There were three women from the village of Matuka that left to go to the nearest well. It was located one-half mile outside of the village. There was nothing in site from the gate that surrounded the village except one large tree. Sometimes the children played around the tree for it’s shade. But, no children played there today, for the heat was extremely high.

On their way to the well the women laughed and talked about what they would do with the remainder of their day. Two of the women carried jars upon their heads for their water. The third woman had her two year old son, who carried a shallow bowl. While she had her twins swaddled to her, one on her back and the other to the front of her. Upon her head she carried her large water jug.

When the women reached the well, they took turns filling their jars of the cool fresh water. They left one by one to return to the village.

The first woman, with the jug of water balanced upon her head walked until she saw in front of her an old woman sitting on a mat under the large tree in it’s shade. She was fanning herself with a stiff hide of an animal. The woman thought it strange that such an old woman would be sitting in the heat. But, she only smiled as she came upon the old woman.

“Where have you come from, daughter?” the old woman asked.

“I have come from the village well to get water for my family.” the young woman answered and she continued on without stopping.

A few minutes later the second woman came around the bend and saw the same woman sitting under the large tree in the shade. She thought it odd that such an old woman would be sitting in the heat. She noticed that the old woman was fanning herself with a stiffened animal hide. When she was upon the old woman she smiled at her and kept walking.

The old woman quickly asked her, “Daughter, where have you come from?”

“I have come from the village well. It is down the road around the bend.” The young woman said as she continued to walk toward the village without looking down at the woman.

Finally, the third woman with her twins wrapped to her closely and her son walking beside her. Her son carried the shallow bowl carefully as he kept up with his Mother. She walked gracefully with the large jug upon her head as she sang a lullaby to her sleeping babies. She looked up and saw an old woman sitting under the tree in it’s shade. She smiled at her and waved at her even though she was a small distance from her. The old woman smiled and waved back.

When the young Mother and her children were upon the old Woman, she stopped. Gently she took the jug from her head and sat it on the road. She told her son to follow her. They walked to the old woman under the tree and sat down with her.

The young Mother asked the old Woman, “Mother, why are you here in such heat?” She then instructed her son to give her a drink from the shallow bowl he carried. The old woman drank and was refreshed.

She smiled at them and said, “Waiting for you, daughter. Where are you going?”

“I am going to bring this cool water to a sick woman who lives alone in the village. She has no family, so I look over her. I have no Mother and now she is mine.” The young Mother said with a smile.

“Aaahhh! I see. Here, take this with you. When you get to your Mothers house, she will no longer be sick. Then with this money, you are to dig next to her house. There you will find enough water for a well. It will be enough for the entire village.” The old woman instructed her.

The young Mother only smiled and kissed the old Woman under the tree and said, “These things I will do, Mother. You have truly blessed me.”

The young Mother got up and placed the large water jug upon her head and blew a kiss to the old Woman under the tree. The old Woman blew one back at her. When she reached the village gate she looked back at the tree where the old Woman was sitting. To her astonishment the old Woman was not there. She looked down at her son and he was just as surprised. The young Mother did just as the old Woman told her to do. When she got to her Mothers house, she was no longer ill. When the well was finished to the villagers glee, she told her adopted Mother the events.

Her son told his adopted Grandmother, “These things are true, Mum! They are! They are!”

The young woman’s Mother told her this, “You have been visited by an Angel, my daughter. For your goodness of heart that is true, God has allowed you into his vault of blessings. The same old Woman came to me after you left. She touched my brow with a stiff hide of an animal. After she did this, I was no longer ill. To God we give all the glory!” 

The Majesty of Hawks and Moon

I brought my distress to the Waters of Women.

There I threw myself down

amongst the flowers and sweet grasses.

It was there I poured out my agony

to God.

My tears soaked my thick hair

with the salt of them. I cried.

I moaned.

When, Lord God?

Will this burdened load push

me down

below the earth? Never to see the


I rolled from side to side. Searching

for relief and answers

to this turmoil. I dare not

pull up your beauty

on whence I lay. For I

feared your wrath.

There was a time I

could smell the fragrance

that surrounded me. Not now,

says my heart. Not now.

I looked up above me.

Your sky is blue as the

ocean of the Great Sea.

Clouds were not in position

on this, my day.

Only two hawks.

Soaring effortlessly around and

around. Above me they loved my


They soothed my wayward

soul into peace.

Such a peace did they

lead me to.

I followed their

preciousness. For they

were gentle with me.

They understood me.

They prayed for me.

 To your throne, did

they leave my


One soared to the east.

To the west did the other


My thirst was quenched.

This tormented soul,

it was relieved.

I looked as your

hawks circled

against and apart

each other.


On your currents

did they go.

They took me with

them. Away from

all atrocities.

 I looked as they flew

farther and farther.

Against the daylight

moon did they dance.

For me to see your

majesty. This, that I

saw was too

magnificent for me.

Too magnificent for me.

My face did I

turn toward your sun.

This sun. This sun that

lit my dark skin.

This sun.

It is your sun. It loves

me. It refreshes me.

Where your beauty rest

is my home. My longing.

A dwelling place for me.

Refuge have you given me


No. My souls does

not anguish longer.

I am beautiful. You have

poured your grace

and mercy

upon me.

I love you.

My breath cannot inhale

without your

presence, Lord.

I love you.

Father, I love you.


Alicia G. Gilliam