To my mother – A Keeper of the Spring

The Keeper of the Spring – the story


A quiet forest dweller lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slope of the Alps.  The old gentleman had been hired many years earlier by a young town councilman to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town.  With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise have choked and contaminated the fresh flow of water. 

The village soon became a popular attraction for vacationers.  Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description.

Years passed. 

One evening the town council met for its semiannual meeting.  As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid the obscure keeper of the spring.  Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man?  Why do we keep him on year after year?  No one ever sees him.  For all we know, the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good.  He isn’t necessary any longer.”  By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.  For several weeks, nothing changed. 

By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves.  Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water.  One afternoon someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring.  A few days later, the water was much darker.  Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks, and a foul odor was soon detected.  The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally ground to a halt.  Swans left, as did the tourists.  Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting.  Realizing their gross error in judgment, they rehired the old keeper of the spring, and within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up.  The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps. ________________________________________

As I pondered the significance of motherhood in light of this story I heard, it did seem to be a fitting allegory of the timeless value of mothers.  And so, this following poem became a penned tribute to the wonderful mother with whom God blessed me.

The Keeper of the Spring ~ a poetic rendering

You have been chosen, O fair maiden of the King

Selected by His Majesty to be a keeper of the spring

No other one so aptly could do this special thing

Keeping watch so vigil to ensure the purest stream


Day and night you’ll labor to keep its constant flow

Clean and clear and full of life, deterred by ne’er a foe

A little blockage here or there, that oft’ might tempt to hinder

Cannot escape your watchful eye, your hands that ceaseless labor


Immediately you start to work, your task cannot be hindered

Others’ lives are in your hands you constantly remember

The smallest of impurities could render slow but certain death

If not for the Keeper who watches close, any harmful thing to arrest


The health of all who are refreshed by the charge within your care

Depends upon your faithfulness – whether you are always there

Keeping watch – seen or not – unnoticed or applauded

The work you do relentlessly must e’er be kept unthwarted


The highest praise that can be given to one of your description

Would surely be upon the lips of all, your title fondly mentioned

Credit to a work so great must definitely be rendered

This job of such significance must never be surrendered


Yet some would fain to undermine your worth and ardent valor

The keeper of the purse declares your funds more elsewhere matter

Society is moving up they say, we’ve bigger, better things

The budget is shifted as a better way is sought, to utilize the springs


And so you watched with broken heart as bigger better things

Sought to replace the work you’d done that once made your heart sing

And for a while you wondered if maybe you’d been blind

To new and improved means by which clean water could be found


Until the day that told the truth of what advancement proved

Efficiency abundant now but quality far removed

Sludge and slime now filled the stream, no one to guard its health

Sickness raged in every home, threatening a greater kind of wealth


Something must be done with the town in disarray

The council met again, the keeper of the purse dismayed

Perhaps his dismissal of the lowly keeper played some key integral part

‘Twas true that he had never taken the keeper’s importance to heart


Could it be the tender care that to the spring was given

Was reason for the flowing stream that once made the town seem like heaven?

Quickly and firmly the conclusion was drawn, the keeper’s job reinstated

And the townsfolk watched in anticipation and with bated breath they waited


The transformation they knew would come with the keeper at watch once again

Did slowly but surely make its appearance and with determination began

To produce in the fields and countryside a vivid and deep virescence

Life springing forth with beauty so rare, colors of radiant brilliance


And so time did tell the secrets of producing the purest stream

Frothy fountains, babbling brooks, ribbons of glass that gleam

Nurturing growth, harboring life ‘long side the grassy shore

Yes – streams that offer so much more than water in a reservoir


For you see, the end result cannot be simply measured

By more efficient means through which a budget isn’t squandered

In the broader grander scheme of things, quality is prime

And budget there isn’t which renders excellence, not affording time


Time well spent on the little things that matter most in the end

Little things that if not tended yield matters hard to mend

And so it was found in that little town that what made folks hearts to sing

 Was because of the humble yet vital role of the keeper of the spring


By Rachel Hunt, lovingly dedicated to my mother, Priscilla Geralene Hunt on her birthday, August 7, 2007.


4 thoughts on “To my mother – A Keeper of the Spring

  1. Rachel, this is a beautiful and exquisitely written tribute to your mother and godly homemakers! Thank you for posting so many encouraging and insightful things, aiding me to “think upon good things” as I go about my day!

  2. Hello Rachel, I have not met you but I am enjoying getting to know you through your blog. What a wonderful lady! I have heard about you and your family from my sister Katrina McCarty. Enjoying your writings and love the pictures. My pastor is Brother Alfred Daves. Looking forward to more posts. You are such a beautiful person. Take care and God’s continued blessings!

    • Hello Estia! How nice to “meet” you. Your sister, Katrina, is so sweet and has a lovely family. Hope to meet you in person sometime! (Maybe the blogging will become a little more frequent:-) Thank you again for visiting. God Bless!

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