The Boyhood Deeds of Jesus

‘He was reared,’ Thomas said, ‘by his foster-father Joseph and his mother, the Virgin Mary, in an oaken house in the city of Nazareth in Galilee. In his fifth year, he sat inside his mother’s house under a terrible rainstorm. When the storm ceased the Galilee boys, three fifties in number, went into the streets to play in the running rainwater. Jesus heard the boys and told his mother that he was keen on joining the boys at their play.

“You are too young to join the boys in their play,” said his mother “You must wait until you are older.”

“It is too long to wait. Give me your permission to join the Galilee boys,” said Jesus; and she did give it to him.

‘The boys were playing in the muddy waters. Jesus collected the water into twelve pools and blessed it, saying “It is my will that you become clear and excellent waters,” and this occurred directly. Jesus then fashioned twelve little birds – passeres they are called – out of the pool’s clay.

‘A certain Jew noticed the figurines and asked, “Who shaped these birds?”

“Not hard to tell,” said Jesus. “I shaped them from the mud of these twelve pools.”

‘The man walked briskly to the boy’s foster-father Joseph.

“Rebuke your son,” he said. “What he is doing is not right. On the Sabbath day he fashioned clay images of birds.”

‘Joseph returned with the man to the crowd of boys playing with Jesus.

“What you are doing is profaning the Sabbath,” said Joseph. “It is my wish for you to cease immediately.”

‘Jesus clapped his hands once and said in a firm voice, “Off you go.” The clay birds changed into live birds and wept as they flew away. “So that you may discover who it was who made you, of your own accord, go,” the child commanded the birds. The Jews in the crowd were astonished and carried news of this extraordinary event to their chieftains.

‘The son of Annas the scribe had been playing with the boys. He brought a willow stick to Jesus’s pools and broke the dammed up sides, ruining their construction and spilling the water. Jesus became outraged and cursed the boy.

“What you have done has not been to our benefit,” cried Jesus. “May you be like a little branch which falls before bearing fruit.”

‘Upon hearing the curse the boy withered and fell to the ground dead. Such was the power of Jesus’s command. It would have been better for him not to have disturbed the play of the King’s son.’

‘There was a time,’ Thomas said, ‘when he was a lad, that he walked through the village under the care of his foster-father. Another child ran against him and bumped his shoulder, which angered the young boy.

“May the journey which you have made be one of no return,” called Jesus in a rage, and straight away the child fell over dead. Some members of the crowd who witnessed this doom were outraged, and they called at Joseph over the body of the young boy.

“Depart from us, Joseph, with your son,” they called. “You have been negligent with his reprimands. If you will not punish your son, then it is time to keep away from us.”

‘Joseph snatched Jesus by the ears and pulled him aside. A strong man would have winced in that grip.

“Why, son, have you offended these people,” Joseph asked. “Anyone on whom you pronounce your judgments is taken away from you dead.”

‘The child became angry with his foster-father and reproved him. “Anyone who is innocent does not die as a result of my judgments,” said Jesus. “It is only the accursed whom the malediction punishes. It is sufficient for them to listen to me, not to touch me.”

‘Jesus returned to the crowd with his foster-father following him. The crowd drew up in fright.

“Your son causes great terror to us,” they called. “We have never, until now, heard of any boy like him. Quicker than a glance, what he says is done forthwith. We have not heard tell of a boy like him in the world.”

“He is not like everyone else’s sons,” returned Joseph. “Even though his destiny leads him to crucifixion and death, it would not be for him to avoid his fate.”

‘The judgments of Jesus continued to plague his detractors, and those who accused him he punished. Their ears became deaf and their eyes became blind.’

‘Another version of this tale says that the boy threw a rock at Jesus and hit his shoulder.’

‘Another time,’ said Thomas, ‘the scholar Zacharias overheard Joseph talking to his son. He sought to teach Jesus, not due to charity but because having such an exceptional student would increase the teacher’s prestige.

“This is an amazing boy,” said Zacharias. “If he were to be taught, he would be outstanding in learning.” The scholar took Jesus to his school so that he might be thus instructed.

‘Zacharias wrote out the alphabet for the student. “Say A,” he said, but the son of the King did not answer him. The schoolmaster grew angry and struck Jesus on the head, using both his fist and his teaching rod. Jesus responded to his teacher with a parable.

“It is usual that the anvil which is struck teaches the one who strikes it, and it is not the anvil that is receiving instruction.” Jesus spoke directly to his teacher before the other students. “The letters that you teach me, the A that you write out, I already know its names and secrets and significance in druidic augury.” And before the eyes of the all the King’s son recited all of the letters, each with its constituent element and its hidden meaning.

‘The scholar Zacharias cried, “Take his boy away from me.” To Jesus he said, “I do not have the means of answering you. Do not provoke me!” He called to his students and the gathering crowd, “I thought it was a pupil I brought with me to my school, but I know see it is a master whose charge I have undertaken. It seems to me that until today I have proceeded without confusion. But now, I do not know whether he be angel or God. Who is the mother who conceived this infant in her womb? What nurse was able to rear this child? His patrimony will not be on earth. I am sure now; he is the one that is born to be crucified, who existed even before the Deluge.”

‘The boy Jesus replied, “You who are learned in the law of God, you think Joseph is my father. He is not. I existed before your birth. I am the one who has wisdom. I know every secret that has ever been in your heart. You have sure knowledge of all erudition. You have read everything. But from me comes doctrine not henceforth know to any person. I have extraordinary news for you, which I speak plainly, without falsehood. I have seen Abraham when he was alive. I have seen you a long time ago, through the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. O expert in Law, I existed at all times before you were born.”

‘Zacharias sat dumbfounded before the child. Jesus continued, “This cross of which you mention, he who has come for the sake of all, to redeem everyone alive, he will encounter it.”

‘Zacharias saw that Jesus knew his fate and that the boy not afraid of it.’

‘One time,’ Thomas said, ‘when Jesus was seven years old, he was playing game with a group of boys. One of the boys fell over a cliff and died. The other boys fled, fearing incrimination, except for Jesus, who waited for the crowd to come. The boy’s parents came as well, grieving and pulling their hair from their heads. They accused the child, thinking it was he who had knocked the boy over the cliff.

“Wait for me,” said Jesus, “until I reach him.”

‘Jesus descended the rocky cliff and reached the boy, whose name was Zeno. The boy was indeed dead.  Jesus spoke to the corpse, saying: “I am accused, O Zeno, of laying you low. Is this true?”

‘The boy sat upright and said, “It is not true, Lord, not true.” To the crowd he spoke: “Let him go. It is not to be attributed to him.” After saying this truth, Zeno laid back down and was dead again.

‘When the crowd saw this miracle, they let Jesus go free.’

‘Another time his mother, the Virgin Mary, sent Jesus to the village well to collect water,’ Thomas said. ‘Jesus left his mother’s house carrying a pitcher but did not return with one. Some tales say he dropped it and it broke, and other tales tell that the crowd at the well jostled it and it fell.

“This is a sad bargain,” said Jesus. “I shall not return to the house empty handed.”

‘Jesus spread his cloak in his arms and scooped up a large measure of water. This amazing boy carried an armful of water back to his mother’s house; the water did not soak through his cloak and he spilled not a drop.

‘What wonder that the man who did this at the end of his sixth year should do great deeds for mankind when fully in his adulthood,’ said Thomas.

‘During the time of planting,’ said Thomas, ‘Jesus sowed a small field with leeks. He did not have many, so it was only a small amount that he planted.

‘When it came time to harvest, Jesus returned to the garden and found that his bounty was plentiful, that the space leeks he had sown had produced a hundred basketfuls of leeks. The others were astonished and carried news of this extraordinary event to their chieftains.’

‘One time a man brought a couch to the house of Joseph,’ said Thomas. ‘The couch needed adjustment, for one side was too short while the other too long.

“Mend my couch,” said the man, “for I shall trouble you with violence if you fail in this regard.”

“That may be so,” replied Joseph. “Return tomorrow to fetch this couch.”

‘Jesus watched Joseph work. He noticed the uneven pieces of wood and instructed his foster-father to remove the two pieces and lay them side by side on the ground. Joseph did as he was told. Jesus picked up one end of the shorter piece and Joseph picked up the other.

“You take hold of your end,” said Jesus, “and I will take hold of mine.” He pulled on the piece of wood, which stretched as easily as if it were clay, stopping when it was the same measure as its counterpart. With the pieces equal in length, Joseph easily repaired the couch.

‘What wonder that the man who did this at the end of his eighth year should do great deeds for mankind when fully in his adulthood,’ said Thomas.

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