Story Twelve

THE LITTLE BOY AT SHUNEM
THE prophet Ē̇-lī́ shȧ went through the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el, meeting in many places the people who worshipped the Lord, and teaching them. On one of his journeys he visited the little city of Shṳ́ nem, which was on a hill looking over the great plain of Ĕś dra-ḗ lon from the east. A rich woman who was living in that place asked him to come to her house, and to take his meals there whenever he journeyed by. So, as often as Ē̇-lī́ shȧ came to Shṳ́ nem on his journeys, he stopped for a meal or a night at this woman's home. After a time the lady said to her husband, "I see that this is a holy man of God who Comes to our house so often. Let us build a little room for him on the side of the house; and let us place in the room for him a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick; so that when he comes it' will be a home for him, and he can sleep there.”
So they built the room, and as often as Ê-lī́ shȧ passed by he stayed there with his servant, the man who waited on him, as Ē̇-lī́ shȧ himself in other days had waited upon Ē̇-lī́ jah. The servant's name was Ḡē̇-hā́ zī. At one time Ē̇-lī́ shȧ said to the woman, "You have been very kind to me and to my helper, and have done much for us. Now, what can I do for you? Shall I ask the king to show you some favor? Or would you like anything that the chief of the army can do for you?" The woman said, "I live among my own people, and there is nothing else that I wish." Then Ḡē̇-hā́ zī said to Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, "This woman has no son." And Ē̇-lī́ shȧ said to her, "A year from this time, God will give to you a little boy.”
The promise made the woman very happy; but she could scarcely believe it to be true, until the little child came. He grew up, and became old enough to go with his father out into the field among the men who were reaping grain. Suddenly, in the field, the child cried out to his father, "O my head, my head!”
His father saw that he was very ill, and he told one of his men to take him to his mother. He lay in his mother's arms until noon, and then he died. The mother did not tell her husband that the boy was dead; but she rode as quickly as she could go to the prophet, who was on the other side of the plain, near Mount Cäŕ mel.
While she was yet far off, Ē̇-lī́ shȧ saw her coming, and he said to Ḡē̇-hā́ zī, his servant, "Run to meet this lady of Shṳ́ nem, and ask her, 'Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?"'
She answered, "It is well"; but she did not stop until she met the prophet, and then she fell down before him and took hold of his feet. Ḡē̇-hā́ zī., the prophet's servant, did not think it was proper for her to seize him in this manner, and was about to take her away. But Ē̇-lī́ shȧ said to him, "Let her alone, for she is in deep trouble; and the Lord has hid it from me, and has not told me.”
And the woman said, "Did I ask for a son? Did I not say, `Do not deceive me?" Then Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, knew what had taken place.
He said to Ḡē̇-hā́ zī, "Take my staff, and go at once to this woman's house. If you meet any man, do not stop to speak to him; and if any one speaks to you, do not stop to answer him. But go, and lay my staff on the face of the child.”
But the mother was not content to have the servant only go to her house. She wanted Ē̇-lī́ shȧ himself to go; and she said, "As surely as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.”
Then Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, followed her back to Shṳ́ nem, across the plain. On the way they met Ḡē̇-hā́ zī coming back. He had laid the staff, as he had been told to lay it, on the face of the child; and he said, "The child is not awaked.”
When Ē̇-lī́ shȧ came he found the child dead, and laid upon the bed in the prophet's room, the staff upon his face. He shut the door, and prayed beside the bed to the Lord. And after his prayer, he lay with his face upon the child's face, and his hands on the child's hands; and as he lay the child's body began to grow warm. Then he rose up, and walked up and down in the house; and again he lay upon the child, and put his arms around him. Suddenly the child began to sneeze, and then he opened his eyes, alive once more.
Ē̇-lī́ shȧ told his servant to call the mother, and when she came he said to her, "Take up your son.”
The mother saw that her son was alive from the dead; she fell at Ē̇-lī́ shȧ's feet to show how great was her thankfulness to him, and then she took her son up in her arms, and went out.