Joseph’s letter — Duncan Wilson, UK


You know that I missed out on schooling so never got the proper hang of writing and rarely needed it anyway so long as I could scribble a bill. I’ve asked the Rabbi to help me with this short letter telling you the latest news.

Everything is overshadowed by this tax registration. There’s no escaping it as you and I know. Caesar needs to fill his coffers but soon we’ll be wrung dry. For us the hard part is the travelling. If we’re going to meet the count, we’ll have to start moving in the next few days. It won’t be easy. Mary is just about full term, waddles around, but has youth on her side, laughs a lot, keeps saying, ‘Praise the Lord!’, creeps in the shed when I’m working and helps out with the accounting – not that it’s complicated.

She knows I worry about losing orders. We drew the short straw, you might say. Not everyone has to get to Bethlehem. Lots of our neighbours can register in Galilee. I have a small donkey on standby. If necessary, it can take both of us and save my legs. And I’ve been asking around to see if we can join a party of travellers. I’ve come across one or two belonging, like me, to good King David’s line – royal blood – so we might strike lucky.

When we get back, we’ll have to think about getting wed. We don’t want any more of this tongue wagging. Life won’t be the same. I’m hoping that in time, the little feller might turn his hand to joinery and keep me company, perhaps take over one day. In this business, four hands are much better than two. And if he’s as bright as his mother, he’ll be a Godsend, won’t he?

Just pray Mary will be alright.

In the meantime, I’m feeling quite excited at being a dad and, who knows, there may be brothers and sisters on their way in time to come.



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