The magical result of an ordinary good life . . .
When he came of age, his father gave him a piece of land, a grassy bowl situated between two hills just North of the village. Jacob eagerly set to work raising a few animals and crops on his land. He had few personal needs and build himself a little lean-to that let in more of the outdoors than it kept out. The goods he raised on his farm mostly went freely to others but Jacob lived well enough anyway on meals and gifts given to him in gratitude for the help he cheerfully gave others. He had all he wanted and needed, at least he did until the day he fell in love with Hannah.
Jacob and Hannah had known each other all their lives and spent many hours together in friendship. Only Hannah’s reputation for kindness and generosity rivaled Jacob’s. As they grew, many whispers trailed behind the two as they often went about together enjoying each other’s company and often helping the people of the village. However, the couple never noticed the stir they caused.
One day, as Hannah bent to wipe tears from a small child’s face, Jacob thought he caught a glimmer of sunshine beaming out from her soul and he knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He went home that day in a haze of bliss. As he reclined in a roughly made cot, gazing up at the sky through the open spaces of his roof, he began to picture Hannah there with him. The idea troubled him greatly. The place kept him comfortable enough, but how could he ask the lovely Hannah to live in such conditions? He needed a house.
The next day he pondered aloud to some of his young friends and a few of them gave him enthusiastic suggestions. One said he should build a house with a ballroom and a chandelier so he could hold parties. Another suggested a tall gate and wall to keep the place safe. Still another suggested a courtyard. Jacob felt quite overwhelmed.
Jacob went to his father and shared his thoughts with him. His father sat and listened, puffing his pipe, as Jacob told him about Hannah and his desire to build a warm house so she would want to marry him. His father listened thoughtfully and told him he would come to his place in the morning with his tools.
The next morning Jacob’s father showed up bright and early. He unloaded his tools and began directing Jacob on how to build the house. The two together cut down trees, split them into planks and prepared them to become the walls of a warm, comfortable house. Jacob’s father patiently taught him as they worked, explaining each step as they went along. He came back each day for several weeks until a solidly built house stood in the spot where Jacob’s lean-to had stood.
The small house had a kitchen and bedroom built around the fireplace that occupied the center of the home. The study construction kept the weather out and the fireplace could warm the entire house easily. Though no chandelier hung in an elegant ballroom, Jacob knew it would keep Hannah warm and dry.
Hannah had long been impressed by the gentle Jacob and put up no protest when he asked her to marry him. Before long, the happy couple settled into the cozy house and filled it up with love. Jacob had built the house but he soon realized that Hannah transformed it into their home. They faced the challenges of life together and continued to maintain a reputation for being generous and helpful as they began to bring new tiny babies into the world.
The little house quickly became crowded and before long, Jacob and his father began construction for another bedroom and then another. Jacob loved the work with wood and tools and became a fine craftsman who provided most of the furniture for the villager’s homes. He continued to raise crops and animals and his land became a thriving farm. Hannah often worked with him and became known for creating beautiful garments and other embroidered goods. The family thrived as they worked together with each other and with the villagers.
Jacob eventually built a sitting room onto the front of his house because they often entertained visitors. Hannah always had warm food on the stove and no one left their home hungry or empty-handed. By that time, Jacob’s aging father came to sit and chat while Jacob worked but his aging body did not allow him to continue to work alongside his son. He often spoke of his pride at his son’s accomplishments.
As Jacob’s family grew, so did his village. The community grew until they decided that they needed to appoint a mayor and town council. Without much debate, Jacob became the first mayor of his town. He took the assignment seriously and took personal responsibility to run the town in a way that allowed the residents to enjoy prosperous yields to their hard work. Jacob’s sitting room now became the meeting place for town meetings.
When the townspeople decided to build a new meeting hall to meet the needs of their citizens, they decided to build it onto Jacob’s house. No one doubted that he would continue to serve the town with all his heart for the rest of his life. Jacob agreed to the idea and soon he and a team of men constructed a new spacious kitchen and large room onto Jacob’s house. A large fireplace filled one end of the room which had room enough for town meetings, parties, and any other indoor gathering the town might hold. Jacob’s friend, who had made a small fortune in shipping, donated a chandelier for the room. The townspeople loved gathering in the elegant hall for all kinds of occasions.
Jacob and the townspeople had enjoyed a lifetime of peace and had built up their town into a prosperous and well-known place. Then disaster struck. The country declared war and the small city sat right in the middle of the fighting. The people needed protection!
Jacob and the city council held a hasty meeting. Unanimously they decided to build a fort around Jacob’s house. All the able-bodied people in the city worked to build a sturdy wall around a courtyard. They added barracks and a stable so soldiers could camp there. A heavy gate guarded the entrance to the fort. Blankets, food, and other supplies occupied space in the meeting hall which served as an emergency retreat for the citizens of the city.
Many times over the next few years as the war raged the people took refuge within the walls surrounding Jacob’s house. The walls stood strong and no one army ever broke through them or hurt the people inside. Many soldiers fell in the war and even Jacob lost a son but the people of the city stayed safe because of the sturdy walls of Jacob’s house.
Finally the war came to an end. With the danger past, the gates of Jacob’s house stood open and welcoming all the time. The people gratefully resumed their peaceful lives, enjoying the meeting hall for more joyful events once again. The war deepened the people’s gratitude for the peace and prosperity they enjoyed.
By this time Jacob’s aging body prevented him from serving his fellow man as he had done so often before. He spent much time resting though he took every chance to tell stories to the children or to impart needed wisdom to a younger man or woman struggling with life’s problems. Many people sought him out for his wise answers to their difficulties.
One day Jacob took his cane and slowly climbed the hill next to his house. He looked down on the small city he had helped build. Then he turned and looked at his house. As he gazed on the walls, gate, and meeting hall with the chandelier sparkling through the windows he made a surprising realization. The house he built with his father had transformed into something much better. It was not a house but a castle!
Not long afterward, Hannah peacefully drew her last breath and Jacob followed her soon after. He had no desire to remain in life without his beloved wife. Every person in the city and many other people from the surrounding areas came to honor Jacob and Hannah. They buried them on the hill overlooking their home.
Jacob’s house stood for many hundreds of years after he and Hannah passed into death. Often people passed the house and stopped to admire the beautiful construction. They often remarked, “A great king and queen must have lived here.”
And so they had.