Then to the crowds and his disciples he said, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.
“They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places, and the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at feasts, and being called rabbi by men. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have only one master.”
He also told this parable: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows’ houses and for a pretense you made long prayers; therefore you will receive the greatest condemnation.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.
“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore God will send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.”
And as he was leaving the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you saying these things, or who gave you this authority to say them?” Jesus said to them, “I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I will tell you by what authority I say these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From men’?”, all the people will stone us; for all hold that John was a real prophet.” So they answered, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I say these things.”
“What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.”
And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed.
“Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “God forbid!” But Jesus looked at them and said, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.”
“For no one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth onto an old garment, as the patch tears away, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, the wine is lost and the skins are destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.”
Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Tell us, then, is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said to them, “Why put me to the test? Show me a denarius.” And they brought him a coin. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at him; and they left him and went away.
That same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies, having no children, his brother must marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children; and the second took her, and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; and the seven left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” Jesus said to them, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first and greatest of all?” Jesus answered, “You shall Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And a second is like it, You shall Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; there is no other but he; and to love him with the heart, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is worth more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of heaven.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” And after that no one dared to ask him any question.
And he came down with his apostles and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits.
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
“But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
“But Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of God; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Why do you call me ‘Teacher, teacher,’ and not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been founded upon the rock. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.
“Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.
“Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his stature? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith!
“And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek God’s kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
“Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
“What father among you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Remember those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
And he told a parable, saying, “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!’ There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of heaven and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of heaven. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Being asked by the people when the kingdom of heaven was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of heaven is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of heaven is within you.” And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Lo, there!’ or ‘Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them.”
Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”
The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy Jesus; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people held him to be a prophet.
Now the feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, but they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uprising among the people.” Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. And they were glad, and engaged to give him money. So he agreed, and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of the multitude.
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?” And he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, and tell the householder, ‘Our Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’ And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.
When it was evening, he sat at table with his chosen disciples; And as they were eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. For the Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
Then Peter said, “And what shall become of us?” And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” But he said vehemently, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
Then Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of heaven.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and stay awake.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer him. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. And he came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
Even while he was still speaking, Judas came and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and the elders of the people. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me.” And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” And there was the young man who followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
And they led Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes were assembled. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, and warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, and their witness did not agree.
And some stood up, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet not even so did their testimony agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ, then?” And Jesus said to him, “You have said so.” And the high priest tore his garments, and said, “What further testimony do we need? You have heard his blasphemy from his own lips. What is your judgment?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”
And Jesus cried out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the maids of the high priest came; and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And he went out in front of the gateway. And the maid saw him, and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. And after a little while again the bystanders said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the cock crowed. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
And as soon as it was morning the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council held a consultation; and they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus was silent and made no answer, so that Pilate wondered. And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, “I find no crime in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”
Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Nothing deserving death has been done by him; I will therefore chastise him and release him.” Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.
And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he was wont to do for them. And he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man whom you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
And the soldiers led him away inside the praetorium; and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and they knelt down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, and put his own clothes on him. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they led him out to crucify him.
And as they led him away, they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And they crucified him, then cast lots to divide his garments.
And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew. And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests mocked him to one another with the scribes, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was a son of God!”
There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome, who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him; and also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who also was a disciple of Jesus, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.” And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid. While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story was spread among the Jews in the years that followed.
This is the story as it happened when one day Isis came down from the sky and took on the aspect of a virgin called Mari.
For in the summer heat she wanted to bathe in the cool waters of the lake, so lightly stepped upon the stones that lined the shore. Then did pure Mari shed her cloak and garments, set them beneath the willows, and there bathed naked in its waters. She had spent a good time playing in the shallows when she slowly made her way out further and further, until she was quite deep. And just then a green snake approached her. She realized then that she was too far from shore to escape, so kept entirely still hoping it would pass. She was in fear that it might bite her, but when it neared her she could tell it was in rather a state. He swam around this way and that, and in circles until it came right up to her. And Mari said, “Please don’t bite me. For I have never done harm to any snake, and would do no harm to you now.” But the snake replied simply: “I promise not to bite you if you will help me.” “How can I help a snake?” “My brother seeks me at this very moment. If you would give me somewhere to hide.” She did not understand the nature of the request, but was so afraid of the snake’s bite that she agreed to take the snake and hide it within her mouth. So the snake climbed up and into her mouth. But as soon as it found its way inside it slithered straight down her throat.
Now Mari was rather concerned that a snake had gone within her, but felt no discomfort from it and thought it so ridiculous that she began to think it must have been an illusion. So she continued to bathe in the lake, wading in the deep water, until a red snake swam to her. She was struck with fear, as it looked much larger and menacing than the other. Then it swam in circles around her and opened its mouth and spoke: “Have you seen a green snake pass by?” “I swear that I have not seen a single green snake go past me.” So the red snake then moved around her, watching the maiden carefully, and noticed that she grew very nervous when it approached the region between her legs, so then the snake insisted the girl show him the place between her thighs, thinking that was where the green snake was hiding, or threatened then and there to bite the poor girl. She allowed his passage, but as soon as the snake was nestled there it immediately slithered up within her. So startled was she that she left the lake, replaced her clothes and ran home as quickly as she could.
Now in the day that followed Mari was visited by a fever that kept her in bed for days. Before this Mari had been promised to a man named Iosis and once she had recovered from the illness was betrothed to him. He travelled with her back to his own town and after travelling three days she felt the labor pains and the only shelter they found nearby was a stable. So there it was that a baby was born and his name was Iesous. Then they travelled again on the road and in three days arrived at his home, and there she gave birth to a second son named Sethus.
And there came to the town three astrologers from the east, because of the conjunction they had seen, and asked amongst the townspeople if any babies had been born on that night, when the conjunction had reached fullness nine days before. They were directed to the house of Iosis and there found the two babies. They lifted up each and asked if either had been born nine days before and Iosis said that the one named Iesous had been when they were on the road, and was born in a stable.
They then predicted that it was this one that was born under the best of omens and he would one day be supremely powerful, but that the other would be crafty and devious. So the decision was made that Sethus should be sent out to a far district so that he could learn to endure the labor that would moderate his temper, whereas Iesous should be given the best education. But Sethus, already crafty, made that night such a claim that he had been given the favored sleeping place for many nights and that he would now give it to Iesous, whom they had said was so favored. So they exchanged places. Then Sethus said that he had been wrapped in a much nicer blanket and offered it to Iesous. So they exchanged blankets. The next morning the astrologers left with Iesous, thinking him to be Sethus, and took him to the far district amongst the peasants and there he was left for a family, with a sum of money to care for him, and a letter telling them to raise him by the strictest standards. And from that day on Sethus was given every favor and, as he grew, a good education and every training in moral and political matters.
Now in the years that followed, Iesous lived the hard life of a farm laborer, whom the peasant’s other children always gave the hardest tasks to do. But Iesous was always willing to do them. And when they told him that this year he was old enough to plow, they hooked up the mule and sent him out. Then when they went out to see how much he had done that day, they found the full acre plowed and saw Iesous letting his blood onto the furrow, saying “My blood is the life of the earth.”
When they had both reached the age of independence, Iesous went out one day into the wastelands. Then he arrived at a certain place where there was water and there too arrived Sethus. Nearby was a nest of ants, and Sethus placed a few pieces of bread down amongst them. Soon many ants were climbing over them. Then he kicked the ant hill away with his foot. He said to Iesous, “You see these insects? People are just like them. They can be made to act as I wish.” Iesous replied, “I am the bread of man.”
Then, when he came of age, Iesous made the journey with the other men into the market that was held after harvest in the great Christian city. Now those who farmed close by could sell their goods at a lower price than the other merchants, so it always made sense for them to travel in with what excess they had. And Iesous went with the others in his family. They travelled along the road to the city, until they came to a spot where a trail went off into the woodlands. Iesous thought to take this path, but they said it was overgrown and dangerous. “There are snakes, bears and demons in the forest,” they said. Iesous replied, “The snakes I can avoid, the bears I can pacify. As for the demons, I know their names.” And off he went, up the rise and into the woodlands. The others believed they would not see him again. When they arrived at the town on the other side of the forest, Iesous met them there, having arrived the day before. The next day they prepared to make the last distance and Iesous rode to the great Christian city.
But even before this they could smell the city before they came to it and Iesous commented “This city already rots. How long before it crumbles to dust?”
And he passed the river and there were people coming out of the city for baptism. And Iesous saw them and said “There are many who will immerse themselves in the waters, but none who are willing to cross it.”
At this time these people were very sure of themselves. Outside the gates of the city, on either side were set plaques with the rules recently chiseled into stone, for all to see. These became known as the Ten Commandments, and were written up in two columns that said “You shall not” and they were written up so large that they could be easily read from even two stadia distant, some claimed they could even see them from three. The ones on the left read: “I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. Remember to keep holy the LORD’s Day. Honor your father and your mother. You shall not kill.” And on the right side they said “You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.” And everyone who entered the city was expected to live by these rules given by their LORD God.
Now in that city, Sethus had become a prominent chancellor to the king. He publicly adhered to the appearance of good, while he was responsible for crime, death, adultery and every vice, but so crafty was he that others always took the blame for them. And he knew at once that his brother Iesous had entered the gates, for he knew the signs of the portent that betrayed him, for a dove had landed upon him when he entered. So he took for himself the disguise of a villager and went down amongst the throng as they sold in the marketplace.
When Iesous and his family went through the city, Iesous was approached first by one named Jasper who said if he would pay him that he would teach him the mysteries and secrets of wisdom. Sethus in disguise approached to the side of Iesous and said: “I can tell you are a man of great power. This man is nothing. No one likes him. You should insult him and kick him away. No one would object.” But Iesous thought for a moment and said to the man: “Wisdom should never be acquired from one who seeks to gain from it.” And he left him.
Iesous was second met by a strong one called Barnabus who recognized Iesous as being from the outer districts and demanded Iesous give him everything he had or he would pound him severely. Sethus in disguise leaned in and spoke to Iesous: “Why do you not use your powers to overthrow this man and gain victory, and prove to the people your greatness.” But Iesous simply removed one of his tunics and gave it to him and then imparted his wisdom, giving him simply what he had asked for. And Barnabus became a great philosopher and companion of Iesous from that time on.
And while Sethus returned to his palace, Iesous went out to find someone who would provide some food for him. And he was welcomed into a dwelling and given dinner with the man’s family. And then during this he began to teach them, but the man, after he listened for a moment said, “It seems that you are the one who needs our help.”
Iesous took up lodgings in the city. And the landlord of that place was a man who owned a large portion of land that was leased out. But he always spoke as though he hadn’t enough money since he said so much was taken by the king’s taxes. Iesous went out that week as a day-laborer and earned money working there and took it within a man’s house. Then he left the house. Now the man’s servant found the money the wife had left there, and the money Iesous had left too and being a good servant put the money safely away.
Now Iesous had become the teacher of a certain woman who was named Martha, who was a man’s wife, and every day she invited him into her house and, because she loved him, they greeted each other with fond kisses. Then he would stay close to her and teach her as she wished.
And when they were at table eating their evening meal, they said to him that there was talk against him for having entered into the man’s house, and that it would not be good to do anything else like that again. Iesous replied: “If they wish to destroy me, they will destroy me. They will find their reasons, they will condemn and they will live with it, and I will become the sword their enemies will use against them.” Iesous spoke to the Christians about their Lord Christ and asked Jasper, the one who came to him, if he would not betray his Christ for silver. Jasper repudiated this most vehemently, and said there was nothing on earth that would cause him to betray his Lord.
Then Iesous went into Hagia Sophia, and found a priest kneeling at the cross chanting his prayer. He knew him and said “I see you there Caiaphas.” But the man looked and said “Sir, my name is Marcus.” Then Iesous said “Forgive me, but please answer me this question. If your Christ was revealed to you what would you do?” “Surely I would fall down on my knees and worship him, so much do I love him?” And Iesous said, “Would you not take him to the magistrates to be put on trial to account for himself.” “Certainly not, for he is the Son of God and the Living Savior.” And Iesous turned to the throng who had gathered for late-night Hours and asked them what they would do to Christ if he appeared and acted as he had in their books of him. He asked if they would condemn him to death as the people had done and they said they would never do so, for they believed in him. “He was the Son of God and Mary.” And a woman asked him if he had come to pray and he said “Why should I pray, when God is within me?” Iesous left the church. And when the people heard of it thought this a blasphemy. The minister listened to the mob’s outrage and assured them that he would be dealt with.
Now the Christian Emperor, who had heard from the priest about what Iesous had said summoned him to the palace. And the Caesar, who considered himself a good Christian, told Iesous that he would take no action, provided Iesous confessed his sins and learned from the priest of God’s Law. But warned him that if he were brought before him again, he would be punished.
And so Iesous was led to a priest who spoke the gospel of the Christ and of the commandments given to Moses from the mouth of God. The priest told Iesous that through confession that Christ would forgive him of his sins. So then Iesous sat to confess. He sat, then said to the priest only a single word, “Epsilon”, and left the church.
When the priest spoke to the king, and he realized that Iesous had not taken advantage of this opportunity to absolve himself, and after consulting with Sethus, put out word that if Iesous was accused of any further crime, would be put on trial. And he said to himself, “Why have you come to upset my kingdom and plague me with this hard task?”
There was a man named Arctus who wished to leave the city and start a new life, as he had been dealt with harshly. The man had been so defeated that he was not only persecuted daily by the men sent by Sethus, but was not permitted to leave the city, by his order. So the man remained and all the people shunned him, for when he spoke ill of Sethus they all came to their chancellor’s defense, whom they loved, and hated him all the more. Iesous was the only one who listened to him and he said to Iesous of Sethus: “He knows he cannot kill me, so he torments me and keeps me here, against my will.” Iesous learned the man had often felt that death was his only escape. Iesous said “Death would be no escape for you.” So Arctus asked Iesous to help him. Iesous went into the man’s house and covered him in sheep’s blood, then ran to his friends and showed them. But he would not let them look closely at the body but immediately took the body out of the city to a burial tomb, put him inside and sealed it. He then sent away all the people and sold his property and belongings. Then Iesous returned and released him that night and paid Arctus the amount of money he had collected and the man left, happy and grateful.
At this the authorities and the church met and found that Jasper was willing to accept payment to simply tell them where Iesous was staying. And they told those who went out for Iesous to be on their guard. They said that he would resist them, so to take weapons and clubs, for he was sure to turn violent.
Iesous met with his friends for their supper and there they gathered. And he counted and found that there were twelve with him that night. He asked Barbnabus, if he would deny his Lord as Peter had done. He could not imagine that he would ever do such a thing. Then Jasper led the armed men to Iesous.
When Iesous was led to prison, the people said, “Iesous, have you come to destroy us?” And Iesous said, “Why do you say that I will destroy you?”
And then they took Iesous and brought him to Caesar. Iesous asked Caesar if his Christ was brought before him if he would not condemn him to the cross as his kinsman Pilate had done. The Christian Emperor said that surely Iesous did not understand the Christian world and must have come from the land of the northmen who are born with no knowledge of the Lord.
Now at that time, it was required for there to be two witnesses for a crime. And they did not have two witnesses who could say that Iesous had committed what they accused him of, but they did have four witnesses who each had seen a different crime.
Caesar said that there was not evidence enough to condemn him, but then said “Will you not change, or do you want to destroy yourself?” Iesous said “Why do you say I will destroy myself?” “It is obviously you who are at the center of all this. You bring it upon yourself.” Then he told him this story: “There was a young warrior who was condemned by the words of others. They wished him destroyed so they sent him into the most dangerous battles. He fought bravely and accomplished all for his commander. When they were victorious he returned to the camp and removed his armor. He was called to the commander’s tent thinking he would receive his reward. Rather, his mentors had betrayed him and he was put to the sword. They went to fight on in the conflict but were no longer victorious, and the kingdom fell.” Caesar said, “You threaten us with destruction if we should destroy you?” Then he asked Caesar, “They felt it was their duty to execute the soldier, but should they have?”
But Caesar had no use for this argument, as whatever he believed, he knew the people were against him.
The people said they had suffered much in the name of their Lord by this man, Iesous. So much anguish, upset and discomfort had he inflicted upon them by his evil deeds. They said that he had been responsible for all their unhappiness. He had made their lives miserable. He had brought all that is evil down upon them. And their lives would never be right until he was gone. And he replied “I have done none of the things you say, there is no reason to fear me.” They accused him of being a coward, because the men said he had not lived up to his responsibilities and the women said he was unmanly. One said that he was ever upsetting her when he foretold their doom. One woman said “I saw the very blood of it on his hands.” And others that he had rejected Christ. All claimed they had never a man in their city before who was so great a villain as he, that none of this happened before he came into the city, and met him with the worst names and spat upon him. So Caesar was forced to send him to trial.
Then Sethus produced the four witnesses, unnamed, with faces hidden from him. Sethus played this up to Caesar and when Iesous was accused of murder and had no means to pay the ransom, was then condemned to hang upon the tree, and Barnabus at that moment ran in flight from Iesous and denied any knowledge of him. Even the mob sang out below of their love for Christ and their hatred for this unbeliever.
And the judges said, “By God’s perfect law we do this. He must be dispatched before he destroys us.” Iesous said “I do not wish to destroy you.” The judges then cried out, “See how he tries to deceive us.” Iesous said, “You have already been corrupted.” And they cried out, “Who are you to judge us?” He said to them, “You find me guilty because of what others have done. Would you have accused me of stealing if no one before me ever stole from another? Would you accuse me of murder if no one before me had killed another?” They said, “Do you call yourself the Christ who died for our sins?” And taunted him, “Are you the Christ then?” and he replied, “Only you by your actions will make me Christ.” And they had heard enough blasphemy and the people shouted out to hang him.
Sethus encouraged Iesous to destroy those who now attempted to harm him, for it was in his grasp to overthrow them. Iesous simply said to the first of the four women: “I know you. You are pride.” Then to the next: “I know you. You are suspicion.” Then to the third: “I know you. You are fear.” And to the last: “I know you. You are jealousy.” And each cried out and fled from him.
Iesous was then taken to be beaten and tortured; insulted, abused and left. After he had endured this, he was brought before Caesar, who said “I gave you a chance and you did not take it. Did I not warn you that this would befall you? You chose not to listen.” Iesous said “I did, but you were mistaken.” Caesar, due to his warnings, claimed he could not be held responsible for this man’s death.
On the way out Iesous saw Martha and her husband, a man who was considered the best Christian in the city, and asked that he might speak with them, but he said “I do not know you. Go speak to those with whom you came.”
And as he was led out, he did not think of what was to befall him, until he saw the tree and knew it would be the end of him. Caesar said, “Why did you want this?” Iesous replied, “I did not choose this. Do I go to kill myself?” “If you were in our place, would you not do the same?” And when he was brought up to it he said, “If only on that day I had not planted you, for I did not know then what you might become.” On the two large branches, on either side, there were two men hanging already, so they instead nailed him to its trunk.
And thus Caesar spoke to him as they put him up, “Am I the one who did this? Was it I who condemned you? Was it not I who warned you? Have I any power to stop this? This has only happened because of you. You wanted them to call you Christ.” And Iesous said, “If they did not do this, they would not need a Christ.”
The landlord shouted out that he was a thief and stole his money. And when the servant heard his words, went back to the house and brought out the money he had put safely away for him, and also the bag Iesous had left. He showed it to the man, who he thought would rejoice. Instead he told the servant to hide the money again and not to tell anyone.
And Iesous was nailed to the branches for three days before he was found dead. And Sethus came out to look upon him, and as Sethus stood, a snake emerged from behind a rock and bit his ankle. He collapsed and in a short time was dead. And as soon as it was known that Sethus had died, the stories of his villainy began to emerge and Arctus, whom Iesous helped, returned to the city. When people saw him they believed him to be an apparition, and no one would speak to him. They went and lifted the rock and found it empty and saw that it was indeed true. But still they did not admit to what they had done.
The three astrologers returned and inquired of the son of Mari who they had predicted would become very powerful. The people said that their chancellor had just died three days before, but then they said: “It was not him, but the other one we were seeking. For he was the one who would be truly powerful.”
Then they accused the people, and they said they had cause, even if he did not murder the man, but then the servant stepped forward and told them that the misplaced money had been found, with more besides. The woman whom Iesous spent time with said that nothing had transpired between them, that she had just accused him out of her husband’s jealousy. But that in truth she never had such contact with him but the kisses, for she loved him. “But he still said that God was within him, and that by our law is enough to justify his death.” And there were many witnesses to his blasphemies.
They said to the people, “Do you not have a commandment: ‘You shall not bear false witness’? Do you not have a commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’? Do you not have a proverb: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’?”
First they confronted the witnesses, who said “We are not to be blamed, we are but witnesses and spoke the truth.” Then to the judges, who said “We are not to be blamed, we were simply acting upon the evidence.” Then to the soldiers, who said “We are not to be blamed, we were simply carrying out the sentence.” And they replied to them “You have chosen your king from among men, and sent your Christ to his death upon the tree. Look now at what you have done. See yourselves, and look upon the child you have condemned to hang upon the tree. You have sacrificed your own Christ.”
Then the people walked out to the tree and looked upon it now and saw a very different scene. The people realized who the one they had condemned was, fell down and looking up to the sky wept over what they had done, and said “we did not know”, begged forgiveness and cried out lamentations that none were to hear of again until the year when the walls of the city were breached and the city conquered. There were none who wept so bitterly as Martha, whom none could console, and they made her a saint.
After this, they built several memorials. For in his life they condemned and denied him, but after death they praised him as their greatest citizen. He had risen a man from death, God was within him, and He had given all his money away to the selfish. They did not want anyone to learn of what had occurred and so all the official records relating to these events was stricken of any reference to them. It is for this reason that this story has been told here, so that it might be known.
Now Kvasata studied the words that Gajavah had left for them, but did not fully understand the meaning of it, as he only understood what he had seen around him there, and was still youthful and untested. But Gajavah favored him, so upon him descended a dream:
Kvasata found himself at a tree that stretched high into the air. As it reached its greatest height the number of branches was fewer and not as long, so fewer people could sit on each of its branches. The best fruit of the tree was at its very top while as you came down it was smaller and did not taste as good or have as nice a color. The tree descended from a deep dark pit that seemed to continue down forever. Below the ground the tree had only dark leaves and shriveled fruit. He looked at the men who were on the tree just above the ground and they taunted him. These lower branches teemed with people, each competing with the others for what fruit they found. They had long since given up trying to climb to the very top and instead used their best efforts against all the others. He could see those at the top living amongst the clouds, only a very few with all the abundance to themselves, with others always attempting to get higher and higher on the branches. Those that failed would fall down the tree again; some even would fall down into the deep pit where they would have to start their climb anew.
Even so, Kvasata reached out for one of the branches and with his youthful energy began to climb up the tree. Those at the bottom laughed at him, but did not try to stop him, since he was not taking what they had. Some on the lowest branches were hopeful that the new man might make it to the top and told him not to pay attention to the detractors. Kvasata climbed higher and higher, past those who had given up where they were. Until he was quite a way up, he thought. But looking up those at the top were still very high, and the ground was still not very far below. He decided to keep going as long as he could. Then he found that he was weakening the higher he climbed and no longer had the strength to make it. Those above him threw their rubbish down upon him. Others told him it was useless to go any further. Other tried to make him lose his grip. He asked if they could help him, but they only laughed, remembering how they had not been helped to get where they were. So there he remained for a while, deciding that where he had reached was not so bad, and was quite high above most of the others. Although he still had a long way to reach the top. If he could stay here for a time and recover his strength, he would then start climbing again. He would help those who had the strength to go higher than he, wondering if they could do it, then he might see how, but most failed and ended up below him on the tree where they remained. And when he had reached there, a figure appeared: an ancient man whom they called the Old One. But even though old in years his eyes were clear and wise. He asked him why he struggled so to reach the top, for it was better to go down. Now Kvasata could not believe this, and once he had gone the others mocked the old man, saying that it was good to ignore him.
By and by the years passed and he no longer thought why he should climb to the top. He was accepted where he was, except for the few who thought to challenge his position. And most of them were repelled, until one day a man more capable than Kvasata challenged his position. Kvasata was unable to hold on and fell. As he went down, some remembered his climb and shouted that they had told him that he would not make it, but most did not remember him and just let him fall. He stopped falling and looked up. Debris from all the people in the tree fell down upon him. The edge of the hole was above him and he was now below ground. He looked around and saw the shriveled fruits being collected by a few shriveled souls. He felt very uncomfortable here, but soon realized that he was now one of them. He was unable to reach the next branch without help, as they were much farther apart down here, but no-one would reach down for him. So he remained there and gathered what fruit he could. Some of the light reached him here, but below was only darkness. But although there was less fruit, the branches were much larger and stronger than they were higher on the tree and one had plenty of room. Although it was hard to live and those above ground taunted them and threw debris at them all the time, he felt he could stay here until he could find a way to the next branch and get back to where he had been.
By and by more years passed and he thought he may have been better off never having climbed the tree and just remaining with the others on its lowest branches, at least then he would be better off than he was now. Then some of the others decided that he was taking food that they wanted so a few of them came to him. He said they could work together to get to the higher branches, but instead they pushed him off his branch. He held on for a while but soon grew so hungry and weak. He let go. Again he fell and the rim of light grew dimmer and dimmer. He stopped falling and could not see, for it was very dark. The only food he could get was fruit and debris dropped by those higher up. There was much of it about on the large branches. And no one else could he see. The tree was very broad at this point. So again he decided to collect as much food as he could, but looked and saw that the next branch was large and very high above him. He then collapsed on the branch and began to cry. He thought how he had considered himself not so well off on the ground and that he should attempt to better himself. Why did he listen to those who told him he could make it? Just to be where he had been then, but he decided to climb and had almost reached the top. Or was it really so close; it was so much closer than now. There was nothing now and no hope of climbing up again, even to where he had just been. At least there he could find fruit, even if it was not good.
Now he knew he could not go any higher and in despair he did not eat. It was then that he saw a light moving down the branch towards him. It was the Old One. He held his lamp up and looked at the young man and asked why he was in such despair. Kvasata told the man that he had given up hope of ever reaching the next branch to climb out of the pit, let alone to ever reach the height of the tree he had been at before. The man told him it is not so difficult, but Kvasata told him that he could not reach the next branch up. The man told him to climb down. Kvasata asked what the man could possibly have meant by this. But he said to the man that if he could not climb higher he could easily climb lower on the tree. But Kvasata said that he had no wish to go lower. He could not even believe that anything could be lower than he was now. The man then asked Kvasata why he had wished to climb the tree, but after the man listened he asked if the branches down here could not hold even more people than above and they were stronger and people could have more space and freedom to move. Kvasata agreed, but said that it was no good as it was dark and there was no food here. The man told him to climb down. The man left and then Kvasata stood there for several moments. He certainly would fall into despair again if he remained where he was, so at least he would be doing something. And so he started climbing down.
He got lower and lower and soon found that it grew steadily lighter and lighter. Not only that, but the branches became abundant with new kinds of fruit, better than those that grew on even the highest branches. As he ate it he grew strong and youthful. He was happy and exhilarated. If only he could return to the top he could tell the others what wonderful things were here. He continued down and down further until he reached the absolute bottom. It was bright and everything was green and alive. There were wide expanses filled with the greatest of foods he had seen, enough for everyone who was on the branches. But he did not know how he could get back to them, since he could not climb up such a great height. So he remained, at least he could live here. Maybe someone else would soon be with him so that he would not be alone.
And so he lived there growing strong and lived happily, until the Old One appeared and came to him. Kvasata thanked him for telling him to climb down, for he had never been so rich. But he did not understand why others did not ever find this place and said that if he could return he could tell them about it. The Old One smiled again and told him that they would not listen. He had often told them but none would leave where they were to go lower. Those at the top were the most scornful, for they believed they had reached paradise on their high flimsy branches. But Kvasata asked how the man could have traveled up the tree again since the branches were so large above him and way beyond anyone’s reach. The Old One told him that he never climbed up but only climbed down. Kvasata did not understand so the Old One led him to a place. Kvasata saw nothing there and so the Old One told him to look down. Kvasata looked down and saw beneath him the top of the tree. Kvasata told the Old One he did not understand. He replied, don’t you? Kvasata asked why they did not see this paradise just a short distance above them. The Old One answered that they are incapable of seeing it, for only those who travel through the darkness have their eyes opened to its existence. Kvasata shouted down at them. But the Old One said that they could not hear him and they were not going to find this place, that time and again he told them to climb down the tree, but they laughed at him and ignored everything he said to them. Only a very few have found their way here. Kvasata asked where they were and he said that they no longer lived so close to the tree as they found that the world was so much larger. So Kvasata thanked the Old One and then decided to set out on his own journey and found that there were many trees, rivers and places the like of which he had not seen before. And so he was forever happy.
Naga and the Flood
Naga lived in the valley by the river known at that time as the Gold River because the waters produced the occasional flecks of gold from the mountains. He, like the others in the valley, had a field and animals who used the water of the Gold River as a source of life. One of his boundaries ran along the dike that went along the river to hold it from flooding the fields. On one journey out there, when one of his slaves had gotten his mule and plow stuck in the mud, by walking down a long length of the dike walls, Naga noticed that they were in need of considerable repair. Knowing they would not hold against the spring flood, he talked of the matter to his friends. They were the first to say he didn’t know what he was saying, since the wall had been built to last a thousand years. Since he himself was a simple farmer, and one of the poorer ones, he could find no one who would listen or act on his advice. Others had come before saying that disaster would strike, and even though Naga could always substantiate his claim, he could get no one to come and look at the wall.
So finally Naga took back to his farm and spent that summer building a large boat that was broader than any boat anyone had then seen, as this was many hundreds of years ago. He moved out of his house and within the boat and lived inside throughout the winter, and was the topic of much village gossip and the bunt of many jokes. When the spring rains came, Naga realized that if the river started rising this would be the time the floods would come and took his family, slaves, and his stores into the hold of the ship. But since he did not have room for all his animals only took on board his breeding pairs, so they would grow used to being fed within the boat. So he would know his land, he pounded long stakes into the ground at landmark points along the boundary of his field. The stories of his odd behavior spread, but he would not listen to their ridicule and made a few last attempts to get them to do the same. He could not even convince his daughter’s husband and family to accompany them, fearing they would be as ridiculed as he was, and his daughter decided to remain with her husband.
Then one of the nights there was a great deal of rain, and as always Naga took care to close the large door, and they spent the night within the boat hearing the rain pounding against the deck boards. And that night suddenly the boat began to toss and then to move. Naga stirred and walked up onto the deck and saw they were travelling down the valley on a tide of water. Naga could hear in the darkness cries of the victims, but as there was a new moon could see nothing. To prevent himself from being swept off the deck he returned and closed the hatch. He explained to his family the plight they were in, and that the flood had arrived. With the morning sun, Naga and his family looked across the valley that was once their home and saw nothing of their village, and only a few trees left standing. The rage of the river had swept through the valley, destroying everything in its path. Seeing some survivors, Naga and his sons threw lines to them and pulled them aboard. They said how they owed him their lives, but Naga could not save every survivor they saw, since he had little control over the direction his ship traveled. They simply swept by in the water, clinging to pieces of floating debris.
As it was still raining that day, Naga wondered when the waters would retreat. With no trees, birds landed on the roof and deck of the boat, but they did not attempt to shoo them away, feeling a kinship for these other survivors of the great flood. Then they were surprised when they awoke and found that the birds had flown, and on that fourth day it was that the boat finally touched ground again. Naga then let his family and slaves, all his animals, and the other survivors out. They had been terrified that they would not see the ground again. Naga himself got on his knees and gave thanks to Gajavah that he was warned of the flood, only counting as a loss the death of his daughter. To find his farm, Naga searched for the stakes he had pounded into the ground, but only found two of them. They had to wait for the fields to dry before they could plant a crop, and this took several weeks, as there was still more rain that season, but there was not another flood. That summer, he with the help of the others took to repairing and robusting the dike wall. And they were more mindful from then on of the force of the river and told the story to all their descendents, and it was from all those who had survived on Naga’s boat that all people of that country are descended.
There was one group of people led by Neb that arrived at a certain region beneath a mountain range. And there they met four men, who each possessed a magic spear. And the spears were such that whenever they were thrown, they would always hit their targets. And Neb’s people thought that if they had these spears then they could acquire some food and not starve. So one day, the men were leaving to go on a trading mission, and before they went Neb told them that since they would not be needing their spears that they could leave them with him. That he built a protected room for them and set two dogs outside and said that they would be protected until they returned. So each of the four gave into his keeping his magic spear and then went off, one heading east, another west, south and north.
So the day after they had gone Neb went in past his dogs and removed the spears. He gave them to four men, who went out and hunted the wild boars, and each time the spear struck and they brought back much food for everyone. Neb took the magic spears and placed them back into the hut. Then a day later the four men returned, and Neb took them to the hut and removed for them their spears and handed to each his own, and they were glad to see them returned to them. They went out then to hunt, as each was very hungry after his travels, but there were no boars around and so they each came back empty-handed. At this Neb told them that they had killed some and had meat to spare, and would give them some if they let him have a magic spear. They would not part with them, and offered some of the items they had returned with in exchange. But Neb insisted upon the spear, so the men determined they had no choice, and traded one of their magic spears for some food.
Later the men went out again, and so left their spears with Neb. And Neb put them in the hut with his two dogs guarding them. And the next day he removed them and gave them to four hunters. Now the hunters knew there were no boar where they had been before, so they went into a new area and there killed many boar who were of a largest size. They killed many and brought back and ate the meat of them and smoked what remained. And then Neb took the spears and returned them to the hut. And the next day the four men arrived, and Neb brought out their spears and returned them. But again they went out to hunt and came back with nothing, so Neb insisted that they give him another spear and he would give them some of the smoked meat that they had. So the men again agreed they had no choice and gave him one more spear.
Again it came time for the four men to go out on their journeys and they left their spears in Neb’s care. And when they went off Neb gave them to four men who found some very large, strong and ferocious boars, red colored with huge horns, and each threw and struck one of these beasts, but they did not die, but ran away. The men chased them, but they ran up the mountain, and so they gave up, returned and told Neb. Now Neb was nervous, since he had promised that they would be kept safely. So the people ate all of the meat or hid it away, and they left the area and went away. But even so the four men returned from the four directions and asked him what had become of their spears. Neb told them that they had been out hunting with them and that they had been put into wild boars who ran away with them. The four men then told him that he had agreed to keep them in safe keeping. For the giant wild boars were really demons of the volcano. The magic spears had been taken from them, and now that they had gotten them back, they could break open the earth and the fire beneath the ground would be released. Neb said that they had not told him this, but they said that he had been entrusted to protect their spears, which is what he promised.
It was shortly after this that the top of the mountain burst open, and drops of fire fell from the sky. The entire valley was caught up in a blaze and all but a few of Neb’s people were killed.
Great Chief Me
The first building was constructed, and the one who commanded them thought to put the people who were the least skilled among them in the lowest section, and that as the tower rose higher, he placed his warriors in the next section and the nobles in the next section up, and then he wished to make for himself the greatest edifice, reaching up unto heaven. In order to have his grand palace, Great Chief Me set forth that he deserved more than anyone else, and ordered them to take the blocks from those who lived at the bottom of the tower. And so they began to pull out blocks and take them up to the top and were in time nearly finished with it. And it was the most magnificent structure and he believed that he resided on this high place so to as God does in heaven, but there was not yet a high seat on which to set and wished one. And they removed one more great stone for this purpose, and when it was out, the entire tower fell away in that direction and toppled back to the earth. That marked the end of Great Chief Me.
Larrington, Carolyne, trans. The Poetic Edda. 1996. New York: Oxford, 1999.
Sturluson, Snorri. Edda. Trans. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. London: Everyman, 1987.