“Under that of the ox and the ass,” answered the boy Jesus.
The man of learning immediately hurried into his cave, lighted his lamp, and consulted his hieroglyphics. Under the ox and the ass—he grew afraid. Away with Libra, away with Libra! He investigated yet again. It stood written on the stone and in the roll. He went out again, and looked at the boy, but differently from before, uneasily, in great excitement.
“Listen, boy, I’ve cast your horoscope.”
“What is it?”
“By the ancient and sacred signs I’ve read your fate. Knowing under what sign of the zodiac and under which stars you were born, I can enlighten you as to the fate you go to meet so callously. Do you desire to know it?”
“If I desire to know it, I will ask my Father.”
“Is your father an astrologer?”
“He guides the stars in their courses,”
“He guides the stars in their courses? What do you mean? You are a fool, a godless fool. You will learn what terrors await you. This arrogance is the beginning. His Father guides the stars in their courses indeed!”
News came from Judaea that King Herod was dead. It was also reported that his successor, called Herod the younger, was of milder temperament and a true friend of his people. So Joseph considered that the time was now come when he might return to his native land with his wife and his tall, slender son. His basket-making, through industry and thrift, had, almost without his noticing it, put so much money into his pocket that he was able to treat with a Phoenician merchant regarding the journey home. For they would not go back across the desert: Joseph wanted to show his family the sea. He took willow twigs with him in order to have something to do during the voyage. Mary occupied herself in repairing and making clothes, so that she might be nicely dressed when she arrived home. The other passengers who were in the big ship were glad of the idleness, and amused themselves in all sorts of ways. Jesus often joined them, and rejoiced with those who were glad. But when the amusement degenerated into extravagance and shamelessness, he retired to the cabin, or looked at the wide expanse of waters.
One moonlight night when they were on the high seas, a storm sprang up. The ship’s keel was lifted high at one moment only to dip low the next, so that the waves broke over the deck; bundles and chests were thrown about, and a salt stream struck the travellers’ faces. The rigging broke away from the masts, and fluttered loosely in the air out into the dark sea which heaved endlessly in mountains of foam, and threatened to engulf the groaning ship. The people were mad with terror and anguish, and, reeling and staggering, sought refuge in every corner in order to avoid the falling beams and splinters. Joseph and Mary looked for Jesus, and found him quietly