26 Apr E2 Camran – Nurturing with Compassion
Tales of the Kingdom of Camran
Hannah the Healer, the hero of our tale, whose compassionate and nurturing spirit uplifts many, on days just like today…
Hannah was used to hosting. Though her dwelling was small, it was almost always serving as respite for the ill, refuge for the grieving, or respite for travellers. Hannah loved the feeling of waking up, knowing that there was a table to be set, mouths to be fed, cups to fill, and hopes and dreams to be heard and affirmed.
This morning, she had no such feeling. This morning, Hannah the Healer’s house was empty. It made her feel empty, too.
Hannah slowly spread butter on toast for her own breakfast, looking wistfully at her empty kitchen table. Without someone to host, she hardly knew how to start her day. She felt like she had no purpose, or direction. Everything was too… quiet.
And then, there was a knock on the door.
Knock knock knock.
Hannah’s heart leapt. She discarded her half-eaten toast on the kitchen table, and leapt toward the front of the house, eager to be needed.
Hannah opened the door to find her friend and neighbour, Siobhan the Sage, standing with a well-concealed look of weariness on her face.
“Yes? What is it, Siobhan?” The Sage did not come to Hannah’s house often. This must be a serious matter.
“It’s the water tower, Hannah. It’s fallen. Please come.” Hannah gasped. She had noticed a few days earlier that the structure holding the village’s stores of water had looked weak. She never thought that it would fall! How terrible!
“I’m ready now,” said Hannah, closing the door behind her. “Let’s not waste a moment.”
Hannah followed Siobhan toward the center of town, but she could hear the chaos as soon as she left her house. The scene was grim. The giant wooden drum that held the village’s collected water had broken when the structure supporting it gave way, spilling hundreds of gallons of water over the land that surrounded it. This land, coincidentally, had been used to grow fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers that villagers had then sold in the market. All of these crops had been ruined.
This was not the only tragedy cased by the fallen tower, however. The hundreds of gallons that had spilled were not pooling and puddling in the dirt. These puddles signified months of water collection in the rainiest season in the lands of Camran. Now, all of that water was lost. The villagers had no plan for this sort of catastrophe. Water would be scarce from this moment on.
It took Hannah a few moments to discern what the most immediate need was. Then, she saw Gerald, the Guardian, lying prostrate in a pool of water, surrounded by the wooden debris left by the tower. He must have been injured when the structure fell! In times like these, she barely had to think about what to do. It was like healing and nurturing was an automatic part of her being, taking over control whenever tragedy struck. Hannah allowed these impulses to wash over her, and sprang into action. A few other villagers followed her as she dashed towards Gerald’s motionless body.
Hannah inspected Gerald, touching his muddied face and drenched hair, listening for signs of life.
“He’s breathing,” she announced, carefully observing the rise and fall of his chest.
“I’ll take him indoors, get him clean and dry,” said William the Warrior, who stood directly behind Hannah.
“To my house,” she directed him, nodding in William’s direction. William got to work, hoisting the massive Guardian across his shoulders.
Hannah’s attention was then drawn to the sobbing figure or Meryl, who knelt next to a mass of flowers, uprooted and soaked by the deluge of water. Isaac, the Inventor, was trying to console her, gathering each wilted flower and working to revive it, but Meryl could not be comforted. Hannah stepped in.
“We will replant, Meryl,” she said, softly, taking the Muse’s hand. “There will be beauty here once more. You’ll make sure of it. We can mourn today, but tomorrow, we will work to restore this garden. It will grow back even stronger and more vibrant than it was before.” Meryl nodded, feeling empowered, hopeful.
Hannah then spotted Peter, the Politician, and Bartley, the Baron, surveying the scene from the edge of the town square. She surpassed Philo, the Page, playfully splashing in the water, and approached the two men, who both wore very serious expressions.
“We have failed,” muttered Peter. “Other villages will hear of our plight and laugh at us.”
“I checked the beams just days ago,” Bartley responded. “I thought for sure that they would hold. What will we do in the days ahead?”
“Bartley,” said Hannah, softly, standing beside him, “you have always been a strong leader. You have never cowered in the face of a challenge. The people look up to you. They trust you. And you have Peter by your side. Whatever job you give to him, he will exceed your expectations. You know this. You are not alone. You can handle this.”
Both men looked at Hannah, seeing the sincerity in her expression. They saw the mud on the knees of her skirt, the tears on her shoulder, and the hope in her eyes. It moved them.
“Hannah, you have held this village together today,” said Bartley, his hand on her shoulder. “Thank you for putting yourself aside, and supporting those around you. I don’t know what we would do without you.”
Bartley’s words penetrated Hannah, reaching into her soul and setting it afire. It felt so good to be recognized, and acknowledged for her work. She felt so warm and energized, able to do anything. Then, she realized, there was one thing left for her to finish.
“Thank you, Bartley,” Hannah said, graciously, “but now I must go. William is waiting at my house with the injured Gerald. They need me.” Bartley nodded, giving her permission to go.
Hannah raced back to her dwelling, where she found Gerald, weak, lying on a mat on her floor. She spent the rest of the day, into the late evening, nursing him back to health, feeling needed, alive, and full.