THE MINOR HISTORICAL WORKS
He is visited by an angel.
HOW HE ENTERTAINED AN ANGEL, AND WHILST MINISTERING TO HIM EARTHLY BREAD, WAS THOUGHT WORTHY TO BE REWARDED WITH BREAD FROM HEAVEN.
§ 12. Some
years after it pleased King Alfred, for the redemption of his soul, to grant to Abbot Eata a certain tract of country called Inrhypum, in which to build a monastery. The abbot, in consequence of this grant, erected the intended building, and placed therein certain of his brother monks, among whom was Cuthbert, and appointed for them the same rules and discipline which were observed at Melrose. It chanced that Cuthbert was appointed to the office of receiving strangers, and he is said to have entertained an angel of the Lord who came to make trial of his piety. For, as he went very early in the morning, from the interior of the monastery into the strangers' cell, he found there seated a young person, whom he considered to be a man, and entertained as such. He gave him water to wash his hands; he washed his feet himself, wiped them, and humbly dried them in his bosom; after which he entreated him to remain till the third hour of the day and take some breakfast, lest, if he should go on his journey fasting, he might suffer from hunger and the cold of winter. For he took him to be a man, and thought that a long journey by night and a severe fall of snow had caused him to turn in thither in the morning to rest himself. The other replied, that he could not tarry, for the home to which he was hastening lay at some distance. After much entreaty, Cuthbert adjured him in God's name to stop; and as the third hour was now come, prayer over, and it was time to breakfast, he placed before him a table with some food, and said, "I beseech thee, brother, eat