ENGLISH

The twelve apostles

ITALIANO

I dodici apostoli


Three hundred years before the birth of the Lord Christ, there lived a mother who had twelve sons, but was so poor and needy that she no longer knew how she was to keep them alive at all. She prayed to God daily that he would grant that all her sons might be on the earth with the Redeemer who was promised. When her necessity became still greater she sent one of them after the other out into the world to seek bread for her. The eldest was called Peter, and he went out and had already walked a long way, a whole day's journey, when he came into a great forest. He sought for a way out, but could find none, and went farther and farther astray, and at the same time felt such great hunger that he could scarcely stand. At length he became so weak that he was forced to lie down, and he believed death to be at hand. Suddenly there stood beside him a small boy who shone with brightness, and was as beautiful and kind as an angel. The child smote his little hands together, until Peter was forced to look up and saw him. Then the child said, "Why art thou sitting there in such trouble?" - "Alas!" answered Peter, "I am going about the world seeking bread, that I may yet see the dear Saviour who is promised, that is my greatest desire." The child said, "Come with me, and thy wish shall be fulfilled." He took poor Peter by the hand, and led him between some cliffs to a great cavern. When they entered it, everything was shining with gold, silver, and crystal, and in the midst of it twelve cradles were standing side by side. Then said the little angel, "Lie down in the first, and sleep a while, I will rock thee." Peter did so, and the angel sang to him and rocked him until he was al seep. And when he was asleep, the second brother came also, guided thither by his guardian angel, and he was rocked to sleep like the first, and thus came the others, one after the other, until all twelve lay there sleeping in the golden cradles. They slept, however, three hundred years, until the night when the Saviour of the world was born. Then they awoke, and were with him on earth, and were called the twelve apostles.
Trecento anni prima della nascita di Cristo, viveva una madre che aveva dodici figli, ma era così povera e misera che non sapeva come tenerli in vita. Pregava il Signore ogni giorno di concederle che tutti i suoi figli vivessero sulla terra insieme al promesso Redentore. Dato che la loro miseria si faceva sempre più grande, li mandò uno dopo l'altro in giro per il mondo per guadagnarsi il pane. Il maggiore si chiamava Pietro: se ne andò e aveva già camminato per un intero giorno, quando capitò in un gran bosco. Cercò una via per uscirne, ma non la trovò e si addentrò sempre più, era così affamato che a stento si reggeva in piedi. Alla fine era tanto indebolito che dovette distendersi e credette di essere vicino a morire. D'un tratto gli fu accanto un bambino splendente, bello e gentile come un angelo. Il bimbo batté, le manine, sicché, egli dovette alzare gli occhi e guardarlo. Il bimbo disse: "Perché, te ne stai qui tutto triste?" - "Ah" rispose Pietro "vado in giro per il mondo a procurarmi il pane per poter vivere e riuscire a vedere il promesso Redentore: è il mio desiderio più grande." Il bimbo disse: "Vieni come me e il tuo desiderio sarà esaudito." Prese Pietro per mano e lo condusse in una caverna. Come entrarono tutto sfolgorava d'oro, d'argento e cristallo, e in mezzo c'erano dodici culle, l'una accanto all'altra. Allora l'angioletto disse: "Coricati nella prima e dormi un poco, io ti cullerò." Pietro ubbidì e l'angioletto gli cantò la ninna nanna e lo cullò finché, non fu addormentato. E, mentre dormiva, arrivò il secondo fratello, condotto anche lui dal suo angelo custode, e anche lui fu cullato finché, si addormentò. E così arrivarono anche gli altri, l'uno dopo l'altro, fino a quando tutti e dodici giacquero dormendo nelle culle d'oro. Dormirono per trecento anni, fino alla notte in cui nacque il Redentore. Allora si svegliarono, vissero con lui sulla terra e furono chiamati i dodici apostoli.





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