23. The Miraculous Fountain

AFTER THREE DAYS, they found another island. It was encircled by a golden rampart, and within the walls, the ground everywhere was white, like fine down or snow.

There was another old man there, and his hair also was grown so much that it covered him entirely, so that he had no need of clothing. The island seemed to be quite bare, so they asked him how he fed himself.

“There is a fountain in this island,” he replied. “On Fridays and Wednesdays, whey and water flow from it. On Sundays and on the feasts of martyrs, there is good milk. But on the feasts of the apostles, and of Mary and John the Baptist, we receive ale and wine from it.”

And then every man was brought half a cake and a piece of fine fish; and they drank their fill of the strong liquor from the island’s fountain. And it cast them into a heavy sleep, which lasted until the following morning.

When they had passed three days and nights in this fashion, the hermit told them that it was time to go. So they bade him farewell, and went on their way.

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