Sacred-Texts Islam
Index Previous Next


'There was a disciple of Haggai nigh to Hosea; and he, wishing to see if his own book was well written, went to visit Hosea and said to him: "Brother, take thy book and let us see if it is even as mine."

'Hosea answered: "It hath been taken away from me."

'"Who hath taken it from thee?" said the disciple.

'Hosea answered: "The book of Moses." Hearing which, the other went to Haggai and said to him: "Hosea hath gone mad, for he saith the book of Moses hath taken away from him the book of Moses."

'Haggai answered: "Would to God, O brother, that I were mad in like manner, and that all mad folk were like unto Hosea!"

'Now the Syrian robbers, having raided the land of Judaea, seized the son of a poor widow, who dwelt hard by Mount Carmel, where the prophets and Pharisees abode. It chanced, accordingly, that Hosea having gone to cut wood met the woman, who was weeping. Thereupon he straightway began to weep for whenever he saw anyone laugh he laughed, and whenever he saw anyone weep he wept. Hosea then asked the woman touching the reason of her weeping, and she told him all.

'Then said Hosea: "Come, sister, for God willeth to give thee thy son."

'And they went both of them to Hebron, where Hosea sold himself, and gave the money to the widow, who, not knowing how he had gotten that money, accepted it, and redeemed her son.

'He who had bought Hosea took him to Jerusalem, where he had an abode, not knowing Hosea.

'Haggai, seeing that Hosea was not to be found, remained afflicted thereat. Whereupon the angel of God told him how he had been taken as a slave to Jerusalem.

'The good Haggai, when he heard this, wept for the absence of Hosea as a mother weepeth for the absence of her son. And having called two disciples he went to Jerusalem. And by the will of God, in the entrance of the city he met Hosea, who was laden with bread to carry it to the labourers in his master's vineyard.

'Having recognized him, Haggai said: "Son, how is it that thou hast forsaken thine old father, who seeketh thee mourning?"

'Hosea answered: "Father, I have been sold."

'Then said Haggai in wrath: "Who is that bad fellow who hath sold thee?"

'Hosea answered: "God forgive thee, O my father; for he who hath sold me is so good that if he were not in the world no one would become holy."

'"Who, then, is he?" said Haggai.

'Hosea answered: "O my father, it was the book of Moses."

'Then the good Haggai remained as it were beside himself, and said: "Would to God, my son, that the book of Moses would sell me also with all my children, even as it hath sold thee!"

'And Haggai went with Hosea to the house of his master, who when he saw Haggai said: "Blessed be our God, who hath sent his prophet unto my house"; and he ran to kiss his hand. Then said Haggai: "Brother, kiss the hand of thy slave whom thou hast bought, for he is better than I." And he narrated to him all that had passed; whereupon the master gave Hosea his freedom.

And that is all that thou desiredst, O Master,' [said the scribe].