Children's Legends, No. 2

The Twelve Apostles

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

It was three hundred years before the birth of Christ the Lord, and there lived a mother who had twelve sons, but she was so poor and needy that she did not know how she would be able to keep them alive. She prayed daily to God that he might allow her sons to be together on earth with the promised savior. When her need became even greater she sent them, one after the other, out into the world to seek something to eat.

The oldest one was named Peter. He went forth, and had already walked far, an entire day's journey, when he found himself in a great forest. He looked for a way out, but could not find one, going instead deeper and deeper into the woods. His hunger was so great that he could barely stand upright. He finally became so weak that he had to lie down, and he believed that he was near death.

Suddenly there stood before him a small boy. He glistened, and was as beautiful and as friendly as an angel. The child clapped his hands together, causing Peter to look up at him. Then he said, "Why are you sitting there so sadly?"

"Oh," answered Peter, "I am walking about in the world seeking something to eat, so that I might be able to see the promised savior, for that is my greatest wish."

The child said, "Come with me. Your wish shall be fulfilled."

He took poor Peter by the hand and led him between the cliffs to a large cave. They went inside, and everything glistened with gold, silver, and crystal. In the middle there stood twelve cradles next to each other.

Then the little angel said, "Lie down in the first one, and sleep a little. I will rock you."

Peter did this, and the little angel sang to him and rocked him until he fell asleep.

While he slept the second brother came to him. He too had been brought there by his guardian angel, and he too was rocked to sleep. In a like manner the others came as well, each in turn, until all twelve were lying there asleep in the golden cradles. There they slept for three hundred years until the night when the savior of the world was born. Then they awoke and were with him on earth, and they were called the twelve apostles.

Links to related sites

Revised November 30, 2005.