Sinterklaas and the three children in the brine barrel
GeneralAbout 150 legends have been written about this saint and thousands of stories have been told. The stories tell of his care for the poor, his fight for justice, the protection of the weak, his fight against deceit and injustice, his actions against unjust justice and intervening in many personal emergency situations of people. They tell of his solidarity with the weakest of society (eg the women without dowry, the famine in Myra, the three children in the brine barrel, the farmers in need, the skippers in the storm).
This shows that we should rather read these legends as expressions of a faith. So it appears that Nicholas was an example for the Christians of his time. The name Nicolaos means: nikè (victory) and laos (people): victor, liberator for and from the people. He is honored as a saint, as a healer. He is a man of God. He defends social and religious-religious liberation from the consequences of the exploitation and suppression of the Roman powers.
The legendOne day three poor students arrived in Myra. It was already late. They were tired from a long journey and were hungry and had no place to sleep for the night. They didn't have any money. They had come to this great seaport hoping to learn something and to provide for their existence in one way or another. They knew the fame of Saint Nicholas, which they honored. They knew how generous he was and helpful. But they were modest and had too much respect for him to bother him so late with their worries. That is why they decided that night to go and ask someone from the town, because they could not afford an overnight stay in one of the hostels. So they went together through the narrow streets of the city, searching for an illuminated window, where someone would be awake. It became later and later. When they finally came to a butcher shop, where they saw another fire glowing through the windows in the fireplace of the back room. The butcher, a surly, well-built man, asked roughly what they wanted. "We are tired and hungry and it is already so late. Can you provide us with a bed and a meal, good man?" the oldest of the students answered. "My house is not open to vagabonds like you," the butcher added in a bitter tone of voice. He slammed the door shut in front of them.
The three lads stood in the dark street disgustingly. The cold night wind blew through their thin clothes. They were already preparing to move on to see if other residents could help them better than this unfriendly man. The butcher's wife, a greedy and cruel woman, had heard the boys complain. She had also seen that each of them carried a large sack aside. She concluded from this that the students carried their treasures with them. She said to her husband: "How stupid of you to send those boys away. Did you not see how heavy their bag was? Things are going badly and we can probably earn enough from them to pay our debts. The last pork is in the cockpit and tomorrow we will have no more money to replenish our stock If we feed those students, we can seize their treasures when they will sleep With the money we can find on them we will buy another pig tomorrow and we will not have to leave our store for debt. " The butcher did not hesitate for a moment and unlocked the door. "Young," he cried, "come on in. My wife will prepare a meal for you and spread a bed. You are welcome." The students were delighted with this sudden change. They thanked the good butcher and climbed the ladder that led to the room above the store. Soon, a fragrant dish evaporated on the table and the three boys satisfied their hunger with an abundant meal. They were so grateful for this generosity that in their prayer they recommended their host in the favor of God and also addressed a prayer of thanks to St. Nicholas, whose intercession for a good journey they had invoked at the start of their wanderings.
Then they went to bed and soon fell asleep. After the butcher and his wife were convinced that none of the students were awake anymore, they took the boys' bags down to the back room. Their disappointment was great when they had to experience that the contents of the bags consisted only of books. "It's your fault," the butcher shouted to his wife. "How could you think that such young boys would go on a journey with treasures in their pockets? Now we have also lost the precious food that we had to live the next day". The woman paled with anger. A cruel grin played around her mouth as she began to speak. "They are as tender and fat as piglets," she said, "and they would yield tasty pie meat if we slaughtered them." The butcher continued to peer a moment before him and then ordered: "Woman, get my ax, I will kill them." "Yes," the woman replied, "do that. And if you have killed them, we will make them into patties tonight, which we can then sell on the market tomorrow for little money each. The lads are well fed and there is enough meat to serve two hundred customers. With the proceeds we will very easily be able to buy another pig. " They fetched the ax and together they crept to the room where the three boys slept in all their innocence. With one blow the butcher killed one after the other. With the help of his wife, he then carried them down and spent the night making patties. These were placed at the bottom of the tub and covered with layers of pasties made from the last pork that the butcher owned. Very early in the morning the butcher and his wife went to the market to sell their wares.
They now stood among large numbers of buyers. Nobody noticed anything about them. They didn't seem to regret it. They shouted: "Who wants delicious pasties? They are three times cheaper and yet better than those of other butchers." Already many hands began to reach for their goods. The buyers praised his pasties, which were wonderfully seasoned and looked fresh. On the contrary, they were busy selling almost the last pasties of the upper tiers when suddenly St. Nicholas stood before them. He asked: "Butcher, would you also like to sell me some of your goods?" The butcher took the last patties from the upper layers out of the tub and wanted to give them to the Saint. "You still have goods other than pork, butcher," said the Saint in a strict tone. The butcher's wife then angry with the Holy One, exhorted him and told him to go further and get involved in his own affairs. But the butcher could only shudderly deny having anything else in the tub than pork. He knew, however, that his words did not convince Sint Nicolaas. Because this looked at him so penetratingly that the butcher fell to his knees and confessed his crime. The butcher's wife also burst into sobs and confessed her guilt. Then Saint Nicholas said a short prayer about the pasties that were still in the tub. This prayer was barely finished or three healthy, naked boys rose out with folded hands and a prayer on their lips. The Holy One told them to always be grateful and godly for what they promised and sustained throughout their lives. He then very strongly rebuked the butcher and his wife, ordered them to do penance and to forgive their sin, from now being good for their fellow men, without ever thinking of gaining. They never gave in to their greed, which made them very happy. The news about this miracle immediately spread across the city. It went from word of mouth. And since the day the children worship Saint Nicholas as their great protector.