A retelling of the Haitian Story
Papa God’s Well
In a time long ago, there was a terrible drought. The rivers, streams, and ponds were all dry. The land was caked and hard. There was no water anywhere. For all the animals, this was a disaster. Many were dying of thirst.
The animals gathered for a meeting about the water situation.
“Let’s call out to Papa God. He made us and he will look after us and help us,” said the leader of the animals.
So, the animals shouted out, “Papa God, Papa God!”
When Papa God heard all the shouting, he rushed to see what was happening.
“What is wrong? Why are you shouting?” he asked the animals.
“We have no water. Everything is dried up, and we are all thirsty. Some of us are dying for the lack of water,” they told Papa God.
“I had no idea. I will help you. I will build you a well,” said Papa God.
So, he made a deep well into the Earth, and filled it with clear cool water. He planted some trees around it. Papa God was very pleased with his work.
The animals ran to the well, and drank and drank.
“Oh, thank you, thank you,” they cried to Papa God.
“Now,” said Papa God. “I really like this well, and I want you to take care of it. So, someone will have to stand guard over the well because I do not want wild animals to make it dirty and I certainly don’t want humans near it. They will trash it, and then you won’t have water.”
Lizard volunteered to guard the well. But he turned away every animal that came to drink the water in the well. He didn’t let Horse drink because he might dirty the water with his hooves. He didn’t let Cow drink because he might dirty the water with mud from his tail. He didn’t let Dog drink because fleas might jump off Dog’s back into the water.
The only animal Lizard would let drink from the water was Lizard himself. As a consequence, all the other animals were still thirsty and getting sicker and sicker.
Papa God saw that the animals were not getting any better. “What is happening?” he wondered. “I gave the animals a well, and they are all still sick and dying from thirst.”
So, Papa God went to the well to see Lizard who was guarding it.
Lizard heard someone approaching the well. “Who is coming to the well?” he asked.
“I am here to check on the well,” said Papa God.
“Go away,” said Lizard. “This is Papa God’s well. You cannot drink from it.”
“Look, I am Papa God,” said Papa God. “I gave you the job of guarding the well, not keeping it all to yourself.” Papa God was not happy. He fired Lizard right on the spot.
“Now we need a new guardian of the well,” he told the animals.
Frog said, “I will guard the well, not try to own it. All the animals can drink from it. And I will always remember that it is Papa God’s well.”
Papa God was pleased to hear this. He made Frog the guardian of the well.
And to this day, Frog sits at the bottom of the well calling out, “Papa God’s well, Papa God’s well.” If you get close enough, you may hear him yourself.
This story reminds us that water is precious. For many people around the world, access to fresh drinking water is limited, difficult, and life-threatening.
What can you do to conserve water?
Have a great day! Remember to spend time outdoors every day.