The Churches of

Alsop-en-le-Dale

Fenny Bentley Parwich Thorpe Tissington

Harvest Festival

A story of generosity about children from a village in Africa

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Once upon a time, in a village in Africa, lived two children, whose names were William and Lucy.   They lived in a little house on a farm.   Their parents grew some wheat and various fruit and vegetables, and kept a goat for milk.

William and Lucy had two friends, who were also brother and sister –   their names were Jonathan and Ruth.   Their parents also had a farm, not far from William and Lucy’s farm.

Every year, the villagers planted their farms with wheat, looked after it as it grew, and harvested it when the grain was ripe. Usually there was quite a good harvest.   There was always enough wheat to allow William and Lucy’s parents to save some of the seed for planting the following year.

However, the weather in that part of Africa began to become dryer and dryer.   There wasn’t as much rain as in the past, and you couldn’t tell when it would fall.   One year, the rains failed.   There was no rain at all over the summer months.   The wheat didn’t grow very well at all, and the shoots never reached their full size.

At harvest time, there was much less wheat than before.   William and Lucy’s parents knew that it was going to be a difficult winter, and they would only have enough wheat to see them through until next spring.   There would hardly be enough to allow them to save seed for sowing next year.

Over the winter, all the families in the village didn’t have very much to eat.   One day, Jonathan and Ruth told William and Lucy – “we are only having one meal a day now”.   We’ve nearly run out of grain.   What shall we do?   Can you spare some of your grain? If we don’t get something to eat soon our parents will have to take us away from this village and try to find work in the towns.

William went and told his father and mother about the problem.   William’s father said, “If we let them have any of our grain, we won’t have enough to sow next year.   Then what will we do?”   but his mother said, “We can’t let our friends starve.   Let them have our spare grain.   God will provide for us, if we trust him”.

And so that is what they did.   Winter gradually came to an end, and spring time drew near.   It had been such a hard winter that there was very little seed corn left in the village, which the farmers could sow for the new year’s crop of wheat.   Everyone was getting very worried.   Things had never been this bad before.  

One day, Jonathan and Ruth   were playing outside the village, on some dusty barren land which nobody had ever tried to cultivate.   They were digging in the ground, making little pretend houses out of the soil.   Suddenly Jonathan shouted – my house has got a pond!    Almost immediately Ruth said – ‘so has mine!’   They couldn’t believe it – they had found water.  

The menfolk and the women folk all came to have a look.   It’s a spring!   they shouted.   We are saved!  

And so before long, a pump was installed which meant that all the fields of the village could be irrigated.   Even if the rains failed, the villagers knew that their fields would produce a harvest.

Remember that if William and Lucy’s family hadn’t shared their grain with their friends, Jonathan and Ruth would have gone to live in the town with their family, and so would never have discovered the spring.

What is the lesson of the story?   It is that if you share with others – especially if it means that you give something up that you would really rather keep - they will be blessed, and so will you.

Christopher Harrison home page

Derby Diocese Harvest Appeal