Monday, 19 March 2018

In the desert, the prophet faced a crisis. A multitude had followed him outside the city. There were hundreds of people, many of them destitute and sickly, the heat was miserable, and most had not eaten for days. The prophet had only five loaves of mean bread and two unwholesome fish and some brackish water, but the people had followed him into the desert upon the expectation that he could fulfill their want and he assured the people that this meager store would be enough to satisfy their hunger and their thirst. He divvied up the bread and fish into many small pieces and set his assistants to distributing these among the mass of people while he walked about with his flask of water wetting the dusty lips of the smallest children. There was not nearly enough to go around, but something curious happened. The people did not eat the bread and the fish, but treated it so preciously that it soon attracted a premium, and people began to search their sacks and their pockets for such small amounts of seed and meal as they had secreted about their person. And they offered these for pieces of the bread and pieces of the fish. And partnerships were formed and deals struck and the bread and the fish were apportioned in ever finer parts and exchanged many times over. And much seed and meal and water was produced and it was traded, and people traded even seed and meal and water that they had not carried with them into the desert but had left in the city. And by the end of the day everyone's hunger had been sated and everyone's thirst had been slaked. Or at least they had been forgotten. And many thousands of people who had not been there in the desert that day later talked about the incident in greater detail than those who had.