Fairy tale

Once upon a time, a farmer stumbled into an underground bower where a fairy of astonishing beauty begged him to cease plowing the land just above her home, lest he tear through her packed-earth ceiling. In return for protecting her and voluntarily lessening his crop yield, she plied him with platters of fruit, bright as jewels, and a bowl of nectar gathered from midnight-blooming flowers.

The clever storyteller will say that the farmer is the Jewish people and the fairy is Shabbat, providing immeasurable reward for a day’s leisure.

(But I see Shabbat in the bowl of honeyed nectar, warm as a midsummer evening and smelling of lavender, primrose and jasmine. Surely the bowl must remain full to the brim no matter how many mouthfuls the greedy farmer drinks, as his fields, his work, and all sense of time slip away, replaced with giddy satisfaction.)

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