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THE COMING OF WHEAT
day Cain became weary and lay down under a tree to sleep.
As he slept, he dreamt that a strange angel came to him.
The angel had a body of green, but its head was beautiful gold,
with short yellow hair entwined with gold-brown seeds.
The angel said, “Cain, bring me to life, and I will become a
great friend to all mankind.”
Immediately, before Cain’s eyes, the angel grew withered and
old. The green of his
body faded to yellow and brown, and he became smaller and smaller until
he appeared as nothing more than a small seed lying on the ground.
knew what to do. He
dug a furrow in the ground, placed the seed into it, covered it over
with earth, and watered the soil.
Then he waited.
Almost immediately a small green shoot sprang up
through the earth, and grew and grew.
It grew straight and tall, unfolding leaf after slender leaf. The light green of the first shoot darkened slightly,
and finally a head appeared with golden seeds entwined in the short
hair. Cain recognised
in the beautiful head and the graceful green body:
the plant had reached its full height, it turned golden all over.
you must cut me free,” said the angel.
So Cain took a knife and cut the plant from the ground.
now, to win my gift, you must wrestle with me!” Rising to the challenge, Cain wrestled with all his
might. He twisted and
turned, held and hurled, failed and gained.
At last, with his last ounce of strength, he overcame the angel
and forced him to the ground.
On the instant he did so, the seeds sprang from the angel’s
hair and fell in a shower of gold to the earth.
have done well!” said the angel.
“Now gather the grain and I will show you the treasure you have
stooped and collected the seeds from the ground.
The angel pointed to two stones, one flat like a large plate, and
the other long and round. The
angel showed Cain how to put grain on the flat stone, and grind it to
now you have what you need to make bread.” said the angel.
“Know that I am the Being of Wheat, and I will serve you well
if you guard and care for my body.
Search for me on the hillside, a grass among grasses.”
that the angel disappeared and Cain woke with a start.
He rose and went to the hills.
There were many grasses there, long, short, tufty and slender.
Then, among the grasses, he saw one he recognised.
It was the wheat, with long slender body, and golden head full of
called the people together, and told them of his dream.
He showed them how to gather the wild wheat, and to dig furrows
for planting. As it
grew he showed them how to care for the crop.
He taught them how to pray for rain, and to the sun to shed its
life-giving light. When
the wheat was ripe and golden, Cain showed the people how to cut it and
bind it into sheaves.
the seeds were attached firmly to the ears of corn, each encased in a
tight husk, and no-one knew how to separate them.
Then Cain remembered his battle with the angel.
“You must beat the wheat!” he said, “Thresh it till it
yields the grain.” So
the people took sticks and threshed the wheat.
The grain sprang from the ears and fell to the ground.
The people took forked sticks and lifted all the stalks and straw
from the grain. But
there on the ground the good grain and the husks and chaff were all
mixed up together.
“Ask the wind for help,” said Cain. As the people prayed, the wind heard them and blew to a
good breeze. Using a
wide flat basket, Cain showed the people how to toss the grain and the
chaff into the air. The
wind caught the light chaff and blew it away, but the good grain was
heavier and fell to the ground ready to be collected.
As the people gathered the grain, they put some aside for re-planting. The rest they ground to flour between stones. From the flour, using water and fire, they baked the first bread, thanking God for the wheat, the sun, rain and earth.