Going to town one day to sell some small articles, Abba Agatho met a cripple on the roadside, paralysed in his legs, who asked him where he was going. Abba Agatho replied, ‘To town, to sell some things.’ The other said, ‘Do me the favour of carrying me there.’ So he carried him to the town. The cripple said to him, ‘Put me down where you sell your wares.’ He did so. When he had sold an article, the cripple asked, ‘What did you sell it for?’ and he told him the price. The other said, ‘Buy me a cake,’ and he bought it. When Abba Agatho had sold a second article, the sick man asked, ‘How much did you sell it for?’ And he told him the price of it. Then the other said, ‘Buy me this,’ and he bought it. When Agatho, having sold all his wares, wanted to go, he said to him, ‘Are you going back?’ and he replied, ‘Yes.’ Then he said, ‘Do me the favour of carrying me back to the place where you found me.’ Once more picking him up, he carried him back to that place. Then the cripple said, ‘Agatho, you are filled with divine blessings, in heaven and on earth.’ Raising his eyes, Agatho saw no man; it was an angel of the Lord, come to try him.
* This excerpt is from (and slightly edited) “The Sayings of the Desert Fathers” translated by Benedicta Ward