Thursday, February 11, 2010

"The Three Hermits." Leo Tolstoy.

One-minute review: The Bishop is on a ship with a group of pilgrims bound for a famous monastery. On the way, he sees some men talking and pointing toward the sea. A fisherman is telling the others that out there is an island with hermits living on it. The Bishop listens in wonder to the tale of the hermits, sees the island and asks the Captain to let him visit the island and meet the hermits.

On the island, the Bishop meets three elderly hermits and learns that their method of prayer is as follows: “Three are ye [referring to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost], three are we, have mercy on us.” The Bishop teaches them to pray correctly with the “Our Father.” The Bishop returns to the ship and it is in full sail and out of sight of the island when the steersman gasps—the three hermits are walking, gliding on the water trying to reach the ship. They have forgotten the “Our Father,” and want the Bishop to teach them again. The Bishop says, “Your own prayer will reach the Lord, men of God. It is not for me to teach you.”

75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World’s Literature. Ed. Roger B. Goodman. New York: Bantam Books. 1961. These summaries do not do justice to the vividness of the stories. RayS.

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