Sunday, 28 August 2011

Out of Moab

There is a new family in town. Mother says they are refugees from Israel. There is a famine there at the moment, and so they have come here to find food. But Mother says they have done the wrong thing in coming here. Their God would not be happy about them living here with us in Moab. I am not sure why though.

There are two boys, one the same age as me and another who is younger. They are terribly thin little things. And Naomi their mother looks unhappy, mouth twisted with bitterness and discontent. Elkanah seems the most alive - choosing a house here to rent and trying to dig in the dusty garden. He is working as a labourer already in the fields, just gleaning at the moment. Naomi has been at the well drawing water.

Ishvi, my Uncle says nothing breaks people down like famine. Counting each mouthful and wondering where the next will come from. I canot imagine it. I must go to the well, myself.
Yours truly, Ruthi.


The evening cool comes on, dust settling at last. Suddenly dusk will come like a blanket, soon after the sun has disappeared. The girl waits her turn. Ahead there is boy holding the pitcher awkwardly under one arm. He walks up to the edge of the well and lowers his pitcher, attached to the twine. It swings back and forth on the way back up spashing half it's contents back into the well. He sighs, and trys again. The twine swings erratically again. The girl moves forward hesitantly.
"You need to hold it steady".
He turns and looks at her, face strained and weary.
"Here, I'll show you." He lets her lower it again, and they slowely raise it together - nearly full to overflowing. Without speaking they lower her pitcher and bring it back to the surface. He sighs with relief and smiles briefly.

They walk away from the well together towards home.
"We are new here", he says.
"I know." She pauses; "do you like the end house?"
"Its alright. Much smaller than our house in Bethlehem. But at least there is food here." He speaks with a strange accent.

They reach her home and pause briefly.
"What's your name"?


"Goodnight Ruth. Thanks for your help". He starts to walk away.

What is your name"?, she calls after him.

He turns and looks back. "Mahlon, my name is Mahlon." They both smile, and he walks away, carefully balancing his pitcherful.

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