The Miracle of St. Nicholas
Heroic Ballads of Serbia
George Rapall Noyes & Leonard Bacon
Dear God, great marvel is it unseen wonders to behold!
In St. Paul’s white monastery were tables of the gold,
And all the saints in order were seated. At the head
Was the Thunderer Elijah; where the midst of the board was spread,
Were Máriya and Sava; at the bottom of the board
Were Holy Friday and Sunday. To the glory of Christ the Lord
To drink, and begin the festival, St. Nicholas stood up,
But he fell asleep in a little and in slumber dropped the cup.
It fell on the golden table, but broke not, nor spilled the wine.
Elijah then rebuked him:
“Nicholas, brother mine,
We have not slumbered, brother, though we drank cool wine ere now,
Nor dropped cups from our fingers. Why dost thou slumber so?”
Said St. Nicholas:
“Elijah the Thunderer, let be!
I closed my eyes for a little and a strange dream came to me.
There were three hundred cáloyers (1) set sail on the blue sea,
And they bore sacrificial gifts to the famous Holy Height
Of Athos; yellow wax they bore and also incense white.
The wind arose among the clouds; the waves of the sea it smote,
To drown three hundred cáloyers. But they cried as from one throat:
‘Aid us, God and St. Nicholas! Come, wherever thou mayst be!’
And I aided them and the cáloyers came home again from sea;
Safe home came the three hundred, and O their hearts were light!
They bore the sacrificial gifts unto the Holy Height
Of Athos; yellow wax they bore and white incense as well.
At that time did I slumber, and the cup from my fingers fell.”
(1) Monks of the Greek church.