The Sincere Love

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In a village on the southern side of the Alborz Mountain, by the Caspian Sea, lived an old woman with her beautiful daughter.  Her name was Moon.  She had blue eyes that shined like two unblemished turquoise gems; her long eyelashes curved upward.  Her eyebrows hung like quarter moons when she opened her eyes.  She had silky white skin like the color of snow and breathtakingly long black hair that hung over her slender shoulders.

Every one loved Moon and Moon loved life.  She woke up at dawn, made tea for her mother, and prayed on the terrace, facing the Alborz Mountain, which were pointing in the direction of Mecca.  Moon had a beautiful melodic voice and she loved to sing.  After her morning prayer, she sat on the terrace, facing the rising sun, as it slowly peeked out from behind the mountain, spreading its rays over the valley below, and then, second by second, slowly spread a shaft of light over the sea.  She loved to gaze at the unfolding of a new day from her terrace.  She praised God and sang a harmonious tune, first in a soft voice, repeating the words, “Praise to God Who Created the heaven and earth.”  Then as the beam of light widened over the valley, her voice continued its enchanting tune, in harmony with cardinals singing in magnolia trees in the yard.  She repeated over and over, “Praise to God Who Created the heaven and earth.”

In the evening, after sunset and when the half moon shined in the sky, she prayed on the terrace, facing the moon, as its dim orange color smoldered over the mountains.  Again, she sang and praised God for the Blessings she had in life.

Moon was a good daughter.  She worked with her mother in their small plot of land, from dawn until dusk.  Bending all day to plant rice caused unbearable pain in her back.  She never whined, even when blood-sucking rice worms pinned themselves to her legs.  She would light a match to the worms, almost burning her own flesh, to get the bloodsuckers off from her legs.  Moon still did not grumble; a smile never left her face, and she gladly worked and worked.  After working until five in the afternoon, she took the family cow and goats to the fields for grazing, sang to them, and then milked them lovingly with sore hands that ached from working in the fields.  She did all this and never complained.

Her mother called her a sweet angel of God, her beloved sweeter than her soul, a saint.  When Moon brought lunch for her, her mother would kiss her forehead, as tears rolled down her own cheeks.  When she prayed, she always put her hands up, loudly asking for a long life for Moon and begged God to take her life before Moon’s.  She told everyone how much she loved Moon and how she was ready to sacrifice her own life for her.  When young men came to her and asked to marry Moon, she sent them directly to Moon.  And as always, Moon thought of her mother and rejected them to be with her mother.

One day, it had rained all day.  Still, Moon had worked in the fields, soaking wet.  When she came home, she fell sick and burned with fever.  The old woman took her to the village doctor, but she got sicker and her temperature surged higher.  She took her to the city to a famous doctor.  He gave her many medicines, but it did not help, and Moon got weaker and weaker.  She took her to the village preacher, who gave Moon prayer beads to put around her neck; she remained sick.  She went back to the preacher; he told her to sacrifice a goat and give the meat to the villagers to pray for Moon.  Still, she did not get better.  Everyday, the old woman went to Moon’s room, kissed her forehead, and prayed for her.  Nothing worked and she became very weak.  Her shining color faded, her eyes sank, her eye protruded, and the shadow of death hung in her room.  Every night, after her prayer, the old woman stood where Moon had stood before, with her hands raised to the sky, talking to God.  Over and over again, she asked God to take her life before Moon’s life.  When anyone visited them, she repeated her prayer, over and over again.  In tears, she told them that she wanted to die before Moon.  She told her friends, where she wanted to be buried, and she even went with her oldest friend to the village graveyard, where a saint was buried, and marked where she wanted to be buried.

One day after sunset, the old woman went to Moon’s room; she saw her breathing heavily, her eyes colorless, her forehead covered with sweat, as if she were about to receive the Angel of Death. . She ran back to her room and stood in prayer.  She cried and cried, asking God to take her life and give it to Moon.  From exhaustion, she lay on the floor, half asleep and half awake, opening her eyes from time to time, gazing into the yard, as though she expected a visitor.

At the far end of the yard, the family cow was eating hay.  Next to the hay basket was a large white clay pot full of water for the cow.  The cow went to the pot and put her head into it for a drink of water.  The cow’s head was caught in the pot and it appeared to have a small, round white circle around its head.  The cow, in fright, moved around the yard making all kinds of unusual sounds.  She moved to the old woman’s window.  She cried out again: “I cannot bear this life any longer.  Ah, I wish Death would only come and take me!”  Suddenly, the old woman opened her eyes and saw something moving toward her room.  In fear, she started and her heart beat violently.  A sweat covered her face and she shook uncontrollably.  She tried to get up and run, but her legs caved under her.  In fright with a shaking voice she shouted:

“If you are coming for the sick person, she is next door there, not in my room.”


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