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Title: The Young Fisherman of Heligoland; and Other Stories

Date of first publication: ~1800

Author: Anonymous

Date first posted: July 24 2012

Date last updated: July 24 2012

Faded Page eBook #20120730

This eBook was produced by: L. Harrison & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

Images for this eBook provided courtesy Archives and Special Collections, University Libraries, Ball State University














Kronheim & Co., London.

[Pg 2]

Having a conversation

Kronheim & Co., London


[Pg 3]







[Pg 5]




The oyster-fishery had been very unproductive. The fishermen returned in the early morning with sad faces, for the season was drawing to a close, and during two months not a single good haul had rewarded their toil. Old Lütje Tönning sought his home, and fell asleep by the stove, whilst Daniel his son, a hearty lad of eighteen, born to be a sailor, remained on the shore to secure the boats. Accustomed from childhood to the sea, he had weathered many a storm: he much wished to go to America, but the old man [Pg 6] would not hear of it. "All the Tönnings," said he, "lie buried in Heligoland, or under the sea, and Daniel shall not be the only one whoso grave is in America."

When Daniel reached home he found his father very ill, lying on his bed, and complaining of pain in all his limbs. When Lütje Tönning was in bed at six o'clock in the morning there was certainly something far wrong; his wife, therefore, was very uneasy, and prepared him some tea. She was a genuine Heligolander, such as may still be found. Her scarlet petticoat, with its bright yellow binding, which she had worn every day for the last fifteen years, still looked fresher than her own deeply-wrinkled face. She was born in Heligoland, and during the whole of her life had never left the island. Upon that small spot how many noble lives have begun and ended their knowledge of the world, confined to its rocks, the sky, and the sea.

[Pg 7] Old Lütje had often been to Hamburg and Bremen to sell his oysters, and there received a good price for them. At this time he was to have gone thither with his comrades, but, ill as he was, it was impossible.

"Stay at home," said his wife. He tried, however, to go out, but only reached the door, where from faintness he was obliged to permit his wife to assist him into bed again. Sixty years in storms, days and nights upon the sea, often for hours up to the middle in water, and wet to the skin with rain and snow, tell on the hardest constitution, and render the limbs unable to sustain their burden.

Daniel was deeply grieved to see his father in this state, for he loved him dearly. Seamen do not give vent to their grief in words, but as much sincere affection exists in their breasts as in the breasts of others who give utterance to their feelings. "Let me go to Hamburg," cried the youth.

[Pg 8] "Yes, thou must go," replied the old man. He did not say this at once, but some time after, when he had well considered. Daniel had never been to Hamburg, but he felt he could trust him.

During the day there was so much to prepare that Daniel could not remain in the house. The wife, therefore, had the sole care of her husband. It was impossible to keep him warm; although she placed hot bottles to his feet, his whole frame shivered. He spoke but seldom; but what he did say was about Daniel. In the evening his son returned, having made all ready on the strand. As he was to sail in the morning at three o'clock, not wishing to disturb them so early, he said farewell to the old people before he went to rest. His father directed him where to lodge in Hamburg, told him what to order and to say when he delivered the oysters,—that old Tönning was ill, but that the next cargo he would bring himself. [Pg 9] His mother gave him a large loaf of black bread and some fried sausages to take with him, wishing him "a good voyage."

"Get well, father; good-bye, mother," said the youth, and then retired. Neither father nor son could sleep—the old man through pain, and the young one from excitement. He had heard so much of Hamburg and its wealth that its splendours flashed like meteors before his eyes. In the neighbouring chamber the bed often creaked as the old man tossed about sleeplessly; then Daniel thought of his father's illness, and was very sad, and could not succeed in obtaining a moment's sleep.

At two o'clock he rose, dressed himself, and was quietly slipping out when the old man called him back. Daniel went to his bedside, and Lütje, holding his hand, said: "God bless thee, and preserve thee from harm, my son. A happy voyage to thee!"

"Thank you," said Daniel, "do not be [Pg 10] uneasy on my account; only get well: have you not slept?"

"No," replied Lütje, as, sighing, he turned himself in bed. Daniel gently stroked his burning brow, and gave him some water, which he quickly drank. Then saying, "Good-bye, father," he left the room and ran quickly down to the strand, where his mates already awaited his coming.

The night was drawing to a close, and morning began to dawn; the sea softly murmured, and the island looked in the soft twilight like a vast elephant of stone. The sails were spread, the boat flew before the breeze, and Heligoland soon disappeared in the mist; in a few hours the lighthouse at Cuxhaven glimmered on the horizon. Daniel felt lighthearted. The steamers as they passed, the English brig in full sail, the high lighthouse and the broad Elbe, were all objects of his wonder and admiration. When they reached Hamburg he was perfectly [Pg 11] amazed, and stared on every side, asking explanations from his shipmates about each thing on which his eye rested. They had visited the city before, and were only too proud to tell him all they knew.

"That ship is an American," said one; "and that is going to California, where gold grows," said another, looking as important as if he had been there himself, and had come home with his pockets full of the precious metal.

The oysters were delivered and paid for; on the morrow the vessel was to return. Daniel, anxious to make the most of his short stay, hurried along the fine streets, admiring the Exchange, the Alster, the Bazaar built entirely of marble, with its shops and beautiful wares. The carriages and horses, too, were objects of his attention, for in Heligoland a horse is never seen; as were also the well-dressed men and women. Being told that the wealth of many of the [Pg 12] merchants exceeded that of the whole population of Heligoland, he was stricken with such awe for the class that he stood and gazed at every stout, well-to-do citizen whom he met; for during his whole life he had never had more than five dollars in one sum.

In the afternoon our friends visited a public-house, where seamen were congregated from all parts. A Dutch sailor sat down and entered into conversation with Daniel. That the youth had been but little out of his own country was perhaps plain to the stranger, who therefore began boastingly to relate his own adventures. Daniel listened with astonishment, and observed in reply that "he had very much wished to go to America, and would have done so long ago had not his father objected to the project."

"Why!" exclaimed the other, "I never asked my father; I knew that he would refuse me, so I ran away."

[Pg 13] "How long ago?" asked Daniel.

"Six years," was the answer, "and since then I am a free man, and care neither for God nor man."

"That is very wicked," rejoined Daniel, "and to leave your father too; in our country we do not act so."

"Ah! ah!" cried the other, laughing, "you are old-fashioned; here every man looks out for himself, and does not care a shot for any one else."

"How very wrong!" replied the youth, turning away from him, who was ashamed and angry that such a greenhorn should visit him with reproof.

"I'll show him," thought he, "what the world is, and teach him that he is not the saint he thinks himself." He therefore began to talk on indifferent matters; made inquiries about Heligoland, and asked for information relating to oyster-fishing. Upon this subject Daniel could speak freely, and [Pg 14] as the sailor took care that his glass did not remain unfilled, the blood began to rise to his head, and at last he said, "No, thank you, I drink no more."

"Well then," replied the sailor, "come with me, and I will show you the city."

"I have seen Hamburg already," answered Daniel.

"Why, what have you seen?"

"The Exchange, the Bazaar, the Alster, and all the fine shops."

"Oh!" said the sailor, "you have seen nothing. Come with me, and I will show you Hamburg."

Daniel got up, and lounged arm-in-arm with him through the principal streets, while his comrades, who had found old friends, strolled away in different ways.

The sailor conducted Daniel to the suburb of St. Paul's, the den of profligacy. He showed him caravans filled with monkeys, parrots, and wild beasts, as well as various [Pg 15] other shows. He then entered a public-house, from the window of which lively music issued. Daniel hesitated on the threshold; the sailor pushed him forward, and called for punch: as he did so a scene of revelry and vice burst upon his view.

The sailor stood with half-averted face; chuckling he turned round and tapped Daniel on the shoulder. That was mocking malice triumphing over its guileless victim, who had dared to reprove him, and who now, through him, was imbibing morals of a different character. But the touch on the shoulder and the villain's countenance brought Daniel to himself, as far as it was possible, for he was half drunk. He got up, and was retiring, when the sailor and some of his wicked companions detained him and made him drink another glass, by the taunt—"He who drinks badly sails badly. Heligolander, are you not ashamed?"

[Pg 16] The Heligolander was ashamed, and emptying the glass at a draught he soon fell prostrate on the floor. His too successful tempters dragged him into a corner of the room, where he lay, more like a beast than a man, and then left him.

The night drew to a close: the Dutch sailor had disappeared; Daniel still lay on the floor senseless; around him fluttered music, dancing, and vice.

Little thought the wretched youth that at this very time his weeping mother sat by the bedside of his dying father. It had been a sad day; Lütje was growing worse from hour to hour. He did not complain much, but the glazed eyes and the pallor of the fallen face told plainly that death was at hand. The old man was perfectly sensible, understood what was said, but could not speak distinctly.

Towards midnight, when the light was burning dimly, Lütje suddenly called out, [Pg 17] "Daniel! Daniel! my son. God have mercy on thee! Daniel! Daniel!"

The old woman sought to soothe him, took up her Bible, and began to read aloud. After a time she looked up at her husband, but he did not move. "Lütje," said she. He answered not. "Tönning! Oh Tönning, speak." She threw herself upon the corpse, shaking it, and kissing the cold lips. Alas! she could not awake him by her efforts, nor by her kisses restore warmth to his lips. He calmly slept, and would not awake till the great day of judgment.

The poor bereaved one, standing by the bedside, sobbed out, "My Lütje, thou art now free from pain, and safe in Jesus' arms. Thou wilt be better off there than in this wicked world. Thou hast loved thy Saviour, and sought to glorify him here, and he has now taken thee to himself. Fare-thee-well, my Lütje." Then kneeling down, she prayed, and then said aloud, "I believe in God the [Pg 18] Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only begotten Son; in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen."

"Lütje," said she after awhile, "that was also thy belief; thou wilt arise and inherit everlasting life." So saying, she burst into tears.

A good hour after she wiped the cold sweat of death from his brow, put the bed-clothes straight, and then sat down to watch during the remainder of the night by her dead husband. Towards morning she fell asleep; but her slumbers were disturbed by a dream connected with Daniel, and she awoke much alarmed.

[Pg 19]


The next day Daniel returned. His voyage had been unfavourable, not from wind and storm, but from the tempest at work in his own conscience. He had awoke early with a muddled head, and as he looked round on the dark dancing-room where his betrayer had left him, he gradually remembered how he came there, and what had happened. Remorse and rage against the sailor, against himself, against the whole world, seized him. He thought of Heligoland, of his mother and father, and could have torn the hair from his head. He arose and went in search of his shipmates. In the empty, unknown streets he lost his way, and it was long before he could find any one to direct him aright. His friends asked him where he had been? This he would not tell them. [Pg 20] They bantered him on his silence, and laid the worst to his charge. When they got on the water he felt better. To turn his back on Hamburg was a relief to him.

It was well for him that he had not spent the money received for the oysters, only his own. Of this he had parted with his last farthing. On the way home he worked as hard as possible, in order to drive away thought. His mates were surprised to see him so moody and wild. He did not regard the villages on the Elbe, nor Cuxhaven with its lighthouse. His one desire was to get home. Onward! Onward! At last Heligoland appeared in sight. Never before, when he had seen the island in the distance, had he felt so disquieted. If it were only over! thought he. What over? He himself knew not. All was doubt and gloom.

Evening was setting in when the boat landed, but his mother was on the strand to meet him. Daniel went to her, and heard [Pg 21] all that had occurred. He turned dizzy, but at once rushed up to the little house. How he mounted the steep steps in the rock he knew not. There, in the presence of death, his grief found relief in tears. His mother observed to him. "Last night, towards midnight, thy father called out, 'Daniel! Daniel! my son. God have mercy on thee! and kept repeating thy name." Daniel struck his forehead with his clenched hand. His mother was alarmed. She could not fathom his agony, and he kept hidden in his own soul the gnawing worm of remorse.

The remains of Lütje Tönning lie buried in the churchyard of Heligoland. The day of the funeral was a sad one for the old woman and Daniel. In the evening, when they were alone, the room so desolate and comfortless, the poor widow said, "You will have to support me now, Daniel."

"Yes, mother, that I will," replied he.

[Pg 22] "Trust in thy God and Saviour, as your father did in his."

"Yes, mother," and he vowed within himself to remain faithful to his God, and not again to yield to temptation. "Mother," cried he, "forgive me; I have sinned." He told her all that had happened in Hamburg during the time his father was dying. His mother closed her eyes, then rose and fetched the Bible, and said "Have you not learned this, 'Honour thy father and mother, that it may be well with thee, and that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee?' What is that? We are to love and fear God, and not despise or provoke our parents,—mind, Daniel, not provoke," and she burst into tears.

Daniel put his arms round her, and said, "Mother, with God's help, it shall be the last time." From that period Daniel was never seen in the dance, and seldom on the pier, where the men met every evening to [Pg 23] discuss the wind and weather. He worked harder with the boats than any other. On every voyage he was the first to start and the last to return. He spoke little, and found no pleasure in mirth. Many said he was becoming a fanatic, but his mates knew him too well to say so, and as he was in sorrow they did not ask him questions. His mother was delighted with him. Whole evenings he remained with her, and read the Bible to her; brought her every shilling that he earned, and did not let her want for anything. But what was more, he served her with a love that was seen of nobody but herself and God in heaven. It seemed as though he would make amends for all the sin he had committed against his dying father, that he might not lose the promised blessing.

The old woman was quiet and peaceful, and nothing disturbed their love. Daniel gradually regained his good spirits; only one thing rankled in his heart, and when [Pg 24] his thoughts fell on that subject he became nearly mad. The Dutch sailor who had misled him! He would have killed him, if he had got him in his power, and he gnashed his teeth when he thought of him. "What is the matter?" his mother would ask, when she saw him striking the table with his clenched fist.


More than a year had passed. It was October, and the weather was rough. Storms were frequent, and for more than a week past no boat had been able to put to sea. Daily, beams and spars of wrecked vessels were thrown on shore.

Monday came, and the seamen were standing on the pier, looking through a telescope at a ship in the offing north of the island. She battled manfully with the storm and waves; they could plainly discern that she had already lost a mast, and that the wind [Pg 25] was driving her towards the land. For a pilot to go out to her in such weather was impossible. The nearer she came to the island the more people gathered on the pier, and below on the strand. Every one gazed more intently. The seamen shook their heads, for they knew that the vessel must be stranded, with the wind in the direction it was blowing. She fired signals of distress; but in vain. The storm so raged that the spray flew to the very top of the rocks. The poor ship seemed almost buried in the waves. In half an hour she was thrown on the breakers. Some of the crew were seen to cast themselves overboard, whilst others clung to the wreck.

The men on the pier looked on, and the women shrieked, when suddenly a boat was put off. The waves seemed to seize it as their sport; now tossed it on their mountain crests, now sunk it into the depths below. Two men were in it. Who were they? [Pg 26] Daniel and his partner. No long time did they take for consideration, but sprang into their boat, commended their souls to God, and made for the wreck. Some of the bystanders were alarmed, others ashamed. In a few minutes three boats followed to aid in saving the unhappy sufferers. God preserve the brave fellows! They reached the ship safely. Only two lives were lost. The remainder were rescued. The noble adventurers were received on their return with shouts of joy; above all, those who had first dared the terrors of the storm—Daniel and his companion.

The vessel was an English brig. Those saved, mostly English, mixed with a few Dutch. They, poor men, were more dead than alive. For three days and nights they had striven with death. The Heligolanders took them into their houses, dried their clothes, and gave them food. Daniel also took one whom he himself preserved, to his mother's [Pg 27] house. He was a Dutchman, a youth not much over twenty years of age. He was laid on Daniel's bed, and the old woman was doing her best to restore him, but he was still insensible. In her anxiety she almost forgot her son, and the fearful risk he had run. Daniel stood at the window, looking out and marking the panes with his finger. His thoughts were far away. Where? At his father's death-bed, in the dancing room at Hamburg where he was sinning during the hour his father lay dying. And the voice rang on his ear, crying, "Daniel! Daniel!" That father, so loved, so honoured, died whilst Daniel lay drunk. He thought, too, of his aged mother pointing to the command, "Thou shalt honour thy father and mother."

How is it that remorse gnaws at Daniel's conscience again? He whom Daniel, at the peril of his own life, had saved, he who lies on his bed, is no other than his betrayer. Daniel [Pg 28] did not tell his mother. When he saw the unhappy man the bitterness that he had borne towards him seemed to vanish. That night Daniel slept on the floor, where he had prepared himself a sleeping-place, and left his bed to the stranger. The next morning Daniel went out the first thing, so that he might not have occasion to speak to the sailor, who was somewhat better. By midday he had so far recovered that he could tell the old woman, who waited on him as if he were her son, all about the shipwreck. He looked round the little room, and could scarcely believe that he was on land, everything swam before his eyes; and when he raised his head from the pillow, he turned so dizzy that he was obliged to lie down again. Towards evening Daniel returned, and his mother requested him to stay with the young man while she attended to some business. Daniel remained standing at the window, then stepping to the bedside, he [Pg 29] sat down by the patient. The two regarded each other in silence.

"We have met before," said Daniel.

"I thought so," replied the sailor, "but cannot recollect where."

"I know though," answered Daniel, "in Hamburg, in the public-house. Have you forgotten the Heligolander? He said that he wished to go to America, but that his father would not permit him to do so. You wished to make him forget his father as you had done, and when he remonstrated, you made him drunk. Do you remember?"

The sailor was dumb, and turned pale.

"Do you want to know more?" said Daniel.

"In the hour that I lay drunk, in this room, and on the very bed on which you are lying, my father died:"—and as he uttered the words, he covered his face with his hands, and burst into tears.

The Dutchman could not say a word. His [Pg 30] own life passed before him, his father and mother whom he had forsaken and betrayed. At last he said, "I wished to destroy you, and you have now saved my life."

Daniel sprang from his seat. "All is past—all! I believe that God has forgiven my sin, for I believe that Jesus died and rose again for me. I have indulged hatred against no man, yourself excepted. God forgive me the sin. Could I, yes, could I have killed you, I would. It was very wicked of me. Forgive me. I saved you from the storm; thank God, not me. I will be your comrade and your friend. Will you accept my offer? Who knows but that for some great and good purpose God has permitted you to be shipwrecked? You have led a bad life; from henceforth strive with the help of God's Holy Spirit to lead a better." He sprang up, and fetched out of the next room a small book.

"That struck me," said he, reading the [Pg 31] fifth commandment out of his Bible: "Comrade, without this it is not good to live or die."

As he spoke the door opened, and his mother entered. Daniel, turning round, said, "Mother, we are having a private conversation; would you leave us alone a little longer?" The old woman went out, and the sailor confessed to Daniel, with the hot tears running down his cheeks, what a sinful life he had hitherto led.

"Truly there lives a holy God who punishes sin," exclaimed Daniel.

"Had we not a Saviour we should indeed be lost. There is but one name whereby a sinner can be saved—the Lord Jesus Christ. His blood cleanseth from all sin by faith in him. In that belief my father died; in his faith will I also die. Comrade, it is good to love our Redeemer."

The sailor sighed "I was lost. God be praised, I am saved."

[Pg 32] I know not what became of the Dutch sailor. As far as his spirit and his conduct showed, while he remained with Daniel, it seemed as if the hand of God had sought and plucked him as a brand from the burning. Blessed is it so to be sought.

The Good Shepherd has many instruments by whom he seeks those that are lost. Many and various are the servants he employs to gather in his scattered flock. In this instance he honoured a poor fisherman of Heligoland, by making him "a fisher of men."


A home

[Pg 33]


Snugly surrounded by lofty hills, stood the little old-fashioned cottage and the rude mill, in one of which my good friend, the miller, lived; while in the other he earned his daily bread. Both had been built and occupied by his father; and here contentedly and prosperously he had lived to a green old age, when the old homestead and the business were transmitted to his son. Faithfully had the son kept to both through life, which, as his bent form, wrinkled face, and hoary locks showed, had been long and difficult. But neither were in as good condition as formerly. Age and service had [Pg 34] made the cottage ruinous, while rivals had injured the business of the mill. Still the old man clung with strong affection to the home of his childhood, for holy thoughts were connected with it which he could not, would not break. He loved the old grey hills, in the bosom of which he had lived so long. Like giants, they seemed to protect his quiet home. Down their rugged sides ran the rippling streams, which formed the rushing current by which the wheel of the mill was turned. He was their child. Raised in their midst, and nourished by their very breath, he could not leave them now in his old age; and so, though patrons had fallen off to a scanty number, the old miller yet remained at the homestead, succeeding, by hard toil, in supplying his children with bread, and trusting in the Lord for help in time of need.

There had been a long-continued and most severe drought. Day after day the [Pg 35] lurid sun arose in that peculiar, smoky atmosphere so common at such times, scorching the parched earth, and withering vegetation with its fierce, unceasing heat. The corn-fields, last to suffer from such a cause, showed only brown stalks, and stunted, meagre ears. The price of all kinds of grain had risen to an unusual height. Cattle could hardly find sufficient food to support life. The rivulets dried up, and the mill stream, which had rushed in a wide torrent along its course, became a little scanty brook, which a child could step across. The old miller, deprived of his usual means of support, managed for a long time to obtain a supply of food; but as week after week rolled by, and the sky remained unclouded, his heart sank within him, for poverty stared him in the face.

One morning, after a sleepless night, in which he had not ceased to think of his troubles, he sat down with his family at the [Pg 36] scantily-furnished table to partake of the usual meal. Scanty indeed was its supply. One brown loaf only occupied the middle of the table; and as the family took their seats, the miller's wife remarked, that the bread before them was the last in the house. "I have baked the last meal," she said, "and what we shall do for more I cannot tell."

The miller's face was troubled, and for a moment it seemed as if the emotion within would burst in words from the old man's lips; but with a powerful effort he restrained his feelings, and in a moment spoke in a calm voice:—

"My dear wife, and you, my children, let us continue to trust in the Lord, who has hitherto never failed to supply our wants. Eat thankfully what we now have, nothing doubting that a kind Providence, which supplies the sparrow's wants, will not fail to bring us succour. I may be able to obtain money or food in some way, and —— ——"

[Pg 37] His voice failed him; for, in spite of his words, his heart sank within him at the dreadful prospect which seemed before him. He could not talk hopefully of that which seemed almost impossible; and he could not keep up a show of cheerfulness he did not really feel. "Let us thank God for present blessings," he at length said; and, in a low and husky voice, he repeated the usual form of prayer.

Sad indeed was that morning meal. The little ones, hungry from previous want, and unable to comprehend the situation of the family, ate their portion, and then received from their parents what the latter had neither appetite nor the heart to retain for themselves. The scanty breakfast eaten, the miller rose from his seat, taking his old hat from its peg, and left the house.

Uncertain whither to direct his steps, more by accident than design he took his way towards the old mill. As he walked [Pg 38] on, his eye anxiously searched the sky for signs of an approaching storm, his only permanent relief. A few light, fleecy clouds, such as had often lingered in the sky, only could be seen. "The Lord hides his face in anger," said he to himself; but "righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne," the voice of memory whispered; and the old man silently trusted in the words of inspiration.

Sadly he surveys the scene before him. The old mill looked solitary and forsaken. Its huge wheel, dry and rusty, seemed a giant resting from its labours. The little babbling brook, which hardly bathed the under edge of the lowest bucket, seemed to say, "Never again, never again, old man, shall I be thy servant." Tools lay scattered about as left when last used. The miller sat down upon the door-stone, and buried his face in his hands. Remaining thus lost in thought for some time, he was [Pg 39] aroused by a voice, apparently proceeding from the opposite side of the mill. It was a low, gentle voice; one that had often soothed him when toil-worn and weary, and which he had said was sweeter music to his ear than any strain from a stringed instrument. He lifted his head and listened eagerly to catch each word.

"Poor dear father," murmured the voice, "how I wish I could do something to help him. If I was only a great strong girl, then I could work, and get money, and buy bread, and do ever so many things. Little brook, ain't you ever going to get big and strong again, so as to turn the wheel?"

It was the miller's little daughter Mary, who was slowly walking along the margin of the brook towards the place where her father was sitting. Passing the corner of the mill, she saw him sitting upon the door-stone. With a cry of joy, she hastened towards him, and in a moment more was in [Pg 40] his arms, while he gave kiss after kiss. At length, looking up in his face, she said, "Father!"

"Well, my daughter."

"I was thinking, dear father, this morning, when you and mother seemed so troubled, what we could do to help you. I thought and thought a long while, but couldn't find a way to earn any money. At last I came out of doors to see if the sky looked as if there would be any rain, and all I could see were those little clouds over the hill there, and they did not seem like much. Then, father, I remembered that story in the Bible you were reading on sabbath day, about the drought where Elijah was, and I thought it seemed just like this. And then I wondered, if you were to pray to God as Elijah did, if God would not make it rain, as he did then. Don't you think he is just as kind as he was then, father?"

"The same yesterday, to-day, and for [Pg 41] ever," said he. The suggestion of his child fell upon his heart with singular power. So unexpected was anything of the kind from such a source, that as he looked into the clear blue eyes raised so anxiously towards his, it seemed as though an unseen spirit from another world had placed the thought in the mind, and prompted the words from the lips of his daughter. "Ask and it shall be given to you," thought he; and opening the well-worn pocket Bible, which he always carried with him, he sought for something which might still more increase it. A leaf turned down to mark some passage of interest arrested his attention. Unfolding it, he read the words:—"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

"It is enough," he said devoutly, as he closed the sacred volume. "Let us pray, my child;" and as he spoke, father and [Pg 42] daughter knelt upon the turf by the moss-grown door-stone. With uncovered heads, reverently they raised their closed eyes towards the blue sky, and the miller poured forth, in simple, earnest words, the strong desire of both their hearts. He prayed that the Great Father would look down upon the earth, and pity his feeble children in this their great distress. And as he proceeded in his prayer, the confidence he felt in him to whom he prayed grew stronger and stronger. "I know, my Father, that thou wilt not desert me in this hour of trial and of need. Didst thou not send food from heaven to supply the hunger, and make water to gush forth from the rock to quench the thirst, of thine ancient people? And art thou not as full of love for thy redeemed children as thou wast for thy chosen ones? Oh yes! Thou wilt never leave nor forsake them that put their trust in thee."

[Pg 43] The remainder of our story is best told in the words of the miller himself. "I rose from my knees," he says, "with a calm, happy mind, from which the burden I had been for so many days bearing seemed to be removed. My little daughter, too, looked up in my face with a quiet smile:

"Now let us trust that God will make it rain, father."

I could but acknowledge my own strong belief in what my child had said, and from time to time I sought in the sky signs of an approaching storm. Nor was I disappointed. Before an hour had passed, dark clouds gathered in the east, and the thunder heralded the coming of the storm. With almost childish delight I hailed the first welcome drops; and when at length the rain descended in torrents, I cared not to seek a shelter, but, standing beside the bed of the mill-stream, watched for its rising. Thicker and faster the showers [Pg 44] descended, and ere long the little brook began to swell. Higher and higher it rose, faster and faster it ran, until at length the foaming, tumbling torrent reached its usual level. Then with a glad heart I gave the word; the wheel once more revolved, and, amid the creaking and the rattling of the gear, we sang an anthem to our Father's praise.

Let my young readers, then, be encouraged to make all their requests known unto God; seeking, however, above all other things, spiritual blessings, and especially the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Girl watering plants

[Pg 45]


There are many high hills in Scotland. The highest of all is Ben Nevis. On the tops of these hills eagles build their nests. What nests they are! They are very strong: the great sticks are often placed between two high rocks that hang over a deep place.

Once, while the people were making hay in the field, a great eagle saw a babe lying asleep on a bundle of hay, and, darting down from above, seized it by its dress with its great claws, and flew away. All the people, in alarm, ran towards the mountain, where they knew this eagle had built its nest.

[Pg 46] Many cried, and wrung their hands in sorrow for the dear babe; but who would try to save it? There was a sailor, who was used to climb the tall masts of ships, and he began to go up the steep sides of the mountain; but he had only gone a few steps, when the mother started up from the rough stone where she had been sitting, and taking in her hand a reaping-hook, looked up at the eagle's nest, and quickly began to mount the rock herself.

Though only a weak woman, she soon got before the sailor, and sprang from rock to rock, and when she could find no place for her feet, she held fast by the roots of the plants. It was wonderful to see how she made her way. Her love for her babe made her strong, and God kept her feet from slipping.

Every one looked at her as she reached the top: they feared lest the fierce bird should hurt her. But no; when she came [Pg 47] to the nest, it screamed aloud and flew round and round. There the mother found her babe, lying among the young eagles and the bones of animals; but the eagles had not begun to eat it, nor had they hurt a hair of its head.

The mother drove away the old eagle with the reaping-hook, and then bound the child with her shawl tight round her waist, and began to go down. This was far more difficult than it had been to get up. Could you have seen the fond mother, with her babe, sliding down the rock; holding now by the yellow broom, and by the prickly brier, and getting slowly down places almost as steep as the side of a house!

When she had got half-way down, she saw a goat leading its two kids into the valley; she knew that it would take its little ones along the easiest path, and she followed it till she met her friends coming up the mountain to meet her.

[Pg 48] How glad they were to see her again among them! Many a mother wished to hold the babe in her arms. "Give me that dear child," says one to another. How much they wondered to find the eagle's claws had not torn its tender flesh! What will not a mother do to save a child? Should you not love your mother who has done so much for you? She has not risked her life in the manner of the Scotch mother of whom you have read, but she may have nursed you by night and by day; and at the risk of her own health and life has pressed you to her bosom when some sad fever or disease has been laid upon you. Will you not, then, love her, and prove your love by obeying her commands?


Village in the distance


Transcriber's Note

[The end of The Young Fisherman of Heligoland; and Other Stories by anonymous]