The Sisters of Patience
Updated: Feb 12, 2021
Charity and Solidarity were sisters. They had a brother whose name was Patience. They lived together in a small house with a garden, in a meadow spotted with trees. They got along well, sharing chores, playing the occasional trick on one another, and reading aloud when they could come by a good book.
Patience liked to hunt and trap; Charity liked to garden. Solidarity liked to tend to the animals—one dairy cow and a gaggle of geese—and make errands to the village. Together they liked to gather wild foods, catch fish, and map the countryside.
One day, Patience was alone gathering food near the edge of a rock face, when he slipped and met the ground below. Badly hurt and unable to move, he waited. His sisters found him alive, brought him home, and spent many weeks caring for his wounds.
Patience endured. However, he was badly maimed. He managed to feed himself and perform other tasks of personal necessity, shuffling around the house and meadow, but no more. Charity and Solidarity had to work long hours to replace their brother’s work.
In a short time, Charity became restless. “I cannot stand to see my brother this way. I will go into the city to find work.”
Solidarity urged her sister. “The city is harsh. It is difficult to make a way for yourself. I am afraid you will not return.”
Charity replied, “Look for me across the meadow. I will return in one year with enough savings to help us out of this mess. I love you both.” And at that, Charity left.
Solidarity stayed with her brother and continued to care for him. Though Solidarity and Patience grew closer, they longed to see their sister again.
When food became scarce, Patience said, “Solidarity, you must expand the garden, or we will not have enough to eat.” And she expanded the garden.
“Solidarity, let me show you how to hunt, for we need more meat.” And she learned to hunt.
“Solidarity, let us build together a larger storehouse, for I cannot trap through the winter.” And they built the storehouse.
Times were hard, but Solidarity and Patience became accustomed to their life, having overcome many challenges together. Patience had learned to live with his impairments and grew stronger. They were happy and found time for play again.
Three long years had passed when brother and sister saw Charity returning over the meadow.
They said, “Charity, we dreamed of the day you would return and now you are here! Tell us, how was your time in the city?”
“In the first year, I worked very hard for no pay. I had to beg for food. In the second year, I made enough to feed and clothe myself. But in the third year, I made my riches. We now have enough money to live happily for many winters.”
Solidarity replied, “Thank you sister, but we enjoy our work. We have all that we need and are quite happy now. If we use the money you’ve earned, we may lose our way and grow weak again.”
In the end, Charity found her place back in the home with her siblings. Her money stayed hidden away in a box. There it gathered dust with things forgotten.