She came to town every Wednesday for Market Day. She had lovely manners and a gracious way of deferring questions that made any conversation seem complete instead of evasive.

“Your husband might like this hand-sewn shirt.” Mrs. Gardner, the local nosy parker, searched for clues about the mysterious woman.

“What tiny, even stitches! I can see you’re an expert seamstress. Where did you get this wonderful twill?”  Mrs. Gardner thrilled to the praise and started describing her adventurous fabric expeditions, forgetting all about husbands.

No one knew the woman’s name, or where she lived, or anything about her. They just called her the Lady. She was tall and willowy, always dressed in pale pink or light purple.  Most folks thought she was a ghost. She seemed to be from another world, not quite there.  Grandpa Whittier reckoned she didn’t even cast a shadow.

Someone dared Billy Evans to touch her, see if she was flesh and bone. He practically fell across her path; a brush of her fingers restored his balance.  He refused to talk about her, but he quit his wild ways and started singing in the choir.

The Lady never bought anything, but had kind words for bakers and weavers, wood carvers and candle makers, farmers and artists, who all thrived from her praise.

Once she tenderly touched a tiny wooden cradle, and the formerly barren carpenter’s wife gave birth to healthy twins the following year.   When she read aloud from a book of poems by Israel Cummings, the half-blind grave digger, his milky eyes suddenly sparkled blue.

Finally one day the Lady brought a pony cart filled with tiny clumps ready for planting.  “With gratitude” read the sign.  No one ever saw her again, but they planted the clumps, which grew into breathtaking grasses of pinks and purples like the colors the Lady always wore.

Years later Mrs. Gardner’s great-grand-daughter was miraculously healed when she brushed against a plume of feathery pink grass, and the pilgrimages began.  After that, there were miracles aplenty, but only on Wednesdays.  Only on Market Day. 

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    Sandra James
    Sandra James(@sandra-james)
    2 years ago

    Beautiful, Juma. A truly enjoyable read with a very satisfying conclusion. What a wonderful legacy she left behind, and I’m thinking that with all the lovely comments you make about everyone’s stories, and how it leaves us feeling… perhaps there’s something of the mysterious Lady in you 🙂

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    Hello, Juma. I really enjoyed it. I almost forgot my cooked adobo because I was fascinated by your mysterious tale. And I love the sign “with gratitude”; it is very pleasant. May I know the English name of the miraculous feathery pink grass?

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Juma
    2 years ago

    Muhly Grass is beautiful grass, Juma. But I think there is no such grass here in the Philippines. It’s sad to think that I can’t see that in person.

    Last edited 2 years ago by Lotchie Carmelo
    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    2 years ago

    This seems to be a story about a mysterious saint, specifically protecting and inspiring artists, farmers and craftsmen. I love the way she exits from the community and from the story, leaving a plant that has her colors and her magic power. A very pleasant read!

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    2 years ago

    What a lovely story Juma. So gentle and warm, just like the lady herself, with a sprinkling of miracles. It did make me wonder why she would leave a sign that read ‘With gratitude’ when, it seems to me, that she was the one that deserved gratitude from the town folk.

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    Reply to  Juma
    2 years ago

    Ah, that makes complete sense Juma and the story even more magical.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 years ago

    This is a lovely story Juma. I love your protagonist’s benevolence, that she never expected anything in return. One of those stories that leaves you with a nice fuzzy feeling. Very nicely done!

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