Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/256

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ominion. Alfred, the father of King Edward the First, alone escaped destruction; and in order to avoid the fate of the others, he remained concealed in the marshes of Glestingia during the three years that the ravage of the Danes was allowed to last. St. Cuthbert appears to Alfred.
A.D. 878
§ 2. But when God, with his wonted mercy, had now decreed to put an end to their barbarous cruelties, it came to pass that Alfred was sitting at home with the wife of the house and one servant, for all the others had been sent out to fish. Meanwhile a person in a foreign habit approached him, and earnestly besought alms. Alfred forthwith, with ready looks, ordered food to be given him; and learning from the servant that no food remained for their daily use, except one loaf and a measure of wine, said to him, with joyful countenance, "Thanks be to God, who hath thought worthy to visit me, his poor servant, in this place so far removed from the haunts of men, by another of his servants who is as poor as I." As he said these words with a cheerful look, he ordered half of each to be given to the man, thereby fulfilling the apostolical precept, "God loveth a cheerful giver." The stranger, apparently a poor man, took it and said, "Do not delay to offer repeated thanks to your Lord for his compassion towards me; for I hope that this, his benevolence, will be abundantly compensated; by heavenly mercies." He said this to the servant, who told it to his master; and when the servant returned to the place, he no where could see the stranger, but he found the bread and wine whole, and bearing no marks of having been divided. Astonished at this occurrence, he hastened to inform his master of it. The king recognized the miracle, and both himself and his wife were no less lost in astonishment than their servant. And although they minutely examined, they could not find out which way he had come or which way he had gone; and this was the more remarkable, because the place, being surrounded by water, could be approached by no one without a boat.