Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/236

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
164
THE MINOR HISTORICAL WORKS

there a large and very ancient fig-tree, according as Juvencus writes:—

"Informem rapuit ficus de vertice mortem."
"And met grim Death from off the Fig-tree's bough."

Moreover, Acheldemach, on the south side of Mount Sion, is still famed for the bodies of foreigners and ignoble people that are brought there, some to be buried in the ground, others to rot upon its surface.

 

 

CHAPTER V.

OF THE NAPKIN FROM OUR LORD'S HEAD, AND OF ANOTHER AND LARGER TOWEL MADE BY THE VIRGIN MARY.

The holy napkins The napkin from our Lord's head was stolen after his resurrection by a most good and Christian Jew, who kept it till his death, and left no end of riches. On his death-bed he asked his sons which of them would have the napkin, and which his other treasures. The elder chose the worldly money: the younger took the napkin. In process of time the wealth of the former diminished until he was reduced to poverty; but the riches of the younger increased with his faith, and the napkin continued for five generations in the possession of the faithful. After this, it fell into unholy hands, and increased their wealth as much as it had done in the case of the Jews, and for a very long time; until after long quarrels, the Christian Jews saying they were the heirs of Christ, and the unbelieving ones saying that they ought to inherit what had belonged to their fathers, Majuizas, king of the Saracens, who lived in our own times, was made umpire. He immediately kindled a large fire, and prayed Christ, who had deigned to wear this on his head for our salvation, to decide the question. The napkin was thrown into the fire, but rose out