Once upon a time, in a crumbling hut, there lived a poor man who did not even have enough money for a loaf of bread. He was even poorer than the church mouse. However, one day something extraordinary happened to him.
It started as any other day. He went to the market to sell the little merchandise he had. He didn’t have much, just a few sheepskins. He had slaughtered his last sheep to sell their skins and meat to have enough money for some bread since it was cheaper than meat.
As he arrived at the market, an ugly, dirty old woman approached him:
–Oh, dear Sir, please come and help me!
The poor man didn’t care about the old woman’s appearance. He saw that she had no money and could hardly move, so he knew he had to help her.
So he said:
–What’s wrong, old lady? How can I help you?
–Oh, if you only knew! My back and waist hurt so much, I can’t carry this basket.
The old lady had a very, very heavy basket on her back. The poor man didn’t hesitate for a moment and picked it up right away, and he accompanied the old lady to the market. They still had a long way to go, and the basket was indeed unusually heavy. However, the poor man did not say a word, because he knew that the old lady also needed money and help. He was very tired by the time they reached the market gate.
The old lady then thanked him for his help. She took a loaf of bread out of her basket and said:
–Dear son! You have been very kind and helpful. You did not say a word, even though I know my basket is very heavy, and we have come a long way. Please accept this loaf of bread as a token of my gratitude. But it is very important that you only eat one bite of it every day until it is gone!
Then the old woman took her basket and left the poor man. He just stood there, watching her go. He didn’t understand why she told him to eat only one bite. The loaf would soon dry out and become moldy that way. However, he knew there was always a reason for things, so he took the old woman’s advice.
On the first day, he ate a bite of the loaf, and he did the same on the second and third day. It was very delicious and filling, even with just one bite. It took him two weeks to finish the loaf. It was strange that the loaf was not dry and moldy even after all this time. In fact, it tasted as if it had just been taken out of the oven.
As soon as the loaf was gone, a miracle happened – another loaf appeared in its place. But this one was not the same, it was twice as big! The poor man could now eat more of it. As the loaf disappeared week by week, month by month, it always doubled in size. The poor man no longer had to worry about what to eat or if he had bread since he had a never-ending, fresh loaf every day.