Aedan, as the first mate of the ship, was given the responsibility by his Captain to make certain that the ship was loaded with the needed cargo before setting sail. Because it was a small ship, barely fit to hold even the load it would have to hold, the Captain had his second mate make certain that the cargo was not filled with unnecessary belongings or even hidden slaves trying to escape their fates. Many unwanted passengers had attempted to come aboard in times past, and all were tossed overboard if found midway. Some passengers would manage to pay for passageway before the ship departed, but that would not be permitted this time with the ship being filled to capacity.
It was by evening that the ship was almost completely filled with its needed cargo. During that time, while he was preparing the last bits of freight left to load, a young man of about twenty years approached him. The young man asked him, “Excuse me, sir? Do you have room to spare for one more passenger?”
He responded immediately, his glance at the freight being loaded before his eyes, “State your name and your business. What use do you have of this ship?”
“My name is Patrick. I have been called back to my country, and I need transportation to get there. God directed me to this place so I could find the transportation I needed, and so here I am now.”
He laughed, “Ha! God brought you here. Tell me, which one?”
“I worship one God, one who came down to this earth and died so that He might save me and anyone who wishes to have salvation. Will you be able to provide the passage for me?”
Aedan ignored the young man’s question for a moment, chuckling to himself. “Well, that’s a new one. Have you got any money about you? We might be able to secure some way of passage — I’d like to hear more about this only god of yours who saved you.”
The young man looked down. “I have none.”
“You have none? No money and you expect passage?” he laughed. “Well, if this god of yours died for you, then maybe he could conjure up some money for your passage, eh? Otherwise, what use is there of such a god? At least the gods I worship protect me on my journeys.”
Patrick smiled in return. “So you are saying that I will need money. Will you tell me how much is required?”
“Oh, if your god is able to direct you here and save you by dying while being worshiped, I assume he should know how much,” he laughed.
Patrick took his staff and turned aside, replying, “As you wish.”
Aedan turned to his captain once Patrick left. He quickly related the young man’s tale of a god who died and wanted him to be transported as quickly as possible without giving any money, to which the captain joined in his laughter. “Well, if this lad knows where to steal the money, we may grant him passage. If he knows. Not that we have much room to spare, but his fictional stories will provide much entertainment for us, I am assuming. Where is he now?”
Aedan pointed at Patrick, who knelt upon the dark soil a few meters apart from them. “There, sir.”
The captain scratched his chin. “I don’t see anything peculiar, no stealing occurring at all…”
Aedan watched Patrick closely, just as his captain was doing so. He saw Patrick rise from his kneeling position before digging his hand into the water. After a brief moment, he pulled his hand out, revealing a fish flailing in his open palm. Patrick opened the mouth of the fish, and out came two gleaming coins that slipped into his hand. He then released the fish back into the water. Aedan stood, mesmerized by what had just happened. He began to wonder how a fish could possibly be so close to shore, how Patrick could easily grasp the fish and hold it in his open palm, and how the fish could possibly spit out two coins. It was, he thought, most definitely impossible. Yet it just happened. His eyes did not deceive him. Nor did it deceive the captain.
The captain instructed him, “Have the man come on board. I would like to speak with him. And grant him passage when he comes to you.”
Patrick approached Aedan once more, the two coins still shimmering in his hands. “Is this enough for passage?”
Aedan nodded, still in shock from what he had just seen. He cleared his throat, attempting to recover himself. “Yes, this is enough. The captain would like to have a word with you. You are allowed passage.”
“Praise the Lord, thank you very much!” Patrick responded, shaking Aedan’s hand. He wore a wide, genuine smile upon his lips.
And while you’re praising him, maybe this god could get me a little something as well… Aedan thought to himself, shaking Patrick’s hand with a greedy smile upon his lips.
Maribel C. Pagan has appeared or is forthcoming in The Stray Branch, Moledro, The Voices Project, and others. She has received the Junior Reading Giants Award, has made the President’s List in Mohawk Valley Community College, and others. In her free time, she is the host of The Maddie Show on WLMU Radio, and a singer and musician for The Angelic Family Choir, a family singing group that has appeared on EWTN Global Radio Network. You can find out more about Maribel at therollinghills.wordpress.com.