Finally he reached in one last time and pulled out a small leather pouch much like the one in which the girls had kept their earnings all summer.

"For you," he said handing it to Miriam. "May it keep you always. I thank you for dinner and for sharing the festival with me. And now I must be on my way." With that, he tipped his hat and placed it once again on his head. He walked out of the sukkah, around the house, and disappeared down the lane.

The family sat in amazement, unable even to speak. Then they touched the clothing. It certainly felt real. Chaim picked up an apple and bit into it. It was sweet and juicy. Miriam opened the small pouch. It contained one gold coin. She handed it to Chaim.

"We could eat for a month on this!" she exclaimed.

Rachel took the pouch from her hands and opened it again. She pulled out another gold coin. "You missed this one, Ema."

"No, I didn't, Rachel, there was only one in the pouch."

Aliza took the pouch from Rachel. She opened it and took out yet another gold coin.

They ran out of the sukkah then and around the house to find the beggar. There was no sign of him, but next to the pile of soot and ashes that had once been their store lay a fresh pile of lumber, enough to rebuild. And beside that, planted in the ground, were flowers blooming despite the drought.

"The girls invited Elijah the Prophet," Miriam said softly.

"They did, indeed," Chaim whispered.

"And he came!" Naomi exclaimed. "He truly came!"

It was the most joyous Sukkot the family ever celebrated. They invited their neighbors to their sukkah every day. On the last day, Shemini Atzeret, they went to synagogue and added the words mashiv haruach u'morid hagashem, Who causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall, to their prayers. That night, it rained. and the next day, as well. For a week it rained.

That winter, the family used their gifts wisely. They bought food for their neighbors and kept extra supplies for any hungry soul who wandered past their door. They bought clothing and school books for the children of the village. The winter rains continued to fall and the following spring, they planted seeds joyfully, knowing that this year would bring an excellent harvest.

The family guarded the most special gift of their most special visitor with great care. While they continued to work hard throughout their lives, they used the gold coins in the small leather pouch to feed those in need whenever they could not do so on their own.

Rachel, Naomi, and Aliza grew to be strong and righteous women who did much good in the world and raised families of their own. They told their children the story of the time Elijah the Prophet visited their sukkah during the year of the terrible drought. Their children passed the story on to their children, and it has been retold by families sitting in their sukkot each year since that time.