From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers
Even if I were ashes thrown to the wind
Abba Poemen used to say this about Abba Isidore: “Every night he plaited a bundle of palms and the brothers pleaded with him, saying, ‘Rest a little, for you are getting old.’
“But he said to them, ‘Even if Isidore were burned, and his ashes thrown to the winds, I would not allow myself any relaxation because the son of God came here for our sake.'”
Macarius, the thief, and the recalcitrant camel
They said of Abba Macarius that a thief went into his cell when he was away. Macarius went back to his cell and found the thief loading his things onto a camel. So Macarius went into the cell, picked up his things, and helped him load them onto the camel. When the loading was finished, the thief began to beat the camel to make it get up, but in vain. Seeing that it did not get up, Abba Macarius went inside his cell, found a small hoe there, picked it up, and put it onto the camel, saying, “Brother, the camel wants to have this.”
Then the old man kicked it, saying, “Get up.” At once the camel got up and went forward a little because of his command. Then it lay down again and refused to gete up until it was completely unloaded; and then it set off.