There were two monks who dwelled in solitary caves, side by side, on a remote mountain far removed from the city. They spent their days and nights in prayer, and lived on the little food that was occasionally brought to them by pilgrims.
It had been many days since they had eaten, for no pilgrims had come to visit them in that time. But as they both emerged from their caves to thank God for another day of life, a hawk flew by and dropped a crust of bread on the ground. One of the monks said to the other:
“God has provided. Take and eat the crust of bread, for I know you are hungry.”
But the other monk said, “No, you must take the crust of bread and eat it, for I know that you are hungry.”
Then they began to argue over who should eat the bread, each one insisting that the other one have it. Immediately they were both overcome with grief because they had begun to argue.
“God has given us bread from heaven, and we have turned His blessing into a curse. I am sorry for quarreling with you my dear brother.”
“Indeed,” said the other monk. “I too am ashamed. Please forgive me as well.”
They looked at the crust of bread, and then noticed that the hawk was still circling above.
“Let us return this blessing from whence it came,” said one monk to the other.
“Yes, I agree. For we have allowed this blessing to be a source of sin for us. And look at the hawk who circles above us. It has lost his crust of bread, and perhaps it was taking it to feed the babies in the nest.”
“You are right,” said the other. “And the poor hawk has nothing to live for but food and drink. But we are Christians, and even if we have nothing to eat or drink, we have the food of prayer to sustain us forever.”
They both began to weep over their sins and grieve out of pity for the hawk.
Then the two monks took the crust of bread, joined hands, and flew up to the sky and returned the bread to the hawk’s beak. As soon as they put the bread into the hawk’s mouth, the hawk transformed into a holy angel. The angel then returned them to their caves where they discovered multiple loaves of bread and gallons of water and wine. The two monks looked at each other and rejoiced.
“Now we will have food and drink to share with the pilgrims who come to visit us!”
“Indeed!” said the other. “What a loving and merciful God we serve!”
Gebre Menfes Kidus