Samuel did not believe that he was about to see his beloved town which he left for about a whole year. Hours passed as if they were unmoved great mountains. He was on his way home with his camels carrying countless presents for his fair young bride whom he missed much. He was compelled to leave her under the care of his family till he returned from his trade journey. The procession approached his town. Thus, his heart leapt joyfully. He looked left and right so as to see his house and surprise his bride with his return bringing her unexpected gifts. Few hours later, Samuel reached his house. To his astonishment, signs of sadness appeared on its entrance. Moreover, the small trees which he had planted got totally dry and withered as if mourning that desolate house. All corners were covered with dust.
“What happened? Did my wife desert the house and neglect it for a long time? Did she return to her family? Or is there something wrong with her?”
Samuel knocked the door but no one answered. Finally, he opened the door to find himself not in his joyful home but as if in a tomb. He did not want to judge rashly. However, he left his camels with his men and rushed to his brother’s house who saw him, ran towards him, embraced and kissed him with his eyes full of tears.
“Where’s my wife?”
“Be patient. Don’t be afraid. Everything’s ok.”
“Did she return to her family?”
“I’ll tell you. Just relax.”
“Is she sick?”
“No. Just sit down. Let me wash your feet and serve you and your men food. I’ll then tell you everything.”
“As the name of the Lord whom I worship lives, I’ll neither eat nor drink till I know where my wife is.”
The younger brother patted his brother Samuel’s shoulder and with his eyes full of tears said, “Few days after you had traveled, your wife came telling me that she received an oral message to the effect that you died. She pretended to be bitterly sad. However, she soon began to flatter me. I felt that she was a coquette. I said to her, “Who told you that it’s a true message?” I rebuked her and told her that I’d make sure if my brother was alive or dead. I wept by day and by night knowing not how to make sure. Moreover, she didn’t mention the place to which she went. Few days later, God revealed to me the evil of that woman. I was told that men visited her by night. Not wanting to judge rashly, I asked her but she denied. However, many people witnessed that she was an adulteress.”
“Yes, a betrayer not deserving to live with you.”
“Don’t say so. I know her well. Where’s she now?”
“She was an adulteress and the law judged that she should be stoned.”
“Don’t weep. She was an adulteress and a betrayer. She disgraced us all. Thus, she deserved to be stoned and to be dragged by robes outside the town so that she wouldn’t be buried in a tomb but to be left to the dogs and the predatory birds to eat her. This is but a little punishment of God for her fornication.”
Samuel could not hear more. He broke down. However, his brother said to him, “Rise. Don’t grief over an adulteress. There’re many girls. You can marry a fairer and richer and of course purer one. Rise for, all people know her story. They’re waiting your return to rejoice. So don’t change their joy into sadness because of an adulteress. Don’t let people belittle you.”
The brother insisted on washing his brother’s feet and head and accompanied him to his house with some of the servants to prepare it for him. However, Samuel lost his inner peace. He tried to smile but in vain.
The brother thought that Samuel would restore his gaiety and inner piece by time. However, he got worse. He sometimes found it difficult to accept what had been said about his beloved bride. Sometimes, he entertained much doubt that he could not bear to see a woman or trust a wife.
However, another event could obsess his mind: his only brother fell on the ground crying of pain without stopping like children. Samuel took him to his doctor who cared for him and treated him for months but in vain. He took him to other doctors in different towns bearing all hardships to no avail. People used to visit them to serve and console them. Samuel refuged to God. He went every morning to the synagogue to pray early before sunrise. He sang the psalms and listened to the law, being read, with unceasing tears asking God to have mercy upon them. Samuel was about to break down because of his suffering brother. Once he met a rabbi after the prayer of the first hour. He said to him, “Rabboni, what can I do so that the Lord may have mercy upon us?”
“Why do you say so Samuel?”
“You know how I feel because what had happened to my wife whom I thought an angel.”
your fault then Samuel?”
“I lost confidence in every woman.”
“Don’t say so. There’re many girls in the town who love God and serve Him with pure hearts.”
“I don’t want to get married. I don’t think that I can please or be pleased by any girl especially after my brother had fallen sick.”
“Don’t say so; you’re a believer.”
“Then, what to do, Rabbi?”
“Go to the neighboring village for, a minister there has told me that a wonderful woman came to the village few days ago. She’s poor yet, meek, modest, loving and righteous; she always reads the Bible and memorizes the psalms. She came to the village in ragged clothes and sat on the threshold of a house. When the housewife saw her weeping bitterly, she opened the door and tried to console her. She loved her for her modesty and her love to God. Few days later, the housewife fell sick with a high fever, thus, the poor woman knelt down by the lady’s bed and prayed with tears so God heard her supplications. Since then, the villagers asked her to pray for them yet, she remained meek asking everyone to pray for her.”
“What have I to do with her, Rabbi?”
“Take your brother to her so that God may hear her concerning you.”
“I don’t want to meet any woman whoever she is.”
“She’s a loving modest servant with a contrite heart; she doesn’t consider herself a miracle worker. She always sheds tears for the sake of the afflicted and the sick.”
“I’ll obey you and go, just pray for us.”
Samuel took his brother to the woman. In the house, he found some people gathering In the courtyard. She did not go out but sat behind the closed door and talked to them in a very low voice. One of them advanced to the door and asked her to pray for him.
No sooner had the man heard the word ‘repentant’ than he wept saying:
I’m a repentant madam. I confess that I was an evildoer, yet, I trust that God is able to take away my sins as well as my physical pains. I committed many sins. Once I stole forty dollars from a man. When my crime was discovered, I was sentenced to be crucified. Then, a lady was passing by; as she saw me arrested and surrounded by people rejoicing over my calamity, she said calmly and boldly to the man arresting me, “Why do you arrest your brother thus?”
“He’s stolen from me forty dollars.”
“Do you want to kill him for few dollars?” The lady asked, and at once gave him forty dollars saying, “Freedom is priceless.”
I loved the lady much and walked with her. On the way, I asked her to marry me but she refused. I soon met a rich man and deceived him claiming that the lady was a bondwoman of mine. I sold her for two hundred Dollars and escaped. I don’t know what became of her afterwards. Undoubtedly, she’s a slave in the man’s house now. She freed me with her money while I delivered her to slavery for no price.
One of the attendants interrupted him saying, “Do you know me?”
“I’m the man from whom you stole two hundred Dollars.”
The other could not but weep kissing the man’s feet saying, “Forgive me my brother. I promise to pay you your money back. Tell me please what became of the poor woman I sold you.”
The man replied:
After you took the money, I took hold of her hand but she pulled her hand back saying, “What do you want?”
I said to her, “Why are you angry against me? Your master sold you to me.”
“I’m a free woman.” She replied telling me how she rescued this thief from death. Therefore, I gave her ten Dollars and let her go, but I feel that God has blessed my house because of her.
Amidst the amazement that prevailed, a man said, “I met that woman few months ago on the way moaning bitterly of her wounds. She was bleeding. I took her home where my wife cared for her till she recovered. However, she was jealous of the woman as she felt that I loved the woman. Yet, the woman was extremely pure as she refused to marry me chastely. Thus, I rent a room for her; and the slave who’s with me now bares witness that I cared for her as a sister. But one night, as my wife woke up to feed her baby, she found him slain. As we followed the blood traces, it led us to her dwelling. As she opened the door, we found the knife therein. Thus, my wife insisted on killing her but I hardly convinced her that if she had killed the boy, she wouldn’t have left the knife in her dwelling. Anyway, my wife beat her severely. Two days later, I gave her forty Dollars and asked her to leave not expecting her to pay them to rescue a thief.
The people then began to ask about the knife found in her dwelling. Unable to bear the murmurs of the people and his master’s words, the slave cried of pain, “I’m the one who killed the baby and put the knife in the woman’s dwelling.”
Observing what was happening, Samuel forgot his brother’s moans and burst into tears for the poor woman while his brother broke down. Suddenly, the poor woman opened the door and rushed towards Samuel and his brother saying, “Do you know who this woman is?” and looked to Samuel saying, “She’s your wife whom your brother accused of fornication.”
They were all perplexed as they saw Samuel holding the woman saying, “Are you my bride Jolly?”
“I’m Jolly. Your brother tried to rape me claiming that you died and caused me to be stoned unjustly. Now, the Lord made me return back to you conquering not only evil men but evil itself with the power of my God and your prayers, Samuel.”
The Enraged Goat