Chapter 22 - A Place to Sleep
“Esther!” Daniel exclaimed excitedly when he saw her approaching. “I’m glad you’re here. I was just finished making a deal with these shepherds for some of the softest wool I’ve ever felt!” He gestured over to the cart, which was half full of creamy white bales of wool. Imhotep leaped from Rebekah’s arms and hopped up into the cart, burying himself up to his neck in the wool. This made Daniel and his whole family laugh, though the shepherds seemed rather surprised to see this unusual animal.
“It’s all right,” Daniel said, reassuring the shepherds. “That’s a cat. He was given to me as a gift from a trader in Egypt, and I gave him to my daughter as a pet. He’s actually a wonderful animal to have around, since he keeps the mice and snakes away.” The shepherds nodded hesitantly, still not quite sure what to make of Imhotep as they watched the cat prowling around in the wool, seeking his next meal.
“I don’t think you’ll find any mice in there, Imhotep,” Rebekah told her cat. “They love grain, but mice don’t eat wool.”
One of the shepherds spoke up, “You’re right about that, young girl, but they do like wool for making nests.” At that very moment, a small gray mouse came sprinting out of a bale of wool, with Imhotep close behind it. Before the cat could pounce, the mouse escaped between a crack in the cart’s floorboards. Imhotep pawed at the crack, searching for his prey, but gave up when Rebekah gathered him up into her arms.
Now that the excitement with Imhotep had died down, Esther turned to her husband and said, “Daniel, we found your father and brothers, but I’m afraid I have some bad news to share with you. They were only able to get one room, so there isn’t anywhere for us to sleep tonight. The room is already completely full of women and children, and the men are sleeping in the street.
Daniel was not surprised by this revelation, given the number of people that he had seen since their arrival in Bethlehem. “I’m sure we will find a place to stay,” he reassured his wife. He actually wasn’t sure where they would stay, but he didn’t want Esther to worry. One of the shepherds, having heard what Esther said, stepped forward and made a generous offer to them.
“If you would like a safe place to stay, you are more than welcome to join us out in the field where our sheep are being kept,” the shepherd said. “It’s very close to town, and we would be happy to share our tent with you. You could also use the wool that we traded to you as the most comfortable bed you’ve ever slept on.”
“That’s a very kind offer,” Daniel replied. “Esther, what do you think?”
“I don’t think we’ll find another place to stay here in town, so we’d be happy to join you in the field,” she answered. “It will be quite an experience, won’t it, Rebekah?”
Rebekah nodded her head in agreement and smiled. She was just grateful to know she would have a place to sleep tonight.
Next: An Amazing Evening