A story of the Nativity. Zia is a little hunchback orphan living with an old woman who makes him beg. His wonderful, luminous eyes fill her with fear, but they attract nearly everyone else who sees him. How Zia is finally driven forth an outcast, how he sees Joseph and Mary and later the Christ-child, and what happens then is told by Mrs. Burnett as she alone could tell it.
ed great, heavy childish sobs, she did not dare to strike him, and raged the more.
If it were known that she had harbored him, the priests would be upon her, and all that she had would be taken from her and burned. She would not even let him put his clothes on in her house.
"Take thy rags and begone in thy nakedness! Clothe thyself on the hillside! Let none see thee until thou art far away! Rot as thou wilt, but dare not to name me! Begone! begone! begone!"
And with his rags he fled naked through the doorway, and hid himself in the little wood beyond.
Later, as he went on his way, he had hidden himself in the daytime behind bushes by the wayside or off the road; he had crouched behind rocks and boulders; he had slept in caves when he had found them; he had shrunk away from all human sight. He knew it could not be long before he would be discovered, and then he would be shut up; and afterward he would be as Berias until he died alone. Like unto Berias! To him it seemed as though surely never child