There are women with Anne, including Alphaeus’ mother and they come in and out of Anne’s room to fetch hot towels and hot water from the blazing fire. Every time someone comes out, Joachim makes enquiries and gets assurances but the lack of cries from Anne’s room worries him even more.‘ I am a man and I have never seen a child being born but I remember being told that the absence of labour pains is fatal’. And so Joachim continues to worry.The fury of the storm intensifies just before nightfall; torrential rain beat the earth, the fields, the trees and houses and the trees and roof and everything that wasn’t pinned down lashed and crashed about in the violent wind whilst wild blinding streaks of lightening lit up the sky turned prematurely dark by the storm but there was no hail on the farm though elsewhere, there was plenty.
‘Satan is out with his demons’ comments one of the workers looking at the fury of the gale ‘look at those black clouds! You can smell sulphur in the air! And you can hear whistling and hisses! And wailing and cursing voices! If it is him, he is furious this evening!’

‘A great prey must have escaped him’ scoffs another worker ‘or the arch angel Michael has struck him with a thunderbolt from God, clipping his horns and burning his tail!’

A woman rushes by shouting ‘Joachim, it is coming! And it is happening quickly as well!’ and disappears back into Anne’s chamber with a small amphora in her hands.There is one last violent thunderbolt that lifts three full grown men and throws them against the side wall. Then suddenly, without warning, the storm drops leaving a black cavity in front of the house and in the garden filled with smoke! The dark clouds depart and once again, the sky overhead is clear; it is as if the air has been cleansed.Then comes the tiny cry of a baby like the plea of a turtle-dove coming from Anne’s chamber just as a huge rainbow lights up the clear September sky with a splash of colour and through an atmosphere now purified, stretches across several mountain ranges, crossing the Galilee, the south plain and the range beyond that where it drops from view.

‘Look, look!’ cry the waiting workers, neighbours and relatives, pointing to the rainbow.
‘It seems to encircle the whole Israel! And look! There’s a star in the sky! And the sun has not yet set! What a star! It is shining like a huge diamond!’
‘And look! The moon over there is a full moon three days early! But look how she is shining!’

The women emerge with a plump little baby wrapped in plain linens.It is Mary, the Mother. A very tiny Mary, small enough to sleep in the arms of a child; her little ivory head dyed pale pink, her tiny carmine lips set in the act of sucking, with a pretty little nose between two tiny round cheeks.

Joachim and all those waiting gather round to admire the new baby.

They tease her to open her eyes and they see two small parts of sky; innocent blue points that look but cannot see, with fair eyelashes. And her hair on her head is pinkish blond, the


5colour of certain honeys that are almost white. Her ears are two small shells, transparent and perfect. The onlookers watch as Her tiny hands grope in the air and end up in her mouth. Closed, they’re like two silky rose buds emerging from their green sepals. Then the tiny hands open, spreading out into two jewels of pink ivory and alabaster with five pale garnets as nails.
At first only the form of her tiny little feet can be seen kicking through the linens.
Then the relative sits down and uncover the linens. Oh, the little feet! Only about four centimetres long! Each tiny sole like a coral shell, with a snow white top showing tiny blue veins, her toes; masterpieces of Lilliputian sculpture crowned with small scales of pale garnet, like the feet of a doll.

Where will they find sandals small enough to fit those tiny feet when they take their first steps?

The onlookers smile and laugh and admire her perfectly shaped legs and minute plumpish thighs with their dimples and rings, Her tiny tummy like an upturned cup, Her silky soft skin, Her tiny perfect chest that can be seen moving up and down to her breathing.

Her happy father lays his lips to Her tiny little heart and kisses it; this most beautiful little heart the world will ever know: the only immaculate heart of a human being.