Chapter 17 – Conversation in the Village

After that they went to the well; they started scooping out the fish with buckets, pouring the water on to a bit of waste ground. For five days they kept up this work until they had cleaned out the well. Then they put a concoction down it to kill whatever was left.

At that moment some people came by, dragging a youth all tied up with cords. Amsiggel recognized it was Igider. “What’s he done?” asked Amsiggel. “This wretch,” they replied, “stole our cow. And last week he stole some barley from the hamlet of Ayt-Sukka. And yesterday he stole Addi’s shoulder-bag from the vegetable patch. And it was him who took the money box from the shop that time when the villagers chased you away!” “Let me have a word with him please,” replied Amsiggel. They stopped in the road and Amsiggel said to him, “Igider, is it true you’ve done all this?” “I’m in a mess!” he replied, “This disease has killed my father and mother, and my little brothers and sisters have no one but me. And now they’re taking me off to the magistrate!” “Don’t worry about them at all, Igider!” replied Amsiggel, “We’ll look after them till you come back.” “Why is it, Amsiggel,” he said, “that you want to do me good when I’ve only ever done you harm?” “I’ll tell you why,” he replied, “and you’ll be glad too and come to know the Way of Peace.”

That night Amsiggel had a dream. In his dream he saw an angel standing in the room where the old man slept. The angel gave him a spade and showed him a place to dig in the corner of that room. He dug and dug until he struck something hard, then kept on digging until a large wooden box appeared. He opened the box, and found it full of gold and silver. When he woke next morning, he went and told his grandfather about his dream. The old man looked at him and said, “Well, the time has come for me to deliver what the Lord God left in my safe keeping. Fetch the spade!” Amsiggel began to dig up the floor in the corner till he came to something hard. As he removed the earth a box appeared just like the one he’d seen in his dream. When they opened it, they found it full of bracelets and brooches of gold and silver. Amsiggel asked, “Where did all these riches come from, Grandad?” “My own father was a goldsmith,” replied the old man, “in the service of the king. He left all this to me saying ‘Hide this in safekeeping until you find someone able to make peace between us and God and between man and his neighbours and between man and himself.’ And God has shown us that now the time of this peace has come.” “But what shall we do with these goods, Grandad?” asked Amsiggel. “We’ll do good with them!” he replied, “Get started, dear lad, and build a school where children can find an answer to all their questions, build a clinic where the sick can be healed, build a workshop where the poor can earn their living, and so you’ll give new life and solid hope to the whole village.”

“O Grandad!” exclaimed Amsiggel, “You saw all of this from afar and you understood and knew it all before it happened!” “I don’t know anything,” replied the old man, “but I always lived in hope, from the moment when a boy was born amidst thunder and lightning with a smile on his face. That night I said, ‘A storm brought us this child, but he’ll outlive the storm. Born in darkness, he’ll lead us into light; born amidst thunder and lightning, he’ll bring us peace from all that beats down on us.’ And now, Amsiggel, you’ve done all I imagined, seeing that you’ve discovered the Way of Peace.” “Do you believe, Grandad,” asked Amsiggel, “in our Saviour?” “I’ve seen with my own eyes,” he replied, “one who can turn infamy into honour, conflict into peace, tears into joy, wickedness into goodness, enemies into dear friends. I’ve observed the miracles he’s done among us: what more do I need in order to believe in him? There’s no one else able to make peace between man and God, between man and his neighbour, or between man and himself, apart from him alone.” Then the old man said, “Now I’ve done what was decreed for me, having delivered what God put in my safekeeping. Long enough I’ve spent in this world, and now I would enter into the sure and everlasting place. I trust the one I’ve believed in, that he will guard what I’ve placed in his safekeeping until the Last Day.” Amsiggel wept, but the old man said, “Don’t weep, my child. I’m leaving you in peace and comfort till we meet again in heaven.” No sooner had he said this than his spirit departed.

The Old Woman continued living with Amsiggel and his sister. She cooked, brought the water, washed the clothes, and looked after both them and their guests along with the brothers and sisters of Igider. Everyone helped with the work of building according to what the old man had said. Their father went back to town and sent a letter telling about his work and about some Christians he met with there.

Several months went by, and the guests decided to return, each to his own home – all except the Old Woman who stayed there. Every two months they came back to see Amsiggel and Tazzwit, and they all gathered together to praise God, to read from his word and to encourage one another. Day by day Amsiggel taught in the school and the children asked him about everything they didn’t know, and he told them all about the knowledge of the world and of heaven from the books which the People of Peace brought him. Tazzwit worked in the clinic, dispensing the Old Woman’s remedies to anyone who was ill. Others laboured in the workshop, making woollen blankets, leather sandals and wooden utensils and furniture. Everything they produced was strong and well-made, and they sold it in the market. Their goods were very popular and people said, “This is well-made and very strong – it’s the work of Amsiggel’s People.”

Some months passed and Amsiggel married Honey. They made a firm covenant always to help one another loyally and patiently. When Igider was let out of prison, he too embarked on the Way of Peace, regretting all the wrong he’d done in the past. Tazzwit saw how much he’d changed as he helped everyone wanting to learn a new craft. Eventually he asked to marry Tazzwit, and they too made a firm covenant together.

And thus it was that the village was filled with peace and the blessing of God. Many came to see what Amsiggel’s People did, and many believed in those days and took the news to other villages. And so the peace of God spread throughout our land and reached every place. They sang a song saying, “O Lord God, your name is great in all the world,” and “The earth is God’s and all that exists in it; the world is God’s and all who live in it.”