• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 04
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Josiah, Rebekah and Ruth

The tines of the pitchfork stabbed deep into the hay bale pulling strands of grass free of the compacted mass. With a practiced flip of the implement, hay was sent flying over the wooden stall door to scatter across the stall floor. There was no doubt that farm work was harder with just one. Thankfully, tomorrow a new bride would come home with him. Pausing in his labor he leaned on the handle of the pitchfork, wiping at the sweat that beaded his brow. It had been a long time since Josiah had help on the farm. His first wife Rebekah, God rest her soul, had been a good worker. Right up until the unfortunate incident with the Bishop.

A good woman, Rebekah had the unfortunate habit of gossiping. It didn’t matter what she talked about, so long as she was talking. For a man as taciturn as Josiah it had been a relief to have a home full of life and chatter. That was, until Rebekah turned her gossip towards the Bishop’s wife, Sarah. A good woman, plain, hard working, everything an Amish woman should be. Rebekah, well she was a hard worker, but she was undeniably attractive and she knew it. Hidden in the bed chamber were the pots and tubes of skin cream that she used daily. A vanity, one that Josiah reprimanded her for. Rebekah refused to listen to him, instead arguing that they kept her beautiful for his eye.

He regretted it, his heart ached each time he thought of it, but it had to be done. The Bishop said so.


Josiah, Rebekah and Ruth

Setting the pitchfork down he headed out to the small vegetable patch that Rebekah had kept up so nicely. With careful strokes of the hoe he set about loosening the top inch of soil ready for the planting that would come later in the month. The Lord knew he had tried to correct his wife. He had destroyed the face creams, she bought more. He had punished her for gossiping, she talked more. When finally his failure came to the attention of the Bishop he was given the choice, fix it, or be done with her. He couldn’t fix it, he had tried to fix it. Nothing seemed to sink in.

His hoe dug deeper into the ground, hitting against something solid before he quickly pulled it back again. Tomorrow his new bride, Ruth would come home from meeting with him. She was a good woman, the sister of the Bishop’s wife. Plain, quietly spoken and known for the fine seams she could sew. Yes, Ruth would be a good help-meet for him. Again, the hoe hit against something solid buried beneath the vegetable patch. With a sigh Josiah shouldered the hoe and headed towards the barn.

He would write to Rebekah tonight and inform her that she could not return to the community. He prayed that no one would find out that she was not actually dead.