1. A legend not much unlike that of the Chapel of Loretto.
Forasmuch as our evangelist makes only a transient mention of Nazareth in this place, not relating any thing that our Saviour did there, we shall take as transient notice of it at this time; by the by, only inquiring into its situation, as what we may have occasion to discourse more largely upon in another place.
But what, indeed, need we be very solicitous about the situation of this town, when the place we would especially look for there, that is, the house of the blessed Virgin, hath taken its leave of Nazareth, and, by the conveyance of angels, hath seated itself in Loretto in Italy. Of which thing, amongst many others, cardinal Baronius gives us this grave relation:
"That house wherein the most holy Virgin received the heavenly message about the Word being made flesh, doth not only by a wondrous miracle stand to this day entire; but, by the ministry of angels, was retrieved from the hands of infidels, and translated, first into Dalmatia, thence into Italy, to Loretto in the province of Picenum."
Let us repay one legend with another.
"They say of R. Chanina, saith he, seeing once his fellow-citizens carrying their sacrifices to Jerusalem, crieth out: 'Alas! they every one are carrying their sacrifices, and for my part I have nothing to carry; what shall I do?' Straightway he betaketh himself into the wilderness of the city, and finding a stone he cuts it, squares, and artificially formeth it; and saith, 'What would I give that this stone might be conveyed into Jerusalem!' Away he goeth to hire some that should do it; they ask him a hundred pieces of gold, and they would carry it. 'Alas! saith he, where should I have a hundred pieces? indeed, where should I have three?' Immediately the holy blessed God procured five angels, in the likeness of men, who offer him for five shillings to convey the stone into Jerusalem, if himself would but give his helping hand. He gave them a lift; and of a sudden they all stood in Jerusalem; and when he would have given them the reward they bargained for, his workmen were gone and vanished. This wonder he relates before the Sanhedrim, in the conclave of Gazith. They say to him, 'Rabbi, it should seem that these were angels that brought this stone': so he gave the elders the money, for which the angels had bargained with him."
In truth, I should easilier incline to believe this story than that of Loretto, because there is some reason to apprehend this R. Chanina no other than Haninah Ben Dusa, a notorious magician. Unless you will also say, that the chapel at Loretto took that jaunt by the help of magic.
A huge stone of its own accord takes a skip from the land of Israel, and stops up the mouth of the den in Babylon, where Daniel and the lions lay. But so much for tales.