A Strange Visit

A folk tale from Albania

St. Nicholas came into a village on his feast day, December 6th, St. Nicholas Day. Coming to a poor man's cottage, the good saint knocked on the door. The family invited him in, welcoming him to sit with them in their simple room.

No food was offered; the family had no food at all. However, Nicholas was hungry and asked for something to eat. When told there was no food, Nicholas insisted that the man put his only son in the oven to be roasted for dinner.

The poor man was distraught, but not seeing an alternative, did as he was told. The family and their guest waited for several hours, talking awkwardly, while the oven did its work.

Bag of coins

When the oven door was finally opened, the fire was out and the boy was playing happily with a bag of gold coins.

The amazed and astonished family turned to their guest. However, there was no one else in the room.

Adapted from The Christian Saints of Albania by Robert Elsie.

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