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Chapter 20 - Zinka's amazement at the miracle of the table.
20,1. After that, Zinka, who is a very big man, stands up and surveys all the tables, which of course were packed with bowls full of the finely prepared fish together with bread loaves and many mugs and jugs of the best wine. He also notices that all the guests are already eating heartily, without the quantity of food appearing to diminish at any of the many tables. In a few words, the longer our Zinka continues his survey, the more dumbfounded he becomes, so that in the end he starts to feel dizzy. Only a strong appetite and the good smell of the food compel him to sit down and start to eat.
20,2. Ebahl puts the best and largest fish in front of him and tells him that this is one of the most noble species from the Tiberian Sea as that was the name of the large bay in the Sea of Galilee forming part of the reasonably large region of Caesarea Philippi. Zinka eats the fish with increasing relish, because it tastes extremely good to him, and at the same time he does not neglect the honeysweet tasting bread and diligently greets his full mug of wine, which does not wish to become noticeably emptier, just as he is not able to finish the fish, although he is eating with a healthy appetite.
20,3. In the same way as it goes with him, so it also goes with his companions. They would all like to be quite happy and cheerful and very talkative, but their constantly increasing amazement about the strange events at the meal does not allow them any time for that; because these are experiences which they have never have had before. Therefore they are already replete which is as they should be. Nevertheless, the good taste of the fish, the bread and the wine tempts them to continue in their enjoyment of the food – without their understanding where this comes from.
20,4. Finally Zinka speaks to Cyrenius and urges him to tell him, what it is all about.
20,5. But Cyrenius answers and says: “When the meal is over, the time will come to talk over a few things but for now, eat and drink to your heart’s desire!”
20,6. Says Zinka: “Friend, my noble lord and master! In my whole life I was never a gourmet; but if I am in your company for much longer, then I certainly will become one! I just do not understand why I keep eating and drinking!? I am full and my thirst is satisfied, nevertheless I can still continue to eat and drink! And the wine is better and stronger than any I have ever tasted before but it is of no value, I just do not become intoxicated!
20,7. I still stand by my opinion that natural things do not happen around here! In this large crowd a great magician must be hiding and giving evidence of his unfathomable power to perform miracles! Otherwise we are near that great prophet, for whom I have searched with my twenty-nine companions!? If this should be the case, then I submissively ask you, noble friend and master, to send the thirty of us wherever you want us to go. If not, you will have to fetter us again because if we were to meet with the prophet by chance, we would be obliged to take him by force because of the solemn oath we gave to Herod. It would indeed be of no value to us and yet, because of the oath, we have to gamble with our own downfall!”
20,8. Says Cyrenius: “What, - where does this comes from?! Where and in which law is it written, that an evil, damnable oath obtained by force, should be upheld?! Your oath is already null and void because you and your twenty-nine companions are my prisoners! From now on it means you have to do whatsoever I and the generals under my command order you to do, and in future never the orders given by your stupid Herod! You are released from your evil oath for all time until eternity!
20,9. If the great prophet came from somewhere into our midst, no one of you would dare to touch him even with only one finger. Whoever might dare to do it for the sake of his stupid oath, will feel the weight of Roman ruthlessness!
20,10. My friend Zinka, because of your truly intelligent remarks I have previously regarded you as quite a wise person but with this last statement of your opinion you have lost a lot of ground with me! Was your earlier position then only play-acting on your part?”
20,11. Says Zinka: “No, no, certainly not, noble lord and master! I and all of my men think and wish for that which we have thought, wanted and spoken for earlier. However, you must recognize that faced with the events which have occurred here and continue to occur, a person of some intelligence starts to have his eyes opened. In the end he must become somewhat embarrassed and confused in his thoughts, his desires, his speech and his actions.
20,12. If I had ever seen something similar, I surely would also behave as quietly as all of you. My wise neighbour had hardly finished saying that the midday meal would be 80served, and within a few moments see how the tables started to bend under the weight of the food and drink! It is possible for some kind of artificial device to exist which would enable that work to be completed a little faster than normal; but that fast!? Certainly, no mechanical device would be sufficient! In a few words, anyone can tell me whatever he will, but I will hold my ground and say:-“This was either extraordinary magic or a perfect miracle!”
20,13. You, noble friend and lord, can easily stay calm because you surely know the reason for it; but with us it is an entirely different matter! Just look at the fish which I am still eating! I have already eaten from it more than enough, and still the bigger half by a wide margin remains! I am completely full but I can still continue to eat! Here is my mug from which I already have drunk easily a full measure, and look at it, the level of the wine is hardly three fingers below the top! Yes, as a thinking man one cannot accept this with complete indifference, as if it was so-to-speak a non-event! I am your prisoner here and cannot demand an explanation from you regarding this miraculous event but I can ask you for it, can I not? I did therefore ask you, but you told me to wait!
20,14. To wait would be acceptable if I were nursing the dead weight of a rock inside me instead of my soul, eager to learn. My soul is not however a rock, but a spirit constantly thirsting for enlightenment. Its thirst can not be quenched by a cool refreshing drink, but only by a word of explanation spoken by the mouth of a spirit who has already drunk his fill. You have this ethereal drink in abundance and are full to the brim with it; but for me with my hot thirst, you do not wish to dribble one drop of your overabundance onto my burning tongue! You must see that this is what troubles me greatly and most confuses my senses! If I become a little perplexed, can you, noble friend, wonder at it?
20,15. However, enough of all that! I have already become quite annoyed with myself about the whole issue and will leave this miracle to one side! Man should not know everything and does not need to know everything. To earn the necessity of his daily bread, man does not need to learn, to experience and to know a great deal. Only a real fool strives beyond that point! Therefore keep on drinking and eating, while there is still something left! If I may know nothing at all, I prefer to know nothing at all! Since what one wants for oneself, one can easily endure the lack of; only the will of a stranger is heavy for any honest soul to digest. From now on you can rest assured that you will never be bothered again by a question from me!”
20,16. With these words Zinka felt silent, quietly ate his fish and frequently took with it bread and wine. His travelling companions also did likewise and took very little notice of anything happening nearby, or of anything that was being said.
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