Simon walked next to Matthew. Matthew was telling him something quietly and Simon felt that today everything annoys him—Levi, the sun scorching the earth, the thick dust above the ground, and the fact that the Rabbi did not want to stop in the grove under the shadow.

He knew the reason for this annoyance was his lie. He hid from the Teacher that he chose a path which Jesus surely would reject. In all three years this was probably the first time when Simon concealed something from the Teacher.

Lately Jesus also changed. He constantly talks of impending grief, about the fact that he will soon suffer and die. He looks at his pupils, not like before, but with some regret, as if he could not give them what he wanted to.

Finally Jesus agreed to stop for a bit. They settled under the shade of the bushes. Everyone got busy with their own things. Judas was re-counting money from the marching case, the pitiful pennies barely enough for lodging and food. Matthew unwrapped a scrap of parchment paper and was making some notes. Andrew was weaving a mesh from thin ropes. The little brother is drawn back to the Sea of Galilee and its quiet waters.

Everyone was tired from these never-ending journeys and wanderings, under the constant threat of robbery or murder. Didn’t they get driven out of villages enough; had dogs sent after them, get robbed in inns? Leopards attacked them in the mountains; scorpions stung them in the deserts. It’s surprising how they’re all still alive.

Jesus speaks only of grief and his close death, and now also he retired from everyone and got on his knees, praying. Gathering dust from the ground, he sprinkled it on his head.


Chapter 3


Near the sheep paddock of the Lower City there was loud noise. Commerce was roaring on the eve of the holiday.