A particularly loud snore came from inside the room.
“Why do you need it?” Jim whispered back as he peered through the window at the small round box that Max had pointed out.
“It’s supposed to be holy.”
“Uhm, well, I just might have a use for it.”
“This is crazy, Max. I can’t sneak in to the priest’s room to take that - that whatever it’s called. If he wakes up…”
“You can blame it on me. Come on, Jim. You’re quieter and smaller than me. I really, really need that pyx.”
“What for? I won’t do it until you tell me what for.”
“They say the sacred bread is inside it.”
“All this trouble for a piece of bread?”
“Well, they say it can heal. Please, Jim. My grandma needs it.”
Jim took a quick glance into the room. The priest hadn’t stirred. He pulled his friend away from the window.
“Has she seen a doctor?”
“Dozens. Nothing works. This is my last chance.”
“Why can’t you just ask him for it?”
“I… I just can’t, okay?”
Jim stared at Max for a moment.
“Look, I really don’t know if this is going to help your grandma. Do you think it will still work if it’s stolen?”
“It’s not stealing, just -”
“Is this what you’re looking for?” a deep voice boomed over them, causing the two to jump.
The boys looked up to find the priest standing over them, the little pyx in his hands.
“I could hear you, you know,” he said. “You boys woke me up from a very nice dream. I was just about to have freshly-baked shepherd’s pie.”
Jim looked at down at his feet sheepishly. “Sorry, Father.”
“Please, sir. It might save my grandma? The boys said the holy bread can heal her,” he blurted, almost in tears.
“Max, those are only legends. The bread in this pyx can’t do that. It’s faith in God and prayer that heals.”
“Then why won’t you pray for her?”
“I have, son. I have. But only God knows His reasons as to when and why he heals.”
“So she’s going to die?”
“Everyone dies. She, at least, has lived a long and full life.”
The priest looked down at the disconsolate boy.
“Here, take it,” he wrapped Max’s fingers around the pyx. “Maybe your faith will work a miracle.”
vessel for the consecrated bread of the eucharist. The term can also be used in archaeology and art history to describe small round lidded boxes designed for any purpose from antiquity or the Middle Ages, such as those used to hold coins for the Trial of the Pyx in England.