There was a couple in Constantinople who had always had a special love for Saint Nicholas. Each feast day they celebrated with special food, wine, holy bread, and candles. Now that they were old, and no longer able to work, they were very poor. The man asked his wife how they could get money to buy what was needed. She took an old carpet, saying, "Here is our last possession. Sell it and then buy all we need to show our gratitude to God and Saint Nicholas." The old man took the rug and set off to the marketplace.
Arriving at the market, a distinguished looking nobleman asked how much the rug cost. The man told him what it cost when new, saying he'd take whatever he could get for it. The nobleman gave him six gold pieces—much more than the man expected—took the rug and left. People near the man were puzzled as he seemed to be talking to himself. After purchasing the needed items, the man headed home.
Meanwhile, back at the house, a distinguished looking man approached the woman, "Take this rug. Your husband is an old friend of mine and I met him at the marketplace today." And he gave her the carpet.
When the man returned, his wife accused him of not selling the carpet, "How could you break your promise and not sell this rug?" "Who gave the rug to you?" he asked. She described the man, and he realized it was the same person who'd bought the rug. The man, realizing it must have been a miracle, exclaimed, "The Lord liveth! The man who bought the carpet from me and brought it back to our poor home, is indeed St. Nicholas, for a man saw me talking to him and asked if I saw an apparition, for the saint was invisible." He showed his wife what he'd bought—food, wine, holy bread, candles—and the left-over money.
Rejoicing, they hurried to the church of St. Nicholas to tell the Patriarch all that had happened. After hearing the story, the Patriarch gave the couple a generous life pension. They returned home for a fine St. Nicholas feast with hymn singing and prayers of thanksgiving.
The vitae of St. Nicholas and His Hagiographical Icons in Russia, Vol. 2, doctoral dissertation by Alexander Bogouslawski, University of Kansas, 1980, pp. 82-83.
Service, Akathist, Life and Miracles of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York. A complete translation of the Life and the Miracles of St. Nicholas as it appears in The Lives of the Saints in the Russian Language as set forth according to the guidance of the Menologiion of St. Dimitry of Rostov, Moscow, Synodal Press, 1903.
The Life and Miracles of Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker, by Count Michael Tolstoy, Publishing House of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, translated from Serbian by Petar V. Sherovich.