Little Nathaniel heard his mother calling him and ran to the door of their tiny house. “Yes, Mother. You called me?” He handed her a small bucket with a small amount of goat’s milk in the bottom of it.
“Yes, my little son. Here is a coin which you are to hold tightly in your hand and go to the fisherman and buy two fish for supper, then take these five little loaves of barley bread to Widow Ruth. Hurry now and don’t dawdle. Your brothers will be home tonight and we must have supper on the table with something besides barley bread. We don’t have much to offer, but it will do.” Nathaniel grabbed the coin in his little hand and ran down the dusty street toward the middle of town.
When he arrived at the fisherman’s stand, the old burly guy said, “Yeah, boy, what do you want today?” He looked down at Nathaniel; sure he would be able to get his money’s worth out of the little lad.
“My mother wants fish for supper.”
“That will be two coins like that one in your palm for those two smoked fish there,” he growled.
“Sir, those look like yesterday’s catch, so I’ll take those off your hands for this one coin,” Nathaniel answered with a big grin showing two front teeth missing.
“Lad, those are not yesterday’s catch,” he lied, “but alright, take two and get away from here with you,” snapped the fisherman as he dropped the two fish into the boy’s old basket next to the small loaves of bread Nathaniel’s mother had taken out of the oven not long ago.
As Nathaniel headed toward Widow Ruth’s little ramshackle house, his friend Jacob called to him. “Nathaniel, come with me. I am going to see the man who does miracles.”
“I have to get this bread delivered, and then get home with the fish or my mother will tan my hide,” answered Nathaniel. But his friend begged and off they ran together.
After listening to Jesus tell stories of wonder to a huge crowd, it was getting late in the day. Two of Jesus’ disciples were talking about how they would feed all these thousands of people. The two little friends heard them and Nathaniel took his old basket with two fish and five little loaves and handed it to the disciple called Andrew.
Andrew presented the meager food to Jesus who smiled and told his men to have everyone sit down. The fish and bread were divided into other baskets and passed through the huge crowds.
Jacob said, “That is not going to last long, and we didn’t even get a piece for ourselves. What is wrong with you Nathaniel?”
Nathaniel watched with his little eyes getting bigger and bigger as he noticed that the baskets were heaped with pieces of fish and bread. How could that be? Andrew and Peter came back towards Jesus with full baskets. Jesus called the two young boys to him and handed them each large pieces of fish and bread. They sat down on the ground in front of this miracle man and ate the tastiest food that had ever touched their palates.
When they had their fill, Jesus filled up Nathaniel’s basket with three times the food it had first contained and told him to go home because his mother was worried. The little lad looked in Jesus’ eyes and gave him a toothless grin, grabbed his basket in one hand and Jacob’s arm in the other, and ran for home.
On the way he stopped at Widow Ruth’s and gave her bread and fish. She gave Nathaniel two pieces of fruit. When he arrived home his mother was standing in the doorway with a scowl on her face.
“Where have you been my disobedient boy?” Then she saw her old basket loaded with food. She was overjoyed and asked Nathaniel where he got this feast.
“Mother, Jacob took me to see a man named Jesus and I heard his wonderful stories and saw him do miracles. Our two fish and your five barley loaves fed thousands of people and this is part of what was leftover. It was a miracle,” he said with wide-eyed wonder.
His mother put a piece of the fish into her mouth and chewed slowly. She smiled at her son as she now believed his tale, and then she said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
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