Before the plague invaded Alisubbo, there lived five peasant children who took care of their invalid mother. Two girls and three boys. The girls milked goats and fed lambs for coin, and the boys were street cleaners. The children were so poor they could not afford shoes so they walked the cobblestones streets of the city barefoot. The boys made brooms with straw gleaned from the farmer’s field and worked all day from the time the rooster crowed in the morning to the hour the sun fell into the ocean and the world turned gold.
The people of the city took pity on them and whenever a man in a suit walked by, he would give the children money, or the women would give them fresh baked bread. The children never complained and the only time they stopped their work was when, at noon, they visited the chapel to thank their Creator for giving them each other, their mother, and a wonderful village to grow up in.
The youngest of the five was a little girl named Maria who had difficulty working her fingers to milk the goats, and who never seemed to be able to get the lambs to drink from a bottle. She often lagged behind to look at the clouds as she loved to daydream. One day she pointed at the sky and cried out to her sister. “There. There she is! I knew I would see her!”
When her brothers and sisters looked up, they saw nothing. But from that day forward, Maria spoke often of the angel that she saw. She said her name was Jovita and she had hair as golden as the sun, which was unusual because everyone in the village had black hair.
One day Jovita came to the little girl’s bedside and spoke to her. She said, “My dear Maria there’s news that I find hard to tell you, but a darkness will come to your village. Many people will be sick but you and your household will stay strong. Stay faithful because you will help a king return to his home.”
Maria was instantly afraid, but Jovita took her hand and told her not to worry because she would stay with Alisubbo and never leave. She would watch over the city as a guardian angel and no matter what men do, she will make certain there would be an open door for the good people to walk through. That as hard as it rains, a beautiful rainbow would shine with the sun.
After that Maria’s fingers were nimble and the goat’s milk came out freely. The lambs drank from the bottles and they followed Maria around wherever she went. The joy of having Jovita with her quickened Maria’s feet and she was able to keep up with her sisters and brothers. Maria was always the first one to see the rainbow after a storm.
As Maria grew up, the words of Jovita came to pass. Many people of the village became ill and the king and queen made arrangements to build a hospital. Even though she saw death all around her, no one in Maria’s family came down with the sickness. Instead, her children were able to help the old and the blind through the worse of times and eventually their faithfulness helped the king’s son find his way home and rule with a gentle hand.