Once upon a time, in a valley between two great mountains, there was a little village filled with people. The Gramma lived there. The Gramma wasn’t actually anyone’s grandmother, but a kind older woman who was the special friend of every village child. They would come to her with their bruised feelings and hurt knees, and she would gather then on her lap and kiss their boo-boos and bandage their hearts. She always had a happy story and a special treat to share. The children grew and had children of their own. Those children also spent many hours in the Gramma’s home
The Gramma was never married, but earned her wages repairing worn out clothes. Over time, her hands got old and could no longer do their work. The children still came. She still told them stories and offered them treats, but one day there were no treats. The cupboard was empty, and there was no food for either the Gramma or the children. The children went home sad. The Gramma went hungry.
It was around that time that the Wandering Man with a strange staff wandered back through the village. The Wandering Man had been a shepherd once, the story goes, but fell asleep one day and the sheep were scattered. He spent his time traveling from village to village and sleeping mostly in the fields. Some people said he was looking for his lost sheep. Some just said he was crazy. Everyone admired his ancient staff with its old magic Word scrawled and gouged in vines about it.
The Gramma was hungry when Wandering Man came through. He noticed it, and the sad children, though no other of the grown folks did. As he left the village gate ,Wanderer struck it with his staff. Suddenly the people noticed the Gramma, and the sad children, and the empty cupboard. They remembered the Gramma’s kindness to them when they were small. They came in little trickles, then a great flood. They came with goat cheese and joints of meat. They came with loaves of bread, and cakes and biscuits and turnips and eggs. Soon the Gramma’s cupboard was filled to overflowing.
There was food on the table. And the bed. And the chair, and the little stool. There was food piled in the corners, and on the front stoop There was food for Gramma and plenty to share. The Gramma cried happy tears, and the children laughed. The Wandering Man still wandered.