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The Virgin Mary and the plowmen

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

When the Virgin Mary, peace be on her, was on the flight to Egypt with the son in her arms, she passed by some plowmen making furrows in their field. She said to them: “Though today you are only sowing, before the sun rises tomorrow morning, your field will be ready to harvest. But remember, if anyone comes this way and asks about me, say, “She was here just as we were getting ready to plant these chick-peas.”

Indeed when the Beni Israil, who were after the Virgin, came to the place on the very next day, these same plowmen were busy harvesting chickpeas. The Beni Israil asked: “Has a woman carrying a child passed your way recently?” The plowmen replied: “By God, such a one did go by, but that was when we were digging the furrows to sow this crop.” “O ho,” said her persuers, “that must have been some time ago. How will we catch up with her now?”

From: “Sahteen: Discover the Palestinian Culture by Eating”, published by the Freres School, Bethlehem, part of the Culture and Palestine series issued by the Arab Educational Institute-Open Windows, Bethlehem, 1999. To order the book, send a mail to

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