The Basket

Contributed by Ruth Morrow

This story comes from the continent of Africa. Once, there was a man who lived by himself in a small village. One day a beautiful woman came to him and said, “I will stay with you. I will be your wife, but you must promise me one thing: that you never look inside my basket. The man did not know where she had come from and could not believe his good fortune. It seemed like an odd request but the man agreed never to look in her basket.

They are very happy together and they prosper. After a while the man wonders what is in the basket that he promised never to look in. He becomes curious. He forgets all the happiness and goodness the woman has brought him and starts to reason with himself: “this is my house and she is my wife. What harm is there in taking a wee peek?” One day while his wife was at the market in the village, the man decided to look in the basket. After the man looked, he began to laugh and laugh in a mocking kind of way as if what he had seen was so ridiculously useless that he couldn’t fathom why on earth his wife thought that it was so precious.

He was laughing so loud and so absorbed in scoffing his discovery that he didn’t notice that his wife had returned from her errands. Immediately, she knew that he had looked in her basket. She confronted her husband and said, “You have broken your promise and looked in my basket!” He, still laughing in scorn replied, “What does it matter? There is nothing in your basket!”

The wife looked at her husband with tears of rage and hurt in her eyes, took her basket and went away, never to return.

How like human beings to think that the spirit is nothing.