A Mother's blessing and other stories

Material Information

A Mother's blessing and other stories
Series Title:
Stories with a purpose
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
New York
Thomas Nelson and Sons
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
64 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1882 ( lcsh )
Baldwin -- 1882
Children's stories ( lcsh )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


Content Advice:
A mother's blessing -- Fred and Katie Lane -- Black Lake.
General Note:
Frontispiece printed in colors.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026884525 ( ALEPH )
ALH5098 ( NOTIS )
62393676 ( OCLC )


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PRED AND KATIE LANE, ... .. ... 23

BLACK LAKE, ... ..... .. 51


HE important day had arrived on
which Ernest C- for the first
time, was to leave his father's
house. Hitherto the thought of separation
had not been painful; for what young spirit
does not hail the prospect of change and
novelty ? But when this morning, the day
of his journey, he opened his eyes, the sud-
den remembrance, To-day I must depart!
stood like an armed man before him, and
seemed so terrifying, that he could have
wished the whole were but a dream. Yet
.it was no dream, but a sure and bitter
truth. Till now, Ernest had been well


instructed under the care of a father and
tutor; but the time had come when he must
go to the college of a large city to pursue
his studies, if he desired to make any figure
in future life.
It was early in the morning when he
awoke, and all within doors silent. He
dressed quickly, and went out into the gar-
den. All was lovely without, full of fresh-
ness and fragrance,-the white lilies glitter-
ing, the roses blushing, under the morning
dew; the silence so solemn, that he could
only tread softly, as he moved towards the
birch copse, where, under an overhanging
rock, was his usual place of morning prayer.
Just then he heard the voice of his
mother calling him. He started, and hurried
back to the house, where a servant told
him that his mother desired he should go
to her in her chamber
With deep emotion she came towards
him as he entered. She was quite dressed,


and appeared to have been long up. She
drew Ernest along with her into a recess of
the window, and said: "My son, you must
now leave your father's house, and the
thought that I shall no longer be able each
day to pray with you lies heavy on my
heart. You know that the heart of man is
evil from his youth, and that we live in a
world of temptations, which we need a
strong arm to help us safely through. That
arm is the grace of our Saviour. To his
grace I commend you, that it may preserve
you to everlasting life. You can repel and
resist it, or draw it down by earnest prayer.
My son, alike in joy and in sorrow look up
by prayer to the Lord! Do not be content
with morning and evening devotions, but
apply to the Saviour in every duty, in
every difficulty, and he will be to you in
the place of father, mother, teacher-he
will be to you all in all."
Ernest was deeply moved. He gave no


promise in words, but gazed on his mother
with a look which her heart well under-
stood. "Come, my son," she said, let us
once more together implore for you the
mercy and help of our Lord." She knelt
down, and Ernest by her side. The mother
prayed with warmth and fervour, then
blessed her son and embraced him. He
was not ashamed of the tears which he
could not restrain; he felt as if standing
on holy ground, and never before had he so
strongly felt that parents stand in the place
of God.
"Dear Ernest," said his mother, as they
rose from their knees, I must give you a
remembrance of this sacred hour-it be-
longed to the early days of your father."
She took two silver buckles out of her
writing-desk, and gave them to Ernest. It
was the custom then for both men and boys
to wear buckles on their shoes. Take and
wear these," she said; "and when you look


at them remember your mother's parting
words,-In joy and in sorrow look up by
prayer to the Lord."
Ernest took the parting gift; he looked
at his mother-she was very pale.
"Never in my whole life," he thought,
" will I grieve her again."
The last hour quickly passed; he received
the last kiss of his parents, embraced his
sisters, then the carriage rolled away and
bore him towards his new home.
This was in the house of a professor,-
an earnest, upright man, who most con-
scientiously devoted himself to the care of
the youths committed to his charge, of
whom there were always a number under
his roof.
Ernest's good abilities and previous in-
struction raised him at once to a higher
class than his age would have entitled him
to enter. This brought with it many cares.
The boy had need of all his own efforts,


and especially of his mother's parting coun-
sel. The work set before him was not easy,
but yet not beyond his power. From his
earliest years he disliked doing anything
by halves; whatever he did must be well
done. Before each task he prayed to the
Lord, who once gave to Daniel and his
friends knowledge and skill in all learn-
ing and wisdom," and his prayer was
Ernest was soon the best scholar, and at
the same time, from his pleasing disposition
and manner, the favourite of all around
him. Alas! to be a favourite is what few
can stand. When he came to feel secure
in his position, when every task seemed to
become easy, he no longer sought of God
help in each undertaking, for victory ap-
peared sure beforehand. He prayed, in-
deed, regularly in the morning and evening,
but not now from a deep feeling of neces-
sity-rather a sense of duty; and the


echoes of his mother's parting words fell
more and more faintly on memory's ear.
One day he and two other boys had
accomplished a difficult task so well, that
they were as a reward to take a walk
wherever they pleased from four to seven
o'clock. To the Castle Rock!" they ex-
claimed with delight, and hastened along
the way leading to the cliffs, following the
course of a noisy stream, whose wooded
banks were overgrown with wild plants
and flowers. It was a beautiful path, under
old noble fir-trees, leading to a magnificent
prospect from the heights above. There
the youths stood on the highest mass of
rock, and gazed below, each in the direction
of his father's house,-the thoughts of each
different and yet the same, Oh, how beau-
tiful it is at home !"
And their Father in heaven looked down
upon them with his blessing, desiring by
this earthly home-sickness to make them


understand the longings of his children for
their heavenly home.
And as they looked around on the beau-
tiful landscape-the plains, the rivers, the
mountain chains beyond-and each heart
wandered to where its own treasure lay,
hark! the evening bell sounded from the
vale below, and soft and peaceful as were
the tones, the boys heard them with terror.
They looked at one another for a moment
as if confounded-" they had never dreamed
of its being so late"-and without another
word hurried down the mountain; for punc-
tuality as to hours was one of the profes-
sor's strictest rules, any infringement of
which was severely punished.
Never had they so rapidly descended
from the Castle Rock. But now-to the
right or the left ? They had still a quarter
of an hour-no more, and the right way,
by the highroad, was long and dusty; the
left one, through a meadow of long grass,


decidedly nearer, but a forbidden path.
They stood at the crossing and looked at
one another-right or left ? Their hearts
beat quickly; the voice of God spoke loudly
and distinctly within, "To the right!"
Ernest, who from childhood had been accus-
tomed to the strictest obedience, made a
step forward on the road, and said, "To the
right !"
"We shall be too late-it must not be!"
exclaimed the others. "Once is nothing !"
Ernest reluctantly turned; his conscience
remonstrated, but the dread of punishment
prevailed. The boys hurriedly ran through
the meadow.
Whoso offendeth in one point is guilty
of all,"--so had Ernest's mother often taught
him: these words returned to his mind
now, and made each step difficult and pain-
ful. Gladly would he have retraced his
path, but time, time-it was so late More
than once, when the boys imagined that


they heard the step of a ground officer, they
crouched down in the long grass, and waited
in fear and anguish till all was still again.
At length they were nearly at the end of
the field, and trod more lightly. Seven
could not have struck, or they would have
heard it; a few steps more, and they would
be at home.
Suddenly Ernest stood still, as if fixed to
the spot, and looked at his shoes. "What
is it, Ernest ? what is the matter ? Come
on!" called the others to him, but he went
back instead of forwards.
"One of my buckles is gone," he said,
with a look of distress; "come and help
me to find it."
The boys turned back and followed their
companion into the field; with anguish of
heart they retraced the forbidden road. Oh,
must they bear their terror a second time ?
They sought and sought in vain-the hour
of seven sounded. Each stroke of the clock


was like the blow of a strong hand on their
"We must go home, Ernest-come; early
to-morrow we will come here again and
search with you."
But Ernest would not turn back; while
he had strength to move and eyes to look
with, he must search on. It was the silent
messenger from his home, that had ever
spoken so much to his heart; could he leave
this treasure behind ? That were a sin
against his mother-any punishment rather
than this.
"I cannot turn-leave me; I shall look
as long as I can see." So saying he went
on further, and the others left him with
sorrow and reluctance.
Ernest was now alone. A cool dew lay
on the long grass; it was already twilight
-all was still, nothing heard but the croak-
ing of frogs in the marsh. There are
moments in life when the Lord, for our
A 2


chastisement, allows our hearts altogether
to fail; and such was now Ernest's case.
An inexpressible anguish fell on the boy's
spirit; it seemed as if he were forsaken and
alone in the wide world.
He wandered restlessly on, looking under
every flower, alas! in vain-nothing, noth-
ing of his buckle His distress seemed
to increase. "Oh, if my beloved mother
were here," he thought, "she would help
me to look for it." And with the thought
of his mother such home-sickness came over
him he burst into tears-yes, the brave
Ernest, whom hardly any one had known
to weep, sunk on the grass and wept bitterly,
feeling as if he were the greatest sinner
and the most friendless being on the earth.
Then the words seemed as if spoken to
his soul, "In joy and in sorrow look up by
prayer to the Lord." His mother's parting
words of late he had seldom remembered,
and yet seldomer obeyed them. But now


he knelt down, and looking up to heaven,
prayed out of the depths" for pardon, for
an obedient heart, for the restoration of his
lost treasure. And after that prayer he
felt that his heart was lightened, his mother
seemed brought nearer to him, and he felt
nearer to his Saviour.
How my burden has been taken away!"
he thought, and as he rose up his eye fell
upon something shining. It was no dew-
drop, no pebble, no flower-it was his own
silver buckle. Then joy and gratitude filled
the boy's soul; he seized his jewel, he sunk
down again to give thanks; he had not
found that alone, but his mother's heart-
yes, he had found his Saviour anew, and
he went on his way rejoicing. Now the
moment had come when the blessing which
the mother had laid upon him at parting
started into real life.
As he drew near the house he perceived
with joy that in the school-room, where


lessons began punctually at seven, there
was still no light, though the hour had long
since struck. He entered softly, and heard
that a visitor having come, the class was
deferred till half-past seven. Taking his
right place among the other scholars, his
being too late was taken no notice of.
Should he keep silence? Was it per-
haps the kindness of his God and Saviour
which had thus providentially concealed his
fault and averted the punishment ? Was it
an answer to prayer that the professor had
no suspicions ? Should Ernest say nothing?
No, no, no! "It must be told," sounded
in his heart; and rising up before the lesson
began, he confessed, not without deep blushes,
but frankly and firmly, his having been too
late, and his walk through the forbidden
meadow, the loss and the finding again of
his buckle; and ended with the words, "I
ask your forgiveness-I have deserved


His two companions had stood up unob-
served by him, and began, as with one
voice: "Mr. Professor, the punishment be-
longs to us, not to Ernest; he wanted to go
by the road, but we insisted on the path
through the meadow."
The professor looked lovingly on the
three, who stood awaiting their sentence.
" Boys," he said, "you have done wrong,
for obedience is the first and last duty of
a Christian, but I see how you have been
grieved for it. God has forgiven you, my
young friends, and so I also forgive."
Then he took each so warmly by the
hand, that each one felt as if his own father
stood before him, and gave him the token
of forgiveness and of blessing. As soon as
the class was over, the three boys were seen
going to the house of the city magistrate.
They paid the allotted fine, for their tres-
pass on the forbidden ground, from their
own pocket-money.


That day was soon ended; but the bless-
ing lasted through a long life. Ernest
joined himself to the band of many thou-
sand faithful servants of the Lord Jesus
Christ, whose unspeakable happiness it is,
in joy and in sorrow, to be able to look up
to him who has said, Come unto me, all
ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest "-" Ask, and it shall be
given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock,
and it shall be opened unto you."




" HAT are you doing, Fred ?" cried
a cheery voice, one pleasant
Saturday afternoon, and down
the neat gravel walk tripped a sunny-faced
little girl of about seven years. Brother
Fred lay under the great elm-tree at the
foot of the garden, with a little book open
before him, and a very puzzled look on his
usually happy face.
"Don't trouble me, Katie," said he rather
shortly. "I've such a long lesson to learn
for to-morrow."


0 Fred," said she coaxingly, let's learn
it together."
Why, you little simpleton!" cried Fred,
laughing with such a funny face, that Katie,
although somewhat grieved, was obliged to
laugh too. For when Fred had a merry
thought, it was not content with stretching
his rather large mouth, but it ran all over
his face, twinkled in his eyes, and finally
played hide-and-seek in two or three curious
little holes which mamma called dimples,
but where Katie contended the good angels
had touched him when he was a baby.
Now, Fred," said she rather reproach-
fully, when he was done laughing "all
over,"-"now, Fred, what did I do?"
"Why, pet," said Fred, "you haven't
known how to read long, and have to spell
all the hard words now; you wouldn't be any
help at all."
"But perhaps," persisted Katie, if you'd
read the lesson, I could explain some of it,


for mother and I have such long talks to-
gether while you are away at school."
Fred laughed again, and said:-
Just to think of your explaining any-
thing to me, when I am four years older,
and a boy besides."
Katie turned away with eyes like violets
after a shower.
Well, well; come back, little sister," cried
Fred, half sorry that he had grieved her.
" Come back, I should like to ask your
opinion on something."
Katie paused, with a doubtful face.
"What does this mean," said he: "'Buy
the truth, and sell it not'?"
"Why," said Katie, twisting her small
fingers nervously, "what do you think,
brother Fred ?"
"I don think," said Fred, that's just the
trouble. I suppose I know what truth is,
but I didn't know anybody kept it to sell,
and I don't know how much I'd have to pay


for it. If I could find it I'd buy a great
deal, and wouldn't sell it very soon either;
for Mr. West told me last Sunday that a boy
couldn't have too much of it," and Fred
smiled, forgetting his own perplexity in
watching his little sister's anxious face.
"Fred," said Katie at length, "I believe
you are half making fun of me. Nobody
keeps truth to sell, just as Mrs. Mills does
oranges and candy, but I think it is some-
thing God keeps, and when we ask him for
it we don't pay for it with money; but-
but-but," continued Katie, "we will go
and ask mother."
Mrs. Lane was just starting on a walk
to visit some poor neighbours who lived
more than a mile away, but when she heard
the eager questions of her children, she per-
mitted them to accompany her across the
fields, that they might talk the whole matter
over together.
Katie is right," said mamma, after listen-


ing to the little girl's statement of the case.
"We must go to God for truth."
"Do you mean," asked Fred, "that we
must ask God to help us to speak the
truth ?"
"Yes, that is part of it; but there is a
wider meaning," said his mother. "When
we ask God for truth-when we pray, Lead
us in thy truth,' we pray that God would
make us Christians, would make us Christ-
like, pure and holy like himself, for he is
the Truth."
"Then, mother, if he gives us all this
when we ask him, how can we pay him ?"
My dear Fred, you could never pay him
for all he has done for you. The greatest
angel in heaven could not pay God, but he
offers the greatest blessings 'without money
and without price.'"
"How can we buy truth, then?" said
Fred with a puzzled air.
Ah! said his mother, I see your trouble


now. The meaning of that little verse is
only that we must be willing to give up
everything for the truth-everything, how-
ever dear to us, that stands between us
and it."
"What must we give him ?" asked Katie
earnestly. What could I give him ?"
A great deal," said her mother. "You
can say, 'Here, Father, take my hands.
They are small now, but they are ready for
any work thou hast for them to do. I give
thee my feet; they shall never grow tired
in thy service. I give thee my tongue; oh,
let it never say anything to displease thee.
"Open thou my lips, and my mouth shall
shew forth thy praise." And, above all, I
give thee my heart. Fill it with thyself,
fill it with thy truth.'"
Why, mother, you will give me most all
away," cried Katie.
That's a great deal to give," said Fred.
"No, very little," replied Mrs. Lane.


" Hundreds of people have given up friends,
money, their native land, and even their
lives. They thought nothing too precious
to be given for the truth."
"Tell us about those people," said Fred.
"But a short time ago," continued his
mother, "in some countries Christians were
so cruelly persecuted that they were not
sure of their lives from one day to another.
They could not stay in their pleasant homes
as we do, but were forced to wander among
the mountains, and live in dreary caves.
Many perished from hunger and cold; but
that was better than dying by the hands of
their cruel enemies. Sometimes on the holy
Sabbath day they would meet very secretly
in the depth of some forest, and try to have
a little service together. But often, while
they were in the midst of singing and pray-
ing, an alarm would be given that the
soldiers were coming, and the little band
would hastily break up and run to hide


themselves. And often the attack was so
sudden, that many of the weak, frightened
people could not run fast enough, and the
rough soldiers would come thundering along
on their strong horses, and catching the poor
hunted creatures, they would carry them
back into the city."
"What happened to them then?" said
Fred, with reddening cheeks.
Oh, they were taken before a cruel com-
pany of men, and asked if they would give
up their religion-that is, if they would
sell the truth. Then, if they nobly and
bravely refused, they were taken into a room
of torture, and made to suffer most terrible
What was done to them ?" asked Fred.
"Sometimes their thumbs were put into
a screw that pinched them tighter and
tighter, till they were completely crushed.
Sometimes their bare feet were roasted upon
a fire; and a great many other cruel things


were done, which I will not tell you now,"
said Mrs. Lane, as she saw Katie quietly
crying to herself.
Well, didn't any of them ever give up?"
asked Fred.
"Yes," said his mother; "sometimes the
agony was too great, especially for the very
young and tender ones. But they were very
few in number compared with those who
were 'faithful unto death.' Some children,
not a great deal older than you, boldly con-
fessed that they had 'bought the truth,' and
no torture could make them sell it. One
little word could have saved them from being
burned alive, but they would not say it.
So their poor bodies were surrounded with
wood-the cruel flames rose around them,
and the little martyrs were wrapped in
"0 mother, didn't they cry out then?"
said little Katie, vividly remembering the
pain of a recently burned finger.


Why, I have heard," replied her mother,
"that many of them were so happy that they
did not seem to feel the pain of the body,
but sang the most triumphant songs, as if
the wreaths of fire were only crowns of
glory. They sang, 'Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.'
And though it was a fearful path, they knew
it led to heaven. It. was only a little while
to suffer, and their enemies could not hurt
their souls. Oh, what a glorious moment it
must have been, when the soul at last strug-
gled from the poor, blackened body, and
soaring above all the taunts and torments
of its persecutors, exchanged the sufferings
of earth for the sweet peace of heaven. One
moment writhing in the cruel fire; the next,
reposing in the green pastures and beside
the still waters of God's love. Ah, how
happy they must have been when they stood


before the great God, saying, 1 have kept
thy truth !'"
They now reached the home of poor sick
Mrs. Brown, and Fred and Katie waited at
the door until their mother came out again.
When they were once more on the way
home, Fred said,-
"Mother, I mean to buy the truth."
I am very glad," she replied; "and are
you willing to give up everything-your
whole heart and life-to God ?"
"People are not burned now, are they ?"
"No; but still it is not an easy thing to
keep the truth. There are so many little
temptations every day and every hour, that
you will need as much firmness and courage
as to bear one great trial. It will be a con-
stant struggle."
"Well, I think I can do it," said Fred,
with a great deal of self-confidence. "If I
had been one of those children, I should
never have given up, I know."
A 3


His mother looked a little sad, and said,
"'Let him that thinketh he standeth, take
heed lest he fall.' I remember when my
little son's fingers were accidentally pinched
in the door, there was a great outcry. If
he could not bear pain more patiently than
that, I'm afraid he would make rather a
poor martyr."
Fred blushed, and said more humbly,
"I'm afraid I couldn't be a martyr after all.
If my thumb were pinched much harder,
I'm afraid I should say anything just to get
it out."
Fred felt softened as he reached home in
the quiet summer twilight, and taking Katie
aside, he proposed that they should both go
to God that night, and giving themselves to
him, should ask him for his truth.
But what if I should sell it ?" said timid
"Oh, we must ask God to help us, as
mother said, and then, Katie, 'll keep an


eye on you," said Fred, with that dangerous
self-confidence creeping back into his heart.
"Well," said humble little Katie, "then
I'll try."
God will help both of these little children
when they ask him, but I think Fred, parti-
cularly, will have great need to watch and


" 4 REDERICK," said Mr. Lane to his
son one day, as they rose from
the dinner table, "I wish you
to take this basket immediately to old Mrs.
Brown. The poor old woman has been
much worse, and I fear she often lacks good
and nourishing food. Your mother has
packed some fruit and several dainties,
which I think will please her, and at the
bottom is a little money which Katie has
put in in some curious way. You must tell
her little granddaughter to buy whatever
she needs most."
"0 Fred," cried Katie, with a radiant
face, "you would never guess where the


money is. It was all in silver, and mother
let me put it in two little cakes, and I want
you to tell Mrs. Brown that the cakes are a
little heavy, but I'm sure they'll agree with
her," and Katie laughed. Now be sure
and tell us just what she says, Fred, and
come back soon. I'll wait for you under
the old elm-tree. Hurry, Fred, won't
you ?"
Yes, robin," said Fred, kissing his sweet-
voiced sister, I'll tell you all about it;" and
waving his hat to father and mother, he
sprang down the walk, cleared the low fence
with a flying leap, and was out of sight
before Katie's admiring "Oh!" had fairly
escaped her lips.
At first he made rapid progress, but soon
the heat of the mid-day sun caused him to
slacken his pace. Presently the basket
seemed to grow heavy. "Oh," thought
Fred, as he lifted it from one side to the
other, "how very warm and tired I am I


don't believe Grannie Brown will suffer if I
rest a few minutes," and down he sat upon
the green bank.
Presently there was a sound of busy,
tramping feet, and merry voices, and round
the corner of the lane came a dozen or more
boys. Oh, there's Fred Lane," cried one,
"the very boy we want.-Come, Fred, you
must go with us."
"Where ?" said Fred.
Oh, we are going on the water. We
have two boats, and we're going to have a
naval battle," said Jim Price, the leader of
the company. "Those boys there with red
tape on their arms are the British, and we
with the peacock feathers are the Americans.
We've all got our pop-guns, and one or two
bows and arrows, and two whole bunches of
fire-crackers for cannon. Whenever a boy
is hit three times, he's out of the play; and
whichever boat-load loses the most men,
that company will have to buy cakes and


candy at Mrs. Mill's, to treat the whole party.
Then we're all going to Picnic Island to
have a celebration."
Fred's eyes shone with delight.
"Come, will you go ?" said Jim.
The question recalled Fred to his senses.
A shade of vexation crossed his face. Oh
no, I can't. I must carry this basket to old
Mrs. Brown."
"" You can do that afterwards. When we
come home will be time enough," said Jim.
"But what will I do with the basket ?"
Oh, we'll just set it in the end of the
boat. It will be safe enough there."
"But you will be gone so long."
"No, we won't; and besides, if you are
in such a hurry, you can go after the battle,
and not stay to the picnic."
Fred still hesitated. But mother always
wishes me to ask her permission when I go
on the water."
0 you girl baby!" sneered Jim. "You


will be gone such a little while you need
not tell your mother anything about it."
This advice to deceive his mother ought
to have shown Fred that these were not
good boys, and he should have resolutely
gone on his way. But although he knew
very well that his mother would disapprove
of his going anywhere with Jim Price, still
the pleasure of the sail, and the delightful
novelty of the mimic battle, proved too
great temptations for poor, weak Fred, and
after a few moments of perplexity, he said
"I believe I will go for a little while."
Then the boys gave three cheers, and
appointed him first mate on the ship North
Star. So the boys went on in high spirits,
and rowing out into the middle of the river,
the battle was prosecuted with much vigour.
Soon, however, they became more excited,
and the little North Star pitched and rolled
dangerously, and once was so near capsizing


that Fred thought he was gone, and clung
desperately to the seat. The little boat
righted itself again, but as Fred, with a
pale face, entreated to be again set on shore,
he noticed, with great consternation, that
his basket was gone. A search through the
boat was of no avail. It must have gone
over in that last squall," laughed Jim; but
it was no joke to Fred. All the extent of
his disobedience and misfortune suddenly
burst upon him, and he thought himself the
most miserable boy in the world.
Io look at the baby," cried Jim, direct-
ing the boys' attention to Fred's unhappy
countenance. I believe it's going to cry.
Let's put it on shore, so it can run to its
mamma;" and Jim began to row hastily in.
Fred was very indignant, but he knew
he deserved it all, and his heart was too
full to speak.
Now, don't go home with that face,"
said Jim, as he left him. "Just tell your


mother that you took the things, and the
old woman was very thankful, and all that,
and I don't believe it will ever come out."
Fred walked slowly and sadly home.
How could he tell his mother and dear little
Katie how wicked he had been ? He had
never told a lie before; but would it be so
very bad just this once? He would tell
the truth some time, perhaps in the morn-
ing, but he couldn't now. Poor Katie
would be so disappointed, and his mother so
sad. It would be so easy just to say what
Jim Price told him. Why, the other boys
wouldn't think anything of telling just one
story; and this should be the first and last
time. While he was yet undecided, he
came in sight of home, and laughing little
Katie bounded to meet him. 0
Oh, you have been gone so long. What
did she say ? Tell me everything. Was
she very glad ?"
Fred turned away his head, and with


burning cheeks replied, "Oh yes, she was
very glad. She thanked us all a thousand
Did she try the cakes ?"
"Yes," said Fred desperately; "and she
said it was the best fruit cake she ever
Again came Katie's ringing laugh. Well,
how is she, Fred ?"
"Better, this afternoon."
"Ah, that's good. But how very warm
and tired you are! Are you sick ?" said
Katie, anxiously, kissing the rough, brown
hand she held in her own.
"No," almost groaned Fred, snatching
his hand away. "But I am tired. Leave
me a little while to rest under the tree."
Katie ran to tell her mother all the
"pleasant news, and miserable Fred, with
closed eyes, thought over the events of the
I have sold the truth," he groaned to


himself. I, who was going to watch over
dear, good Katie, I have told a lie !" He
shivered and opened his eyes. Everything
seemed changed. His old friends, the trees,
seemed to be shaking their heads at him,
as the wind sighed through the branches,
and the beautiful crimson sunset, at which
Katie had been gazing in admiration, only
looked red and angry to him. He had read
in a little German fairy story how the
flowers knew bad children, and faded and
shrank away when they tried to pick them;
so now he stretched forth his hand very
carefully to touch a little blue violet grow-
ing near. To his momentary relief, the
flower remained just the same.
The violets don't know," said Fred, with
a long breath. But oh, how wretched be
was! Perhaps poor Mrs. Brown would die
because she had no money to buy medicine.
What should he do ? Oh, if he were only
a bird singing so happily up in the trees!


Presently the children were called in to
tea, and as there were visitors present, Fred
avoided further questioning, and his un-
happy looks and loss of appetite escaped
the notice of his mother.
He went to bed early, hoping to sleep;
but never was he more mistaken. There
was no rest for that heavy heart. How
angrily the wind blew! Oh, what if old
Mrs. Brown should die, wouldn't he be hung
for a murderer ? Oh, what if God should
send his angel that night to take his life!
He remembered Ananias and Sapphira, and
shuddered. Suddenly there came a blinding
flash of light, and Fred almost shrieked with
terror as it was followed by a heavy peal
of thunder.
"The lightning knows it!" cried Fred
wildly; "the lightning knows it, and will
look through and through me." Then came
another flash; and hastily jumping out of
bed, Fred ran to hide himself in a dark


closet. But no sooner was he crouched upon
the floor than a little verse came into his
mind, as if somebody whispered it, "Thou
God seest me."
"It is of no use," sobbed Fred, coming
out again; "I can't hide."
"Fred," said a sweet voice, "are you
frightened ?" and a flash revealed the calm
face of little Katie peeping in at the door.
"Yes," sobbed Fred, "I am."
Why, you never used to be. Don't you
remember mother said God always takes
care of us. Shall I say some verses to
you ?"
Fred made no reply, and Katie began:
"Though I walk through the valley of-"
No, no, not that, Katie !" almost shrieked
Fred; "that is what the martyrs said, but
0 Katie, Katie, I have sold the truth !"
"What for ?" said Katie in blank sur-
0 Katie, I've sold it; and instead of


being any better off, I'm the most miserable
boy in the world. I've sold all my pleasant
and happy thoughts, and now I am only
wicked and frightened."
"That's a very bad bargain," said Katie,
in her wise simplicity.
"I should think it was," groaned Fred;
and then he could contain himself no longer,
but poured the whole story into Katie's
sympathizing ears. "Now I suppose you per-
fectly despise me," said Fred, as he heard her
low sobs. "You can never love me again."
Katie could not speak, but throwing her
arms around his neck, kissed him hastily,
and ran out of the room.
"Even Katie will not stay with me,"
thought Fred, despairingly, as he threw him-
self on the bed. "I wonder how it will
ever end. Will I ever be happy again ?"
"My son!" said a sad voice, and Fred
knew that Katie had sent his mother; but
he could not answer a word.


"Did my little Fred tell a lie ?"
Fred could restrain himself no longer.
"0 mother, will you hate me?" he cried.
" Can you never forgive me, nor trust me
again ?"
Then he rapidly poured forth a full history
of all his temptation and sin, and ended
with again imploring his mother's forgive-
"Remember, Fred," said she, "that you
have offended against your heavenly Father."
"Oh, I know it !" said Fred. Can he
ever forgive me ? Did he ever forgive any
one who sold the truth ?"
Yes," replied Mrs. Lane. Peter denied
him thrice, and yet he was forgiven, and
lived to be a noble servant of God. He
must have repented deeply; for don't you
remember that when Jesus looked on him
with such pity and sadness, Peter went out
and wept bitterly ?"
0 mother, I think he has looked on


me," wept poor unhappy Fred. I'm sure
I repent; but I don't see how I can be for-
given, I have been so wicked."
With many sweet Bible words she taught
and comforted her truly repentant boy,
until he became more composed, and was
able to seek peace and forgiveness where
only they can be found.
The next morning, although every one
knew of his disgrace, Fred was much hap-
pier than the evening before. His father
had intended to take him to the city that
day, on a long-promised excursion, but he
thought it only right to tell Fred he had
forfeited that pleasure. Fred accepted the
sentence without a murmur, although the
tears stood in Katie's eyes. And after
breakfast, when Katie and mamma started
with another basket for old Mrs. Brown,
Fred felt it keenly that he was not asked
to accompany them. He tried vainly to
study while they were gone, and at the first
A 4


flutter of Katie's blue ribbons he was at the
"How is she ?" he cried breathlessly.
"Better," said smiling Katie.
Fred turned away to hide his tears, as he
said to himself, "How good God is to me!"
Fred worked in the garden a couple of
hours every night after school, for several
weeks, till he had earned all the money he
had lost, and faithfully at the end of every
week he carried the little sum to old Mrs.
Brown, who, to his great joy, improved
Fred is so truthful now, that all the
family seem to have forgotten that he ever
told a lie; but he himself will remember
through life the night of misery, when he
reaped the bitter fruit of his bad bargain."


" 9 l FATHER !" cried little Will
Brown, suddenly resting from
his weary toil over the. rough
lava. "Do you see those great white clouds
rising from the ground ? I do believe we
are almost there."
"I think you are right," replied his
father; "and in another half-hour we shall
stand by the famous Geysers."
Will's eyes sparkled. "I have thought
about them so much," said he; "but I never
dreamed, when I was studying Iceland in
my old geography last winter, that I should
be here so soon. How very kind you are
to take me!"


Oh, you know I couldn't live without
you, Will," said Mr. Brown, looking down
with sad tenderness upon the fair-haired,
motherless boy. "You're a capital little
travelling companion."
"Yes, I'll say that for him," exclaimed
one of the guides; "I expected the children
would be a great trouble, but I haven't
heard a whimper. He's a brave traveller."
Will looked up with a proud smile, and
continued his conversation with his father.
"But I wouldn't live here for a kingdom,
father, though there are so many strange
things to see. It seems as if something
terrible was always going on under the
ground, and as if at any time all Iceland
might blow right up in the air like a great
rocket. I'm sure last night I heard a very
strange noise, and the ground shook as if
some one had told it a terrible secret, and
it was all in a tremble about it."
Mr. Brown smiled. Oh, I think Ice-


land is safe for to-day, Will. You know
the people say it is the very 'best land the
sun shines upon;' and don't you think God
is able to preserve it amidst every peril ?"
"Yes, father, I do believe God takes care
of this country; for," continued he, a look of
awe marking his expressive face, "I read in
my Bible this morning, 'He toucheth the
hills, and they smoke,' and I could not help
thinking that he must have touched Iceland
very often."
Before his father could reply, a strange,
but intelligent-looking boy, three or four
years older than Will, stood before them, as
suddenly as if he had risen out of the
ground. The guides spoke angrily to him,
but the boy walked fearlessly up to Mr.
Brown, the foremost of the party.
Mads Jagel," said he, pointing to him-
self, by way of introduction; and then, in
very broken English, he offered his services
in showing up the great steam-fountains.


Don't have anything to do with him,
sir," said the guides, impatiently. "He's a
bad, ill-tempered boy, and will make mis-
chief if he joins us." But Mads looked so
imploringly, that Will began to plead in his
favour, with such good success that at last
Mr. Brown said, Well, let the lad go with us.
He certainly needs help, poor fellow, and I
will gladly pay him whatever he earns."
With a grateful look at Mr. Brown, and
an equally vivid glance of triumph at the
discomfited guides, ragged little Mads jour-
neyed on by the side of Will.
Before long, the whole party stood in
wonder and awe before the mysterious Gey-
sers; and as the ground shook and moaned,
and suddenly sent forth a column of steam,
more than a hundred feet high, Will, trem-
bling, grasped his father's hand, and won-
dered if it was anything like the strange
pillar of cloud that used to go before the
children of Israel.


But Mads was particularly lively when
they came to the fountain called Stroke, or
the Churn. It was very quiet when they
first arrived, and did not seem disposed to
offer any salute. But Mads bustled about,
with a very knowing look, gathering quan-
tities of moss and stones, which he threw
into the tunnel. Immediately there was a
loud trembling, as if the old Churn were in
a great passion at the insult, and soon a
grand column rose in the air, throwing out
all the rubbish in high indignation.
Will could not help clapping his hands,
with a shrill hurrah !" although there was
something quite frightful in the demonstra-
tion, and Mads fairly rolled on the ground
in ecstasies of delight.
The next morning, as the travellers con-
tinued their journey, at Will's earnest re-
quest Mads and his dog Skal accompanied
them. The country was very desolate, with
here and there a tree no larger than a lilac-


bush, but Mads and Will enlivened the way
with a conversation helped out by a variety
of expressive gestures. Mads was full of
the wonders of Iceland, and he told Will
many queer stories, not altogether true, how
"under the terrible mountain of Hecla, the
evil spirits lived, and sometimes when they
quarrelled, great streams of fire rushed from
their mouths, and rolled over everything,
burning up houses and people, and some-
times drinking up a whole river."
Will's eyes grew large as he listened to
these wonderful stories, but soon he saw for
himself something stranger than he had ever
dreamed in his worst nightmares. They
were just upon the edge of a precipice, and
looking over, they saw at its base five or
six great caldrons of some thick black fluid,
boiling and steaming away with a terrible
"What is it ?" cried Will, clasping his
father's hand, and turning quite pale.


"It is boiling mud, sir," said one of the
guides; "and if any one falls in there, he
will never come out again."
Just then, Skal, who had been gambolling
about Will's feet, stepped upon a loose stone,
which rolled, and before any one could help
him, the poor dog had tumbled over the
precipice with a fearful howl of terror.
Down, down he fell into one of the horrible
pits; and as Will bent over, he could just
see the hot, black paste closing over his
bushy tail. With a cry of horror, he buried
his face in his hands; but a sharp clutch
upon his arm made him look up to see Mads,
with two eyes burning like fire in the midst
of his white face.
You did it," gasped he, looking fiercely
at Will. "You kill my Skal!"
"No, indeed," cried Will; "he put his
foot on a stone-so, and rolled over."
"You kick him," said Mads, slowly. "You
wish see him die in mud. I forget-never!"


With streaming eyes, and looks of the
most profound sympathy, poor Will ex-
plained the occurrence again and again, but
Mads still walked in sullen silence.
Towards night, however, Mads grew more
cheerful, and as the travellers halted earlier
than usual, he proposed to Will that they
should take a short walk before dark, as he
had something very curious to show him.
Will felt some reluctance, but not liking to
refuse Mads when he was just returning to
good-humour, he at length set out with him,
promising his father soon to return.
On they went over the desolate country,
Mads entertaining Will with wild old
legends about the curious island, till, before
he was aware, he was all alone with Mads
in the wildest, strangest place he ever
"Where are we ?" he asked in sudden
alarm. "Let us go home, Mads; I don't
care to see anything curious to-night."


"Almost there," said Mads. Hark it
calls you."
"What?" asked Will, with a failing
heart, as he heard a dull, steady roar. Is
it a bear ?"
Oh no!" said Mads, with an unplea-
sant laugh. "Here we are," and dragging
him forward, he saw lying, ten or fifteen
feet beneath him, another of those terrible
pits of mud. He shrank back with a cry
of terror, while Mads clutched his arm and
dragged him again to the edge.
"See big pond-Black Lake-no bot-
tom;" and Will saw that it was very
large, and boiling furiously, while in the
centre rose a black column several feet in
"I don't like Black Lake at all, Mads.
Do let's go home."
"You never go home," said Mads, with
burning eyes.
"What do you mean?" asked Will faintly.


I love Skal very much. You kill him
-I kill you," responded Mads savagely.
Oh, you cannot mean it! You are in
fun, dear, dear Mads. You know I didn't kill
poor Skal. It is a joke; isn't it, Mads ?"
Mads grimly shook his head.
Poor Will looked over the dreary country,
half visible in the twilight. Over all the
barren rocks and fields of lava there was
no human being in sight, and he was alone
on the brink of this horrible lake, with
Mads's strong clutch on his arm. It must
be a dream; why couldn't he wake ? And
he rubbed his eyes and looked around
piteously; but, alas! it was no dream, and
Mads was still watching him with those
fiery eyes.
"Mads," cried Will, with a sudden hope,
"I will buy five, six, twelve dogs, beautiful
dogs, with long ears as soft as silk !"
"There is no more Skal," said Mads


Will took out his little purse and offered
the contents. Mads threw it contemptu-
ously into the bubbling lake.
"Then I must surely die?" Mads
0 Mads! how can you be so wicked ?
You cannot, cannot mean it;" but Mads
rose as if to throw him in.
An agonizing scream burst from Will's
lips, while Mads laughed contemptuously.
"Oh, if I must die," cried poor Will, "kill
me with your knife, Mads, dear Mads, but
do not throw me into that horrible hot mud!"
But Mads replied, "No; Skal die in mud,
-you die too."
"Wait a minute, then," said little Will, the
cold drops gathering on his forehead. "I
must pray first."
"Black spirit won't hear," said Mads.
"But God will."
"What God?" asked Mads quickly;
"are you Christian ?"


"I hope so," said Will humbly.
Pray then," said Mads more gently, for
he had heard something of religion from the
many travellers. "Christian's God is great
Then little Will fell upon his knees, and
began his simple prayer:-
0 God, I have been very wicked, but
do thou forgive me for Jesus' sake; and,
O God," he sobbed, "do thou save me,
for I am so afraid of that dreadful mud,
and I am such a little boy."
"Enough," said Mads, shaking his shoulder.
One minute more, dear Mads !"
One minute," said Mads, walking away.
"And, 0 God, comfort my dearest father.
Don't let him think I ran away. Forgive
Mads, dear Saviour, and give him a new
heart. Oh !" continued poor Will, a new
hope springing up in his heart, "give it
to him this moment, if it's possible-"
A wild cry interrupted him, and looking


"up, he could see nothing of Mads. With
shaking limbs he hastened to the edge of
the precipice, and there, having made an
uncertain step in the dim light, Mads had
fallen a few feet, and finding it impossible
to clamber up the smooth side, was hanging
on desperately to a little twig.
"You are safe," whispered a voice. "Now
let the wicked boy fall into the pit himself."
It was but a moment, and from Will's
generous heart arose the fervent prayer,
" Lead us not into temptation." Then, with
eager hands, he unbound his long stout
woollen tippet, and fastening one end to a
tough little shrub, dropped the other over
to Mads. Oh, joy! he could just reach it,
and came clambering up like a young
squirrel. As his head appeared above the
top, poor Will fell fainting upon the ground.
Mads stole up to him with a wondering,
reverential expression, and lifting him in
his arms, carried him tenderly home.


Will was sick for many days, while Mads
never left his side. At last, when he was
again able to speak, Mads said suddenly one
day, with downcast eyes,-
"Why save Mads ? Why not let Mads
die ? Is it Christian ?"
Will smiled and nodded.
"Tell me," said Mads vehemently, turning
to hide his tears. "It is good. I be Chris-
tian too." And Will, day after day, as he
grew better, told Mads the beautiful story
of the Cross, and taught him how to pray.
Before Will left Iceland, poor Mads hoped
that he, too, was a Christian, and he always
carefully carried in his bosom Will's Bible,
which, although he could not read a word of
it, he regarded as his most precious treasure.

X3t, 13555