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A Widow Woman
by [?]

The Respected Davydd Bern-Davydd spoke in this sort to the people who were assembled at the Meeting for Prayer: “Well-well, know you all the order of the service. Grand prayers pray last. Boys ordinary pray middle, and bad prayers pray first. Boys bach just beginning also come first. Now, then, after I’ve read a bit from the Book of Speeches and you’ve sung the hymn I call out, Josi Mali will report.”

Bern-Davydd ceased his reading, and while the congregation sang, Josi placed his arms on the sill which is in front of pews and laid his head thereon.

“Josi Mali, man, come to the Big Seat and mouth what you think,” said Bern-Davydd.

Josi’s mother Mali touched her son, whispering this counsel: “Put to shame the last prayer, indeed now, Josi.”

By and by Josi lifted his head and stood on his feet. This is what he said: “Asking was I if I was religious enough to spout in the company of the Respected.”

“Out of the necks of young youths we hear pieces that are very sensible,” said Bern-Davydd. “Come you, Josi Mali, to the saintly Big Seat.”

As Josi moved out of his pew, his thick lips fallen apart and his high cheek bones scarlet, his mother said: “Keep your eyes clapped very close, or hap the prayers will shout that you spoke from a hidden book like an old parson.”

So Josi, who in the fields and on his bed had exercised prayer in the manner that one exercises singing, uttered his first petition in Capel Sion. He told the Big Man to pardon the weakness of his words, because the trousers of manhood had not been long upon him; he named those who entered the Tavern and those who ate bread which had been swollen by barm; he congratulated God that Bern-Davydd ruled over Sion.

At what time he was done, Bern-Davydd cried out: “Amen. Solemn, dear me, amen. Piece quite tidy of prayer”; and the men of the Big Seat cried: “Piece quite tidy of prayer.”

The quality of Josi’s prayers gave much pleasure in Sion, and it was noised abroad even in Morfa, from whence a man journeyed, saying: “Break your hire with your master and be a servant in my farm. Wanting a prayer very bad do we in Capel Salem.” Josi immediately asked leave of God to tell Bern-Davydd that which the man from Morfa had said. God gave him leave, wherefore Bern-Davydd, whose spirit waxed hot, answered: “Boy, boy, why for did you not kick the she cat on the backhead?”

Then Josi said to his mother Mali: “A preacher will I be. Go will I at the finish of my servant term to the school for Grammar in Castellybryn.”

“Glad am I to hear you talk,” said Mali. “Serious pity that my belongings are so few.”

“Small is your knowledge of the Speeches,” Josi rebuked his mother. “How go they: ‘Sell all that you have?’ Iss-iss, all, mam fach.”

Now Mali lived in Pencoch, which is in the valley about midway between Shop Rhys and the Schoolhouse, and she rented nearly nine acres of the land which is on the hill above Sion. Beyond the furnishings of her two-roomed house, she owned three cows, a heifer, two pigs, and fowls. She fattened her pigs and sold them, and she sold also her heifer; and Josi went to the School of Grammar. Mali labored hard on the land, and she got therefrom all that there was to be got; and whatever that she earned she hid in a hole in the ground. “Handy is little money,” she murmured, “to pay for lodgings and clothes preacher, and the old scamps of boys who teach him.” She lived on potatoes and buttermilk, and she dressed her land all the time. People came to remark of her: “There’s no difference between Mali Pencoch and the mess in her cow-house.”