On the children’s album The Dragonfly Races by folk singer Ellis Paul is a song titled “Abiola.” In the song, the king has offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to the person who can kill the fearsome beast that is said to be killing farmers’ cattle and laying waste to farmers’ fields. The heroine of the story, Abiola, a shepherd’s daughter, hasn’t heard this news and goes out into the fields. There she comes across the monster—who is crying. He tells her he never did the awful things he’s blamed for doing, “but no one dares to not believe.” The king wants the land for his own purposes, and if the farmers are too afraid to use their land the king can have it for himself.
Abiola will not stand for this. “We are going into town,” she tells the monster, “and then we’ll cry from the rooftops high and we’ll spread the truth around.” The children believe Abiola, but it takes the adults much longer to get over their fear. But soon all in the land come to see the truth. They storm the castle and drive the king out. For her “bravery, truth and kindness” they give Abiola the crown.
This, for obvious reasons, is one of my favorite songs on this album I listen to with my 3-year-old son. This song pops into my head often while working on this magazine. We United Methodist Women members too are in the business of listening, of questioning, of crying from the rooftops high, of spreading the truth around. This issue of response, like all issues, shows United Methodist Women members working to reveal the truth that the “other” is not a monster. Let’s keep working to get Abiola the crown.