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 a bargain at eighteen drachmas

Abbot Anastasius had a book of very fine parchment, which was worth twenty drachmas.  It contained both the Old and the New Testaments in full. Once a certain monk came to visit him and, seeing the book, made off with it.  So that day when Anastasius went to his Scripture reading he found that it had gone and knew at once that the monk had taken it. But he did not send after him, for fear that he might add the sin of perjury to that of theft.

Now the monk went into the city to sell the book.  He wanted eighteen drachmas for it. The buyer said, “Give me the book so that I may find out if it is worth that much money.”  With that, he took the book to the holy Anastasius and said, “Father, take a look at this and tell me if you think it is worth as much as eighteen drachmas.”  Anastasius said, “Yes, it is a fine book. And at eighteen drachmas it is a bargain.”

So the buyer went back to the monk and said, “Here is your money.  I showed the book to Father Anastasius and he said it was worth eighteen drachmas.”

   The monk was stunned.  “Was that all he said? Did he say nothing else?”

“No, he did not say a word more than that.”

“Well, I have changed my mind and don’t want to sell the book after all.”

Then he went back to Anastasius and begged him with many tears to take the book back, but Anastasius said gently, “No, brother, keep it.  It is my present to you.”

But the monk said, “If you do not take it back, I shall have no peace.”

After that the monk dwelt with Anastasius for the rest of his life.