“Did you hear?”
The friend whispered subtly in Tabitha’s ear.
“Mary is pregnant, and the time is near!”
Tabitha stood still for a moment or two.
“Are you sure?” She replied. “Who told you?
That doesn’t sound like something Mary would do.”
With a twitch of her shawl, the girl leaned in to say,
“As surely as the sun lights the sky in the day,
I heard it from that man in the field gathering hay.”
Approaching the man who was burly and hairy,
Tabitha stepped over some hay, “Do you know about Mary?”
His muscles looked too large for one person to carry.
“She’s a wonderful girl,” the man said with a laugh.
“Just yesterday, her father sold me a calf.”
Looking up he proclaimed, “Of that young woman’s virtue, most girls only have half.”
Tabitha’s brow rose at this large man’s claim.
“I agree, sir. I feel just the same,
Mary’s reputation accompanies her name.”
The smiling man nodded and set to work once again.
“However, sir,” she interrupted, “I heard strange news from a friend.”
The man paused again, getting used to the trend.
“She says Mary’s pregnant, but I must know the truth,
How can one say this – where is their proof?”
The man stared incredulously and then laughed at the youth.
“No, no, not Mary,” he said wiping a tear.
“Her cousin is pregnant and her time is near.
Mary went to visit her. She lives far from here.”
“Oh,” Tabitha stared down, feeling rather ashamed.
“Then for the harsh rumor you are not to be blamed.
Mary is not pregnant as my friend has just claimed.”
Thanking the man, she soon took her leave.
“Amazing the things people make you believe,
To be pregnant and not married … there would be much to grieve.”
Entering the market, Tabitha glanced peacefully around,
When a heavy shove in her back sent her, hands-first, to the ground.
She turned to see a woman with a fruit basket – several pounds.
“So sorry, I didn’t see you. I’m in a great hurry.
These fruits are for Joseph the carpenter. I must scurry.
Without fresh fruits, I’m sure he’ll be in a flurry.”
“Let me help you with that,” Tabitha lent her a hand,
“I’ll help carry the basket to this carpenter man.
Tell me why he needs so much fruit ... if you can.”
“To feed his new wife is what I would say,
Her name is Mary, I found out today.”
Tabitha’s feet felt as brittle as clay.
At Joseph’s shop, they stopped in the door.
Chairs, tables, and donkey carts littered the floor.
And there stood Joseph, tools in hand, making more.
“Oh, that fruit is not mine,” he greeted them with a smile.
“It’s for my neighbor. He’s going on a trip for awhile.
He’s traveling to his home town … many a mile.”
“So does Mary live here?” Tabitha candidly asked.
She hoped her confusion was properly masked.
Nothing but a grin from Joseph was cast.
“No, we’re not married yet.” His eyes were so kind.
“Mary’s a great woman. She has a beautiful mind.
A more God-fearing wife would be difficult to find.”
With this, as before, Tabitha wholly agreed.
She had complete faith in Mary and her creed.
But all the talk she’d been hearing was puzzling indeed.
“After the wedding," he continued, "You should come over to eat.
You’re a young lady she would love to meet.
For awhile after we’re married, it’ll be just her and me.”
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