Quote: “The parish priest had his first suspicion of an imposter when he saw that he did not understand the language of God or know how to greet His ministers.”
This quote is referring to the old man with wings as an angel or as someone impersonating an angel. That is stating the obvious, but I think it goes deeper than that. I look at this as if this old man with enormous wings is actually God himself coming down and helping out the family. One way to look at it that way, is that God works in mysterious ways. Part of him working in mysterious ways is his presence to the family. By disguising himself as an old man and not understanding the language of God or by knowing how to greet His ministers, there is no way anyone in the village would assume that this old man with wings is God. Another way that the old man is God working in mysterious ways is when the baby is cured of its fever. This is mysterious because the family keeps the baby away from the old man, yet somehow the baby’s fever magically vanishes while the old man is there. Another way is when sunflowers start to sprout from a lepers pores. This is mysterious because if someone was a leper they were very hard to cure and this old man with wings magically made her sprout with sunflowers. Also, throughout the story, people from the village are constantly being mean and throwing rocks and other things at him. This could possibly be relating it back to the Bible when people got stoned for not doing what others wanted and since Jesus did not retaliate in the Bible, the old man did not retaliate either. The last example that I think the old man is God is at the very end of the story when he mysteriously gets up and flies away into the distance. This also relates to the Bible when Jesus died and was trapped behind the rock, but the next day the rock was moved out of the way and Jesus was not there anymore. When the old man flies away, it is a mystery because throughout the story he was in no condition to fly at all and then one day he just vanishes like nothing was wrong with him at all. All these examples show that the old man is full of mysteries just like God himself and that is why I believe the old man is God disguised as a beaten down angel.