As you know, many people became hungry or sick during the Time of Troubles, while our people were learning to live without the Inworlds. Disease came to Alison's town, and none of her remedies could cure it. Villager after villager came to her clinic and Alison couldn't cure them. She had to find help somewhere else.
She packed her satchel, laced her boots, and set out across town to the Mayor's house. When she came to the Mayor's house, she knocked on his door and said to him "My village is dying, my people are sick. Can you help me?"
And the Mayor said "No Alison, I'm sorry but I cannot help you. Go see the District Supervisor -- maybe she can help you."
Alison put her dinner in her satchel and set out across the swamp to the District Supervisor's house. When she came to the District Supervisor's house, she knocked on her door and said to her "My village is dying, my people are sick. Can you help me?"
And the District Supervisor said "No Alison, I'm sorry but I cannot help you. Go see the Planetary Health Commission -- maybe they can help you."
So Alison put on her very best red shirt and blue jumper, wrote a letter to her family, reserved a seat on the next hovercraft to the Capitol, and requested an audience with the Planetary Health Commission. She stood on the floor in front of the Planetary Health Commission in her very best red shirt and blue jumper and said "My village is dying, my people are sick. Can you help me?"
And the Planetary Health Commission said "Alison we will form a committee to study your problem." Alison was happy that she had finally found help.
Every day for a week, Alison put on her very best red shirt and blue jumper and asked the committee "My village is dying, my people are sick. Can you help me?" And every day for a week, the committee talked about Alison's problem.
On the last day of the week, the committee said to Alison "We have no transport for the remedies you need and there are not enough trained personnel. Go see the Planetary Governor -- if he cannot help you then nobody can."
So Alison washed and pressed her very best red shirt and blue jumper, which had a few wrinkles by now, and went to visit the Planetary Governor. When she got to his office she said "My village is dying, my people are sick. Can you help me?"
And the Planetary Governor said "I'm sorry Alison, but we do not have the resources to help you right now."
And Alison said "I'll wait." And she sat down in front of the Planetary Governor's office in her very best red shirt and blue jumper, with her satchel by her side, and she waited.
On the first day, Alison waited all alone. On the second day, a friend who had gone to the same healer school as Alison walked by, and asked Alison why she was sitting in front of the Planetary Governor's office. Alison told her "My village is dying, my people are sick. I am waiting for the Planetary Governor to help me."
And Alison's friend said "I will be back soon, and then I will wait with you." For all of the second day, Alison and her friend waited together in front of the Planetary Governor's office.
On the morning of the third day, two more women came. They sat down in front of the Planetary Governor's office with Alison and Alison's friend from healer school and they said to Alison "We are here to wait for the Planetary Governor to help your village."
On the fourth day, four more women came to wait with Alison and her friend and the two other women, and on the fifth day there were sixteen women waiting on the steps of the Planetary Governor's office. And the Planetary Governor said "I would like to help you but there are not enough resources."
And Alison said "Give me the resources you have, or each day when you wake up there will be twice as many women here as there were when you went to sleep."
The Planetary Governor was not a bad man and he did not want to have thirty two women sitting in front of his office waiting for his help, so he gave Alison the remedies she needed. Then Alison put away her very best red shirt and blue jumper, packed her satchel, and reserved a seat on the next hovercraft to her District.
When Alison got back to her village she was very very tired and she missed her family very much, but she went straight to the clinic. She worked very hard for a week, and at the end of the week one of the sick people got better and was able to go home.
After another week, two more sick people went home, then four more the next week, then eight more the week after that. Finally there were no more sick people in the village and everyone was very grateful to Alison for helping them get better.
Alison wrote thank you letters to all the women who waited with her outside of the Planetary Governor's mansion, and they wrote letters back and to each other, and they became good friends. Later in their lives those very same women started the School of Wisewomen, but that is another story.
So although there weren't yet any Grandmothers nor any Wisewomen when Alison asked the Planetary Governor for help, we still call Alison Persuader the First Grandmother. And because Alison wore her red shirt and blue jumper when she waited on the steps of the Planetary Governor's office, now all Wisewomen wear red shirts and blue jumpers. Someday my daughter, if you study your lessons and learn your herbs, you might grow up to be a Wisewoman and wear a red shirt and blue jumper of your own.