Once upon a time, on our very own green, grassy, aqueous earth, only several hundred years younger than it is currently, on an island country still in existence today, in a quaint village, which was really just a collection of thatched roofs, mud-filled streets, noisy animals, and sensible, stalwart people, there was a group of females. Bonny, lithe, strong, and Christian were they, having grown up together, the whole lot of them, since infancy and been taught the Scripture from nigh the same age. They kissed their fathers when they went out to the fields for the day; they made their beds and swept the floors; and they brightened the church sanctuary every Sunday. This they were content with. Kiss. Bed. Floors. Church. What they did with the rest of their time, no one knew, but the maidens were content, and their families were content, and the village people were content. So there was no need to change the kiss, bed, floors, and church.
But there was one girl. Hannah. She began to grow weary of the novels she had previously enjoyed so much, and her fine embroidery became dull too. Her muscles ached to be doing something, and her mind ached to be learning something, and her soul ached to be helping someone. So, one day, after the kiss, the bed, and the floors, she went out to garden, pulling out weeds and plucking ripe vegetables from their luscious vines. The morning passed surprisingly fast, and she discovered that she had worked up an appetite and required more than the usual fluff to satisfy her hunger. Come afternoon, she found her long-neglected dulcimer and worked at picking out a tune. And so the week went—and the experiment was so successful, it became a habit.
While her friends continued to kiss, make the bed, sweep the floors, go to church, and fritter away the remaining 161 hours of their week, Hannah kissed father, made the bed, swept the floor, gardened, made music, became proficient at the Continent’s foreign language, read the Scripture cover to cover, made meals, schooled children, scrubbed washrooms, spun wool, wove cloth, filled wardrobes with clothes, wrote ballads, befriended the orphans, traded and bartered, learned forbearance and self-denial, and strengthened her body through the vigorous exercise many of these endeavors required. It seemed to her friends that Hannah was never available to trim hats or gossip or amble aimlessly.
One day, however, everyone’s contentment was abruptly interrupted by an awful revelation—their island had been attacked, and indeed all was lost save their own small village, which was now beseiged. They had had just enough warning to close up the gates and arm the towers thanks to the brave feat of a lad who had traversed rill and river to get to them ahead of the Continent’s troops. The village was in a fit of activity, and all the fathers and sons gathered solemnly to defend the wall.
Come back next Tuesday for the conclusion! (And can you believe it--this makes 300 blog posts!)