The voice told me this ancient story; precious blood intoned this ancient tale.
“A certain man had two sons. One was rich and the other was poor. The rich son had no children while the poor son was blessed with many sons and many daughters.
In time the father fell ill. He was sure he would not live through the week so on Saturday he called his sons to his side and gave each of them half of the land of their inheritance. Then he died. Before sundown the sons buried their father with respect as custom requires.
That night the rich son could not sleep. He said to himself, ‘What my father did was not just. I am rich, my brother is poor. I have bread enough and to spare, while my brother’s children eat one day and trust God for the next. I must move the landmark which our father has set in the middle of the land so that my brother will have the greater share. Ah—but he must not see me. If he sees me he will be shamed. I must arise early in the morning before it is dawn and move the landmark!’ With this he fell asleep and his sleep was secure and peaceful.
Meanwhile, the poor brother could not sleep. As he lay restless on his bed he said to himself, ‘What my father did was not just. Here I am surrounded by the joy of many sons and many daughters, while my brother daily faces the shame of having no sons to carry on his name and no daughters to comfort him in his old age. He should have the land of our fathers. Perhaps this will compensate him for his indescribable poverty. Ah—but if I give it to him he will be shamed. I must awake early in the morning before it is dawn and move the landmark which our father has set!’ With this he went to sleep and his sleep was secure and peaceful.
On the first day of the week—very early in the morning, a long time before it was day, the two brothers met at the ancient landmarker. They fell with tears into each other’s arms. And on that spot was built the city of Jerusalem.”
This is one of Ken Bailey’s pieces from his combined book ‘Poet and Peasant’ and ‘Through Peasant Eyes’. It has quite a relevance given recent political decisions.