The day my husband came in from the forge and sat down heavily on the bench, putting his head in his hands, I was extremely worried. Ben Soab is a good man, seldom out of humour, always kind and looking to see the best side of things.
I poured some water into a beaker and took it to him. He was startled when I touched his arm, but when he looked up and saw just me he smiled, took the beaker from me and drank it all. Then he said “My love, I think I am going crazy”. I immediately felt fear, this is a man who has never said such a thing to me.
I sat down next to him on the bench and took his hand. “Tell me” was all I could manage to say, with my heart feeling as though it was in my mouth, strangling my speech.
He said, “I has just finished making those pots for the families who ordered them, I was letting them really cool off, before I give them a final polish, when I heard a voice.
I waited, expecting him to tell me who had visited him at the forge.
But then what he said made me scared.
“There was no one there” I walked right outside and up the slope, no-one was anywhere around.
“The voice came back, so I walked out to the pathway leading to the forge, and the voice continued, saying my name. So I replied yes, to see what would happen next” he said.
I waited for him to continue. He got up and started to pace, and as our home is tiny, he took just a few steps and had to turn again. Standing in front of me he finished “The voice told me to build an ark, large enough for all of our family and animals as there is a great rain coming and we need to make all safe”.
He paused. I thought he needed some encouragement, so I asked him “So what did you do?”
Ben replied, “I laughed and told the voice that I am too busy earning my living to be building such a thing. Then I became scared that I had gone crazy so I came home”.
I gave him the drink I used to make so that the children would sleep, and sent him to bed. Then I went to visit my sister, she who is married to Noah.
I took her outside and we walked sown to the river, supposedly to find some basket reeds. I told her about what Ben had said, and she said “Noah had the same experience this afternoon as well. I think someone is playing jokes on us all.”
Over the next months I watched as Noah and his family built his ark. Ben laughed at him and told him he was crazy, but sometimes I could see worry in my Ben’s eyes.
Then came the rain. Not just any rain, but a deluge. The river filled, overflowed, and soon our village was awash. Ben and I climbed the hill and sat in his forge, high above the water, where the trees grew on the plateau. The water came up to us. We watched as Noah and his family floated past on their ark. Ben’s last words to me were “Maybe I should have listened to that voice”.