Part 3 out of 4
The sea of Aral lies to the north of the kingdom: it is an immense lake,
but not nearly so large as the Caspian Sea.
The river Oxus flows into the Caspian. It is famous for its golden sands.
The great trade of Bokhara is in black woolly lamb-skins, to make caps
for the Persians: the younger the lamb the more delicate the wool. Thus
many a pretty lambkin dies to adorn a Persian noble.
The best raisins in the world come from Bokhara.
THE TOORKMAN TARTARS.
You have heard a great deal of the Tartars, and you have been told that
they are a quiet and peaceable nation. But not _all_; there is a tribe of
Tartars called the Toorkmans, of a very different character. They wander
about in the country between Bokhara and Persia, and their chief
employment is to steal men from Persia, and to sell them in Bokhara as
slaves. A whole troop, mounted on horses, rush sword in hand upon a
Persian city, and return to the camp with hundreds of beasts and human
creatures as their captives.
Some English travellers once met five men chained together, walking with
sad steps in the deep sands of the desert. They were Persians just caught
by the Toorkmans, and on their way to Bokhara. When the Englishmen saw
these poor captives, they uttered a sorrowful cry, and the Persians began
to weep. One of the travellers stopped his camel to listen to their sad
tale; and he heard that a few weeks before, while working in the fields,
they had been seized and carried off. They were hungry and thirsty; for
the Toorkmans cruelly starve their slaves, in order that they may be too
weak to run away. The traveller gave them all he had, which was a melon,
to quench their thirst.
But the worst part of the Toorkmans' conduct remains yet to be told. When
they have taken many captives, they usually _kill_ the old people,
because they would not get much money for them in Bokhara; and they
choose _one_ of their captives to offer up as a thank-offering to their
god!! Who is their god? The god of Mahomed. But though they are
Mahomedans, they have no mosques, and are too ignorant to be able to read
Robbery is their whole business. For this purpose they learn to ride and
to fight. They understand well how to manage a horse, so as to make him
strong and swift. They do not let him eat when he pleases, but they give
him three meals a day of hay and barley, and then rein him up that he may
not nibble the grass, and grow fat; and sometimes they give him no food
at all, and yet make him gallop many miles. By this management the horses
are very thin, but very _strong_, and able to bear their masters eighty
miles in a day when required; and they are so swift that they can outrun
It is not surprising that the Toorkmans do not eat these thin horses,
though other Tartars are so fond of horse-flesh. They prefer mutton. When
they invite a stranger to dinner, they boil a whole sheep in a large
boiling-pot; then tear up the flesh,--mix it with crumbled bread, and
serve it up in wooden bowls. Two persons eat from one bowl, dipping their
hands into it, and licking up their food like dogs. The meal is finished
by eating melons.
These coarse manners suit such fierce and wild creatures as the
Toorkmans. It is their boast that they rest neither under the shadow of a
TREE nor of a KING: meaning that they have neither trees nor kings to
protect them in the desert.
The men wear high caps of black sheep-skin, while the Women wear high
white turbans. The tents are adorned with beautiful carpets, not only the
floors, but the sides, and it is the chief employment of the women to
weave them. As for the men, they spend most of their time in sauntering
about among the tents; for the fierce dogs guard the flocks. But when
their hands are idle, their thoughts are still busy in planning new
robberies and murders.
It was by such men that the earth was inhabited when God sent the flood
to destroy it. It is written, "The earth was filled with VIOLENCE."
Is there any man brave enough to go to these men to warn them of the
judgment to come, and to tell them of pardon for the penitent, through
the blood of Jesus?
 Taken from Sir Alexander Burnes, and from Kanikoff, the
Russian, and from Rev. Joseph Wolff.
 Extracted from Sir Alexander Burnes' "Bokhara."
Very little is known in Europe of this part of Tartary; and why? Because
the Emperor of China, who reigns over it, does not like travellers to go
It is divided by high and snowy mountains from the rest of Tartary. When
a traveller has passed over these mountains, he finds on the other side
Chinese officers, who inquire what business he has come upon. If he have
come only to wander about the country, he is desired to go home again;
because the Chinese are afraid lest strangers should send spies, and then
ARMIES--to conquer their empire.
One traveller, because he stayed too long in Tartary, was imprisoned for
three months; and before he was let go, a picture of him was taken. What
was done with this picture? It was copied, and the copies were sent to
various towns on the borders of Chinese Tartary, with this command, "If
the man, who is like this picture, enter the country, his head is the
Emperor's, and his property is _yours_." Happily the traveller heard of
this command, and was never seen again in the country. You see how
cunning it was of the Chinese to allow any one who killed the traveller
to have his property; for thus they made it the interest of all to kill
There is one city in Chinese Tartary where many strangers come to trade
with the people. It is called Yarkund. There caravans arrive from Pekin,
laden with tea, after a journey of five months over the wilds of Tartary.
Then merchants come from Bokhara to buy the tea, and to carry it home,
where it is so much liked.
This land is not a desert. Yet there are but few trees, and because there
is so little shade, the rivulets are soon dried up. Yet it might be a
fruitful land, if the inhabitants would plant and sow. But they prefer
wandering about in tents, and living upon plunder, to settling in one
place and living by their labor. The Tartar has good reason for roaming
over his plains, because the land is bad; but the Affghan has no reason,
but the _love_ of roaming.
The plains of Affghanistan are sultry, but the mountains are cool; for
their tops are covered with snow. The shepherds feed their flocks on the
plains during the winter; but in the spring they lead them to the
mountains to pass the summer there. Then the air is filled with the sweet
scent of clover and violets. The sheep often stop to browse upon the
fresh pasture; but they are not suffered to linger long. The children
have the charge of the lambs; an old goat or sheep goes before to
encourage the lambs to proceed, and the children follow with switches of
green grass. Many a little child who can only just run alone, enjoys the
sport of driving the young lambs. The tents are borne on the backs of
camels. The men are terrible-looking creatures, tall, large, dark, and
grim, with shaggy hair and long black beards. They wear great turbans of
blue check and handsome jackets, and cloaks of sheep-skin; they carry in
their girdles knives as large as a butcher's; and on their shoulders a
shield and a gun.
Besides these wild wanderers, there are some Affghans who live in houses.
Cabool, the capital, is a fine city, and the king dwells in a fine
citadel. The bazaar is the finest in all Asia. It is like a street with
many arches across it; and these people sell all kinds of goods.
But what is a fine _bazaar_ compared to a beautiful _garden?_ Cabool is
surrounded by gardens: the most beautiful is the king's. In the midst is
an octagon summer-house, where eight walks meet, and all the walks are
shaded by fruit-trees. Here grow, as in Bokhara, the best fruits to be
found in an English garden, only much larger and sweeter. The same kind
of birds, too, which sing in England sing among its branches, even the
melodious nightingale. It is the chief delight of the people of Cabool to
wander in the gardens: they come there every evening, after having spent
the day in sauntering about the bazaar; for they are an idle people,
talking much and working little.
The noise in the city is so great that it is difficult to make a friend
hear what you say: it is not the noise of rumbling wheels as in London,
for there are no wheeled carriages, but the noise of chattering tongues.
The Affghans are a temperate people; they live chiefly upon fruit with a
little bread; and as they are Mahomedans, they avoid wine, and drink
instead iced sherbets, made of the juice of fruits. In winter excellent
_dried_ fruits supply the place of fresh.
But the Affghan, though living on fruits, is far from being a harmless
and amiable character; on the contrary, he is cruel, covetous, and
treacherous. Much British blood has been shed in the valleys of
We cannot blame the Affghans for defending their own country. It was
natural for them to ask, "What right has Britain to interfere with us?"
A British army was once sent to Affghanistan to force the people to have
a king they did not like, instead of one they did like.
I will tell you of a youth who accompanied his father to the wars. This
boy looked forward with delight to going as a soldier to a foreign land,
and his heart beat high when the trumpet sounded to summon the troops to
embark. Joyfully he quitted Bombay, crossed the Indian Ocean, and landed
near the mouth of the Indus. When the army began its march towards
Affghanistan, he rode on a pony by his father's side.
At first it seemed pleasant to pitch the tent in a new spot every day, to
rest during the heat, and to travel in the dead of the night, till the
sun was high in the sky. But soon this way of life was found fatiguing,
for the heat was great, and the water scarce. The air, too, was clouded
by the dust the troops raised in marching; and green grass was seldom
seen, or a shady tree under which to rest. The food, too, was dry and
stale, and no fresh food could be procured, for the Affghans, before they
fled, destroyed the corn and fruit growing in the fields, that their
enemies might not eat them. The camels, too, which bore the baggage of
the British army, grew ill from heat and thirst; for it is not true that
camels can live _long_ without water; in three or four days they die.
Besides this, the hard rocks in the hilly country hurt their feet, and
hastened their death. Many a camel died as it was seeking to quench its
thirst at a narrow stream in the valley, and its dead body falling into
the water, polluted it. Yet this water the soldiers drank, for they had
no other, and from drinking it they fell ill. The father of the youthful
soldier was one of these, and he was compelled to stop on the way for
several weeks; and because the heat of a tent was too great, he took
shelter in a ruined building. Here his son nursed him with a heavy heart.
Where was the delight the youth had expected to find in a soldier's life?
At last the British army reached a strong fort built on the top of a
hill; Guznee was its name. Its walls and gates were so strong that it
seemed impossible to get into the city; yet the British knew that if they
did _not_, they must die either by the Affghan sword, or by hunger and
thirst among the rocks. For some time they were much perplexed and
distressed. At last a thought came into the mind of a British captain,
"Let us blow up the gates with gunpowder." The plan was good; but how to
perform it,--there was the difficulty. Soon all was arranged. In the
night some sacks of gunpowder were laid very softly against the gates;
but as no one could set fire to the sacks when _close_ to them, a long
pipe of cloth was filled with gunpowder, and stretched like a serpent
upon the ground; one end of the pipe touched the sack, and the other end
was to be set on fire. But before the match was applied, a British
officer peeped through a chink in the gates to see what the Affghans were
doing within. Behold! they were quietly smoking, and eating their supper,
not suspecting any danger! The match was applied--the gunpowder exploded,
and the strong gates were shattered into a thousand pieces; the army
rushed in sword in hand, and the Affghans fled in wild confusion.
Where was our young soldier? He was running into the fort between two
friendly soldiers, who kindly helped him on; each of them was holding one
of his arms, and assisting him to keep up with the troops, as they rushed
through the gates. As he ran, he heard horrible cries, but the darkness
hindered him from seeing the dying Affghans rolling in the dust, only he
felt their soft bodies as he hastily passed over them. He heard his
fellow-soldiers shouting and firing on every side. Some fell close beside
him, and others were wounded, and carried off on the shoulders of their
comrades, screaming with agony.
Half an hour after the gates were fired, the city was taken. The news of
the victory spread among the Affghans on the mountains, and the plains,
and the whole country submitted to the British.
The army soon marched to Cabool, that proud city. No one opposed their
entrance, and the bazaar, and the king's garden, and the royal citadel
were visited by our soldiers.
After spending two months in beautiful Cabool, resting their weary limbs
and feasting on fine fruits, the army was ordered to return home. They
began to march again towards the coast, a distance of fifteen hundred
miles, over cragged rocks, and scorching plains.
In the course of this terrible journey, the father of the young soldier
again fell ill, and was forced to stop by the way. His affectionate son
nursed him night and day; closed his eyes in death, and saw him laid in a
lowly grave in the desert. With a bleeding heart the youth embarked to
return to Bombay.
During the voyage, a furious storm arose, and all on board despaired of
life. _Then_ it was the youth remembered the prayers he had offered up by
his dying father's bed; _then_ it was he felt he had not turned to God
with all his heart, and _then_ it was he vowed, that if the Lord would
spare him this _once_, he would seek his face in truth. God heard and
And did the youth remember his prayers and vows? He did, though not at
_first_,--yet after a little while he _did_. He read the word of God, he
prayed for the Spirit of God, and at length he enjoyed the peace of God;
and now he neither fears storm nor sword, because Christ is his shelter
and his shield.
Just underneath Affghanistan, lies Beloochistan, by the sea coast. It is
separated from India by the river Indus. You may know a Beloochee from an
Affghan by his stiff red cotton cap, in the shape of a hat without a
brim; whereas, an Affghan wears a turban. Yet the religion of the
Beloochee is the same as that of the Affghan, namely, the Mahomedan, and
the character is alike, only the Beloochee is the fiercer of the two: the
country also is alike, being wild and rocky.
Beloochistan has not been conquered by the British: it has a king of its
own; yet the British have fought against Beloochistan. On one occasion a
British army was sent to punish the king of Beloochistan for not having
sent corn to us, as he had promised.
The army consisted of three thousand men, and amongst them was the young
soldier, of whom you have heard so much already. His father was ill at
the time, and could not fight; but the youth came upon his pony, with a
camel to carry his tent, and all his baggage.
The troops as usual marched in the night. In the morning, about eight
o'clock, they first caught sight of Kelat, the capital of Beloochistan.
It was a grand sight, for the city is built on a high hill, with a
citadel at the top. The dark Beloochees were seen thronging about the
walls and the towers, gazing at the British army, but not daring to
Our soldiers, when they first arrived, were too much tired to begin the
attack, and therefore they rested on the grass for two hours. At ten
o'clock the word of command was given, and the attack was made. The
British planted their six cannons opposite the gates, and began to fire.
Where was the young soldier? He was commanded to run with his company
close up to the wall, and there to remain. As he ran, he was exposed to
the full fire of the enemy. The youth heard bullets whizzing by as he
passed, and he expected every moment that some ball would lay him low;
but through the mercy of God he reached the wall in safety. _Close_
underneath the wall was not a dangerous post, for the bullets passed over
the heads of those standing there.
About noon, the British cannons had destroyed the gates. Then the British
soldiers rushed into the town. Amongst the first to enter was the young
soldier; because when the gates fell he was standing close by. As he
passed along the streets, he saw no one but the dead and the dying; for
the Beloochees had fled for refuge to their citadel on the top of the
hill. The king himself was there.
The citadel was a place very difficult for an enemy to enter; for the
entrance was through a narrow dark passage underground. Into this passage
the British soldiers poured, but soon they came to a door, which they
could not get through, for Beloochee soldiers stood there, sword in hand,
ready to cut down any one who approached. "Look at my back," said one
soldier to his fellow. The other looked, and beheld the most frightful
gashes gaping wide and bleeding freely. Such were the wounds that each
soldier, who ventured near that door, was sure to receive.
At this moment a cry was heard, saying, "Another passage is found." When
the Beloochees heard this cry, they gave up all hopes of keeping the
enemy out of the citadel; so they left off fighting, and cried "Peace."
But their king was already dead; he had fallen on the threshold of the
passage last found. The _first_ man who tried to get in by that way the
_king_ had killed; but the _second_ had killed the king. The British, as
they rushed in by this new way, trampled on the body of the fallen
monarch. He was a splendid object even in death; his long dark ringlets
were flowing over his glittering garments, and his sharp sword, with its
golden hilt, was in his hand. The British hurried by, and climbed the
steep and narrow stairs leading to the top of the citadel, and the enemy
no longer durst oppose their course.
On the terrace at the top of the citadel, in the open air, stood the
nobles of Beloochistan. There were princes too from the countries all
around. It was a magnificent assembly. These men were the finest of a
fine race. Some were clad in shining armor, and others in flowing
garments of green and gold. Thus they stood for a _moment_, and the
_next_--they were rolling on the ground!!
How was this? Had not peace been agreed upon on both sides? Yes, but a
British soldier had attempted to take away the sword of one of the
princes. The prince had resisted, and with his sword, had wounded the
soldier; and instantly every British gun on that spot had been pointed at
the nobles of Beloochistan.
This was why the nobles were lying in the agonies of death.
Our young soldier was not one of those who slew the nobles. He was
standing on another part of the terrace, when, hearing a tremendous
volley of guns, he exclaimed to a friend, "What can that be?" Going
forward, he beheld heaps of bleeding bodies, turbans, and garments--in
one confused mass. The dying were calling for water, and the very
soldiers who had shot them, were holding cups to their quivering lips,
though themselves parched with thirst. But water could not save the lives
of the fallen nobles: one by one they ceased to cry out, and soon--all
were silent--and all were still. The VICTORY was WON! But how awful had
been the last scene! How cruelly, how unjustly, had the lives of that
princely assembly been cut short!
The conquerors returned that evening to their camp. On their way, they
passed through the desolate streets of the city; the mud cottages on each
side were empty, and blood flowed between. The young officer, as he
marched at the head of his company, was struck by seeing a row of his own
fellow-soldiers lying dead upon the ground. They had been placed there
ready for burial on the morrow. Their ghastly faces, and gaping wounds
were terrible to behold. The youth remembered them full of life and
spirits in the morning, unmindful of their dismal end; _then_ he felt how
merciful God had been in sparing his life; and when he crept into his
little tent that night, he returned him thanks upon his knees; though he
did not love him _then_ as his Saviour from eternal death. Wearied, he
soon fell asleep, but his sleep was broken by dreadful dreams of blood
The next day he walked through the conquered town, and saw the British
soldiers dragging the dead bodies of their enemies by ropes fastened to
their feet. They were dragging them to their grave, which was a deep
trench, and there they cast them in and covered them up with earth.
Such is the history of the conquest of Kelat. How many souls were
suddenly hurled into eternity! How many unprepared to meet their Judge,
because their sins were unpardoned, and their souls unwashed! But in war,
who thinks of souls and sins! O horrible war! How hateful to the Prince
 September 13, 1839.
Of all the kings in Asia, the king of Burmah is the greatest, next to the
emperor of China. He has not indeed nearly as large a kingdom, or as many
subjects as that emperor; but like him, he is worshipped by his people.
He is called "Lord of life and death," and the "Owner of the sword," for
instead of holding a _sceptre_ in his hand, he holds a golden sheathed
_sword_. A sword indeed suits him well, for he is very cruel to his
subjects. Nowhere are such severe punishments inflicted. For drinking
brandy the punishment is, pouring molten lead down the throat; and for
running away from the army, the punishment is, cutting off both legs, and
leaving the poor creature to bleed to death. A man for choosing to be a
Christian was beaten all over the body with a wooden mallet, till he was
one mass of bruises; but before he was dead, he was let go.
Every one is much afraid of offending this cruel king. The people tremble
at the sound of his name; and when they see him, they fall down with
their heads in the dust. The king makes any one a lord whom he pleases,
yet he treats even his lords very rudely. When displeased with them, he
will hunt them out of the room with his drawn sword. Once he made forty
of his lords lie upon their faces for several hours, beneath the broiling
sun, with a great beam over them to keep them still. It was well for them
that the king did not send for the men with spotted faces. Who are those
men? The executioners. Their faces are always covered with round marks
tattooed in the skin. The sight of these spotted faces fills all the
people with terror. Every one runs away at the sight of a spotted face,
and no one will allow a man with a spotted face to sit down in his house.
In what terror the poor Burmese must live, not knowing when the order for
death will arrive. Yet the king is so much revered, that when he dies,
instead of saying, "He is dead," the people say, "He is gone to amuse
himself in the heavenly regions"
The king has a great many governors under him, and they are as cruel as
himself. A missionary once saw a poor creature hanging on a cross. He
inquired what the man had done, and finding that he was not a murderer,
he went to the governor to entreat him to pardon the man. For a long
while the governor refused to hear him: but at last he gave him a note,
desiring the crucified man to be taken down from the cross. Would you
believe it?--the Burmese officers were so cruel that they would not toke
out the nails, till the missionary had promised them a _piece of cloth_
as a reward! When the man was released, he was nearly dead, having been
seven hours bleeding on the cross; but he was tenderly nursed by the
missionary, and at last he recovered. Yet all the agonies of a cross had
not changed the man's heart, and he returned to his old way of life as a
thief. Had he believed in that Saviour who was nailed to a cross for his
sins, he would, like the dying thief, have repented. Though the Burmese
are so unfeeling to each other, they think it wrong to kill animals, and
never eat any meat, except the flesh of animals who have died of
themselves. Even the fishermen think they shall be punished hereafter for
catching fish; but they say, "We must do it, or we shall be starved." You
may be sure that such a people must have some false and foolish religion;
and so they have, as you will see.
[Illustration: IDOL CAR AND PAGODA.]
RELIGION.--It is the religion of Buddha. This Buddha was a man who was
born at Benares, in India, more than two thousand years ago; and people
say, that for his great goodness was made a boodh, or a god. Yet the
Burmese do not think he is alive now; they say he is resting as a reward
for his goodness. Why then do they pray to him, if he cannot hear them?
They pray because they think it is very good to pray, and that they shall
be rewarded for it some day. What reward do they expect? It is this--to
_rest_ as Buddha does--to sleep forever and ever. This is the reward they
look for. Every one in Burmah thinks he has been born a great many times
into the world,--now as an insect,--now as a bird,--now as a beast, and
he thinks that because he was very good,--as a reward he was made a
_man_. Then he thinks that if he is very good as a _poor_ man, he shall
be born next time to be a _rich_ man; and at last, that he will be
allowed to rest like Buddha himself. What is it to be good? The Burmese
say that the greatest goodness is making an idol, and next to that,
making a pagoda. You know what an idol is, but do you know what a pagoda
is? It is a house, with an idol _hidden_ inside, and it has no door, nor
window, therefore no one can get into a pagoda. Some pagodas are very
large, and others very small. As it is thought so very good to make idols
and pagodas, the whole land is filled with them; the roads in some places
are lined with them; the mountains are crowned with them.
Next to making idols, and building pagodas, it is considered good to make
offerings. You may see the father climbing a steep hill to reach a
pagoda, his little one by his side, and plucking green twigs as he goes.
He reaches the pagoda, and strikes the great bell, then enters the
idol-house near the pagoda, and teaches his young child how to fold its
little hands, and to raise them to its forehead, while it repeats a
senseless prayer; then leaving the green twigs at the idol's feet, the
father descends with his child in his arms. How many little ones, such
as Jesus once took in his arms, are taught every day to serve Satan.
The people who are thought the best in Burmah, are the priests. Any one
that pleases may be a priest. The priests pretend to be poor, and go out
begging every morning with their empty dishes in their hands; but they
get them well filled, and then return to the handsome house, all shining
with gold, in which they live together in plenty and in pride. They are
expected to dress in rags, to show that they are poor; but not liking
rags, they cut up cloth in little pieces, and sew the pieces together to
make their yellow robes; and this they call wearing rags. They pretend to
be so modest, that they do not like to show their faces, and so hide them
with a fan, even when they preach; for they do preach in their way, that
is, they tell foolish stories about Buddha. The name they give him is
Guadama, while the Chinese call him Fo. They have five hundred and fifty
stories written in their books about him; for they say he was once a
bird, a fly, an elephant, and all manner of creatures, and was so good
whatever he was, that at last he was born the son of a king.
CHARACTER.--The Burmese are a blunt and rough people. They are not like
the Chinese and the Hindoos, ready to pay compliments to strangers. When
a Burmese has finished a visit, he says, "I am going," and his friend
replies, "Go." This is very blunt behavior. But all blunt people are not
sincere. The Burmese are very deceitful, and tell lies on every occasion;
indeed, they are not ashamed of their falsehoods. They are also very
proud, because they fancy they were so good before they were born into
this world. All the kind actions they do are in the hope of getting more
merit, and this bad motive spoils all they do. They are kind to
travellers. In every village there is a pretty house, called a Zayat,
where travellers may rest. As soon as a guest arrives, the villagers
hasten to wait upon him;--one brings a clean mat, another a jug of water,
and a third a basket of fruit. But why is all this attention shown? In
the hope of getting merit. The Burmese resemble the Chinese in their
respect to their parents. They are better than the Chinese in their
treatment of their children, for they are kind to the _girls_ is well as
to the boys; neither do they destroy any of their infants. They are
temperate also, not drinking wine,--having only two meals in the day, and
then not eating too much. In these points they are to be approved. They
are, however, very violent in their tempers; it is true they are not very
easily provoked, but when they are angry, they use very abusive language.
Thus you see they are by no means an amiable people.
APPEARANCE.--In their persons they are far less pleasing than the
Hindoos; for instead of _slender_ faces and figures, they have broad
faces and thick figures. But they have not such dark complexions as the
They disfigure themselves in various ways. To make their skins yellow,
they sprinkle over them a yellow powder. They also make their teeth
black, because they say they do not wish to have white teeth like dogs
and monkeys. They bore their ears, and put bars of gold, or silver, or
marble through the holes.
The women wear a petticoat and a jacket. The men wear a turban, a loose
robe, and a jacket; they tie up their hair in a knot behind, and tattoo
their legs, by pricking their skin, and then putting in black oil. They
have the disagreeable custom of smoking, and of chewing a stuff called
"coon," which they carry in a box.
Every one (except the priests) carries an umbrella to guard him from the
sun; the king alone has a white one; his nobles have gilded umbrellas;
the next class have red umbrellas; and the lowest have green.
FOOD.--Burmah is a pleasanter country than Hindostan, for it is not so
hot, and yet it is as fruitful. The people live chiefly upon rice; but
when they cannot get enough, they find abundance of leaves and roots to
satisfy their hunger.
ANIMALS.--There are many tigers, but no lions. The Burmese are fond of
adorning their houses with statues of lions, but never having seen any,
they make very strange and laughable figures. The pride of Burmah is her
elephants; but they all belong to the king, and none may ride upon one
but himself, and his chief favorite. Carriages are drawn by bullocks, or
buffaloes; and there are horses for riding, so the Burmese can do very
well without the elephants. The king thinks a great deal too much of
these noble animals. There was a white elephant that he delighted in so
much, that he adorned it with gold, and jewels, and counted it next to
himself in rank, even above the queen.
HOUSES.--The Burmese build their houses on posts, so that there is an
empty place under the floors. Dogs and crows may often be seen walking
under the houses, eating whatever has fallen through the cracks of the
The king allows none but the nobles to build houses of brick and stone;
the rest build them of bamboos. This law is unpleasant; but there is
another law which is a great comfort to the poor. It is _this_;--any one
may have land who wishes for it. A man has only to cultivate a piece of
spare land, and it is counted his, _as long_ as he continues to cultivate
it; therefore all industrious people have gardens of their own.
Among the mountains of Burmah, there are a wild people called the Karens,
very poor and very ignorant; yet some have attended to the voice of the
missionaries. They are not so proud as the Burmese; for they have no gods
at all, and no books at all: they have not filled their heads with five
hundred and fifty stories about Gaudama; therefore they are more ready to
listen to the history of Jesus.
The Karens live in houses raised from the ground, and so large is the
place underneath, that they keep poultry and pigs there. Every year they
move to a new place, and build new houses, clear a new piece of ground,
by burning the weeds, dig it up, and sow rice. Thus they wander about,
and they number their years by the number of houses they have lived in.
Of all the Eastern nations, they sing and play the most sweetly, and when
they become Christians, they sing hymns, very sweetly indeed.
There is one Christian village among the mountains, called Mata, which
means love; and every morning the people meet together in the Zayat, or
travellers' house, to sing and pray. Before they were Christians, the
Karens were in constant fear of the Nats; (not _insects_, but evil
spirits), and sometimes in order to please their Nats, they were so cruel
as to beat a pig to death. The Christian Karens have left off such
barbarous practices, and have become kind and compassionate. When the
missionaries told them that they ought to love one another, some of them
went secretly the next day to wait upon a poor leper, and upon a woman
covered with sores. Another day, without being asked, they collected some
money and brought it to the missionaries, saying, they wished to set free
a poor Burman who had been imprisoned for Christ's sake. It is cheering
to the missionaries to see them turning from their sins.
This city was once the capital of Burmah, and then it was called the
"golden city." But now the king lives in another city, and the glory of
Ava has passed away.
This city, though in Burmah, may be called a British city, because the
British built it; for they have conquered great part of Burmah. There are
missionaries there. One there is, named Judson, who has turned more than
a hundred Burmese to the Lord. But he has known great troubles. His wife
and his little girl shared in these troubles.
I will now relate the history of the short life of little Maria Judson.
THE MISSIONARY'S BABE.
The missionary's babe, little Maria, was born in a cottage by the side of
a river, and very near the walls of the great city of Ava, where the king
It was a wooden cottage, thatched with straw, and screened by a verandah
from the burning sun. It was not like an English cottage, for it was
built on high posts, that the cool air might play beneath. It contained
three small rooms all on one floor. The country around was lovely; for
the green banks of the river were adorned with various colored flowers
and with trees laden with fine fruits.
In this pretty cottage, the infant Maria was lulled in her mother's arms
to sleep, and often the tears rolling down the mother's cheeks, fell upon
the baby's fair face. Why did the mother weep? It was for her husband she
wept. He was not dead, but he was in prison. He was a missionary, and the
king of Ava had imprisoned him in the midst of the great city. Was his
wife left all alone with her babe in her cottage? No, there were two
little Burmese girls there. They were the children of heathen parents,
and they had been received by the kind lady into her cottage, and now
they were learning to worship God. Their new names were, Mary, and Abby.
There were also two men servants, of dark complexion, dressed in white
cotton, and wearing turbans. It was a sorrowful little household, because
the master of the family was absent, because he was in distress, and his
life was in danger. Every day his fond wife visited him in his prison.
She left her babe under the care of Mary, and set out with a little
basket in her hand. After walking two miles through the streets of Ava,
she came to some high walls--she knocked at the gate--a stern-looking
man opened it. The lady, passing through the gates, entered a court. In
one corner of the court, there was a little shed made of bamboos, and
near it, upon a mat, eat a pale, and sorrowful man. His countenance
brightens when he perceives the lady enter. She refreshes him with the
nice food she has brought in her basket, and comforts him with sweet and
heavenly words:--then hastens to return to her babe. As soon as she
enters her cottage, she sinks back, half fainting, in her rocking-chair,
while she folds again her little darling in her arms. Happy babe! thy
parents are suffering for Jesus--and they are blessed of the Lord, and
their baby with them.
Greater sorrows still, soon befell the little family. One day, a
messenger came to the cottage, with the sad tidings that the bamboo hut
had been torn down, the mat, and pillow taken away, and the prisoner,
laden with chains, thrust into the inner prison. The loving wife hastened
to the governor of the city to ask for mercy; but she could obtain none,
only she was permitted to see her husband. And _what_ a sight! He was
shut up in a room with a hundred men, and without a _window!!_ Though the
weather was hot no breath of air reached the poor prisoners, but through
the cracks in the boards. No wonder that the missionary soon fell ill of
a fever. His wife, fearing he would die, determined to act like the widow
in the parable, and to weary the unjust judge by her entreaties. She left
her quiet cottage, and built a hut of bamboos at the governor's gate,
and there she lived with her babe, and the little Burmese girls. The
prison was just opposite the governor's gate, so that the anxious wife
had now the comfort of being near her suffering husband. The governor was
wearied by her importunity, and at last permitted her to build again a
bamboo hovel for the prisoner in the court of the prison. The sick man
was brought out of the noisome dungeon, and was laid upon his mat in the
fresh air. He was supplied with food and medicine by his faithful wife,
and he began to recover.
But in three days, a change occurred. Suddenly the poor wife heard that
her beloved had been dragged from his prison, and taken, she knew not
where. She inquired of everybody she saw, "Where is he gone?" but no
answer could she obtain. At last the governor told her, that his prisoner
was taken to a great city, named A-ma-ra-poora. This city was seven miles
from Ava. The wife decided in a moment what to do. She determined to
follow her husband. Taking her babe in her arms, and accompanied by the
Burmese children, and one servant, she set out. She went to the city up
the river in a covered boat, and thus she was sheltered from the
scorching sun of an Indian May. But when she arrived at Amarapoora, she
heard that her husband had been taken to a village six miles off. To this
village she travelled in a clumsy cart drawn by oxen. Overcome with
fatigue, she arrived at the prison, and saw her poor husband sitting in
the court chained to another prisoner, and looking very ill. He had
neither hat, nor coat, nor shoes, and his feet were covered with wounds
he had received, as he had been driven over the burning gravel on the way
to the prison: but his wounds had been bound up by a kind heathen
servant, who had torn up his own turban to make bandages.
When the missionary saw his wife approaching with her infant, he felt
grieved on her account, and exclaimed, "Why have you come? You cannot
live here?" But she cared not where she lived, so that she could be near
her suffering husband. She wished to build a bamboo hut at the prison
gate: but the jailor would not allow her. However, he let her live in a
room of his own house. It was a wretched room, with no furniture but a
mat. Here the mother and the children slept that night, while the
servant, wrapped in his cloth, lay at the door. They had no supper that
night. Next day, they bought food in the village, with some silver that
the lady kept carefully concealed in her clothes.
A new trouble soon came upon them. Mary was seized with a small-pox of a
dreadful sort. Who now was to help the weak mother to nurse the little
Maria? Abby was too young. The babe was four months old, and a heavy
burden for feeble arms; yet all day long the mother carried it, as she
went to and fro from the sick child to the poor prisoner. Sometimes, when
it was asleep, she laid it down by the side of her husband. He was able
to watch a _sleeping_ babe, but not to nurse a babe _awake_, owing to his
great weakness, and to his mangled feet. Soon the babe herself was
attacked by the small-pox, and continued very ill for three months. This
last trial was too much for the poor mother. Her strength failed her, and
for many weeks she lay upon her mat unable to rise. She must have
perished, if it had not been for the faithful servant. He was a native
of Bengal, and a heathen. Yet he was so much concerned for his sick
mistress and imprisoned master, that he would sometimes go without food
all day, while he was attending to their wants; and he did all without
expecting any wages.
The poor little infant was in a sad case now its mother was lying on the
mat. It cried so much for milk, that once its father got leave to carry
it round the village to ask the mothers who had babes, to give some milk
to his. By this plan, the little creature was quieted in the day, but at
night its cries were most distressing.
The time at length arrived, when these trials were to end. The king sent
for the missionary, not to put him to death, as he had once intended, but
to ask for his help. What help could he render to the king? The reason
why the missionary had been imprisoned so long was, that a British army
had attacked Burmah. The king had feared, lest the missionary should take
part with the enemy, and therefore he had shut him up. Now there were
hopes of peace, and an interpreter was wanted to help the Burmese to
speak with the British. The missionary knew both the English language and
the Burmese, and he could explain to the king what the English general
For this purpose he was brought to Ava. He was not driven along the road
like a beast, but relieved from his chains, and treated with less cruelty
than formerly. Yet he was still a prisoner.
The mother was now well enough to make a journey, though still very weak.
She returned to her cottage by the river-side, and soon she had the
delight of seeing her husband enter it. It was seventeen months since he
had been torn from it by the king's officers, and ever since, he had been
groaning in irons. But he was not now come to remain in his cottage, but
only to obtain a little food and clothing to take with him to the Burmese
camp. His wife felt cheered on his account, hoping that as an interpreter
he would be well treated.
No sooner was he gone, than she was seized with that deadly disease,
called spotted fever. What now would become of little Maria? Through the
tender mercy of God, on the very day the mother fell ill, a Burmese woman
offered to nurse the babe. Every day the mother grew worse, till at last
the neighbors came in to see her die. As they stood around, they
exclaimed, in their Burmese tongue, "She is dead, and if the king of
angels should come in, he could not recover her." _Their_ king of angels
could _not_, but _her_ KING of ANGELS could, for he can raise the dead.
But this dear lady was _not_ dead, though nearly dead.
The Lord of life showed her mercy. A friend entered the sick chamber. It
was Dr. Price, a missionary and a prisoner, but who had obtained leave
from the king to visit the sick lady. He understood her case, and he
ordered her head to be shaved, and blisters to be applied to her feet.
From that time, she began to recover, and in a month, she had strength to
stand up. The governor, who had once been so slow to hear her complaints,
now sent for her to his house. He received her in the kindest manner.
What was her joy, when she foiled her husband there, not as a prisoner,
but as a guest. Many prayers had she offered up, during her long illness,
and they were now answered. The promise she had trusted in was fulfilled.
This was _that_ promise: "Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I WILL
DELIVER THEE, and thou shalt glorify me."
But still brighter days were at hand. The King of Burmah had peace with
the British, and had agreed to deliver the missionaries into their hands.
Glad, indeed, were they to escape from the power of the cruel monarch.
Little Maria and her parents, as well as Mary and Abby, were conveyed in
a boat down the river to the place where the English army had encamped.
The English general received them with fatherly kindness, and gave them a
tent to dwell in near his own. What a fortnight they spent in that tent.
It was a morning of joy, after a night of weeping. Little Maria was now,
for the first time, dwelling with _both_ her parents.
Soon afterwards she was taken to a new home in a town in Burmah, built by
the English. It was called Amherst. Here the missionary might teach
the Burmese to know their Saviour, without being under the power of the
cruel Burmese king.
It seemed as if the little family, so long afflicted, were now to dwell
in safety, and to labor in comfort. But there is a rest for the people of
God, and to this rest one of this family was soon removed.
The missionary determined to go to Ava, to plead with the king for
permission to teach his subjects. He parted from his beloved wife,
little thinking he should never see her again.
During her husband's absence, she watched with deep anxiety over her
little Maria. The child was pale, and puny, yet very affectionate and
intelligent. Whenever her mamma said, "Where is dear papa gone?" the
little creature started up, and pointed to the sea. She could not speak
plainly, for she was only twenty months old.
Not long did she enjoy her mother's tender care. The poor mother, worn
with her past watching, and weeping, was attacked by fever. As she lay
upon the bed, she was heard to say, "The teacher is long in coming, I
must die alone, and leave my little one; but as it is the will of God, I
She grew so ill, that she took no notice of anything that passed around
her; but even then she called for her child, and charged the nurse to be
kind to it, and to indulge it in everything till its father returned.
This charge she gave, because she knew the babe wan sick, and needed the
tenderest care. At last the mother lay without moving, her eyes closed,
and her head resting on her arm. Thus she continued for two days, and
then she uttered one cry, and ceased to breathe. Her illness had lasted
eighteen days. Then she rested from her labors, and slept in Jesus.
What now became of little Maria? The wife of an English officer receded
her in her house for a few weeks, and then a missionary and his wife came
to Maria's home, and took charge of the child. Maria was pleased to come
back to her own home, and she fancied that kind Mrs. Wade was her own
What a day it was when the poor father returned home! No wife to meet
him, with love and joy; only a sickly babe, who had forgotten him, and
turned from him with alarm. Where could he go, but to the grave to weep
there? then he returned to the house to look at the very spot where he
had knelt with his wife in prayer, and parted from her in hope of a happy
Little Maria was nursed with a mother's care, though not in a mother's
arms; but her delicate frame had been shaken by her infant troubles, and
care and comforts came TOO LATE. After drooping day by day, she died at
the age of two years and three months, exactly six months after her
mother. Her father was near to close her faded eyes, and fold her little
hands on her cold breast, and then to lay her in a little grave, close
beside her mother's, under the Hope Tree.
The words of the poet would suit well the case of this much tried
"Short pain, short grief, dear babe, were thine,
_Now_, joys eternal and divine."
Like Maria's are the sufferings of many a missionary's babe, and many lie
in an early tomb. But they are dear to the Saviour, for their parents'
sakes, and their deaths are precious in his sight, and their spirits and
their dust are safe in his hands.
 Taken from "Travels in Eastern Asia," by Rev. Howard Malcolm.
 Amherst is only thirty miles from Maulmain.
Cross a river, and you pass from Burmah to Siam. These two countries,
like most countries close together, have quarrelled a great deal, and
now Britain has got in between them, and has parted them; as a nurse
might come and part two quarrelsome children. Britain has conquered that
part of Burmah which lies close to Siam, and has called it British
Burmah; so Siam is now at peace.
But though these two countries have been such enemies, they are as like
each other as two sisters. Siam is the little sister. Siam is a long
narrow slip of a country, having the sea on one side, and mountains on
The religion of Siam is the same as that of Burmah, the worship of
Buddha. But in Siam he is not called Buddha: the name given him there is
"Codom." You see how many names this Buddha has; in China he is Fo; in
Burmah he is Gaudama; in Siam, he is Codom. Neither is he honored in Siam
in exactly the same way as in Burmah. Instead of building magnificent
pagodas, the Siamese build magnificent image houses or temples.
The Siamese resemble the Burmese in appearance, but they are much worse
looking. Their faces are very broad, and flat; and so large are the jaws
under the ears, that they appear as if they were swollen. Their manner of
dressing their hair does not improve their looks; for they cut their hair
quite close, except just on the top of their heads, where they make it
stand up like bristles; nor do they wear any covering on their heads,
except when it is very hot, and then they put on a hat in the shape of a
milk pan, made of leaves. They do not disfigure themselves, as the
Burmese do, with nose-rings, and ear-bars; but they, love ornaments quite
as much, and load themselves with necklaces and bracelets. Their dress
consists of a printed cotton garment, wound round the body. This is the
dress of the women as well as of the men; only sometimes the women wear a
handkerchief over their necks.
In disposition the Siamese are deceitful, and cowardly. It has been said
of them, that as _friends_ they are not to be _trusted_, and as _enemies_
not to be _feared:_ they cannot be trusted because they are deceitful:
they need not be feared because they are cowardly. This is indeed a
dreadful character; for many wicked people are faithful to their friends,
and brave in resisting their enemies.
No doubt the manner in which they are governed makes them cowardly; for
they are taught to behave as if they were worms. Whoever enters the
presence of the king, must creep about on hands and knees. The great
lords require their servants to show them the same respect. Servants
always crawl into a room, pushing in their trays before them; and when
waiting, they walk about on their knees. How shocking to see men made
like worms to gratify the pride of their fellow-men! The rule is never to
let your head be higher than the head of a person more honorable than
yourself; if he stand, you must sit; if he sit, you must crouch.
The Siamese are like the Burmese in cruelty. When an enemy falls into
their hands, no mercy is shown.
A king of a small country called Laos, was taken captive by the Siamese.
This king, with his family, were shut up in a large iron cage, and
exhibited as a sight. There he was, surrounded by his sons and grandsons,
and all of them were heavily laden with chains on their necks and legs.
Two of them were little boys, and they played and laughed in their
cage!--so thoughtless are children! But the elder sons looked very
miserable; they hung down their heads, and fixed their eyes on the
ground; and well they might; for within their sight were various horrible
instruments of torture;--spears with which to pierce them;--an iron
boiler, in which to heat oil to scald them;--a gallows on which to hang
their bodies, and--a pestle and mortar in which to pound the children to
powder. You see how Satan fills the heart of the heathen with his own
cruel devices. The people who came to see this miserable family, rejoiced
at the sight of their misery: but they lost the delight they expected in
tormenting the old king, for he died of a broken heart; and all they
could do _then_, was to insult his body; they beheaded it, and then hung
it upon a gibbet, where every one might see it, and the beasts and birds
What became of his unhappy family is not known.
But though so barbarous to their _enemies_, the Siamese in some respects
are better than most other heathen nations, for they treat their
_relations_ more kindly. They do not kill their infants, nor shut up
their wives, nor cast out their parents. Yet they show their cruelty in
this:--they often sell one another for slaves. They also purchase slaves
in great numbers; and there are wild men in the mountains who watch
Burmans and Karens to sell them to the great chiefs of Siam. It is the
pride of their chiefs to have thousands of slaves crawling around them.
This city is built on an island in a broad river, and part of it on the
banks of the river. It ought therefore to be a pleasant city, but it is
_not_, owing to its extreme untidiness. The streets are full of mud, and
overgrown with bushes, amongst which all the refuse is thrown; there are
also many ditches with planks thrown across. There is only one pleasant
part of the town, and that is, where the Wats are built. The Wats are the
idol-houses. Near them are shady walks and fragrant flowers, and elegant
dwellings for the priests. The people think they get great merit by
making Wats, and therefore they take so much trouble: for the Siamese are
very idle. So idle are they that there would be very little trade in
Bankok, if it were not for the Chinese, who come over here in crowds, and
make sugar, and buy and sell, and get money to take back to China. You
may tell in a moment a Chinaman's garden from a Siamese garden; one is
so neat and full of flowers;--the other is overgrown with weeds and
strewn with litter.
The most curious sight in Bankok, is the row of floating houses. These
houses are placed upon posts in the river, and do not move about as boats
do; yet if you _wish_ to move your house, you can do so; you have only to
take up the posts, and float to another place.
Besides the floating houses, there are numerous boats in the river, and
some so small that a child can row them. There are so many that they
often come against each other, and are overset. A traveller once passed
by a boat where a little girl of seven was rowing, and by accident his
boat overset hers. The child fell out of her boat, and her paddle out of
her hand; yet she was not the least frightened, only surprised; and after
looking about for a moment, she burst out a laughing, and was soon seen
swimming behind her boat (still upside down), with her paddle in her
hand. These little laughing rowers are too giddy to like learning, and
they are not at all willing to come to the missionaries' schools; but
some poor children, redeemed from slavery, are glad to be there, and have
been taught about Christ in these schools.
This is a peninsula, or almost an island, for there is water almost all
round it. In shape it is something like a _dog's_ leg, even as Italy is
like a _man's_ leg.
The weather in Malacca is much pleasanter than in most parts of India,
because the sea-breezes make the air fresh. There is no rainy season, as
in most hot countries, but a shower cools the air almost every day. The
country, too, is beautiful, for there are mountains, and forests, and
Yet it is a dangerous country to live in, for the people are very
treacherous. There are many pirates among them. What are pirates? Robbers
by sea. If they see a small vessel, in a moment the pirates in their
ships try to overtake it, seize it, take the crew prisoners, and sell
them for slaves. The governors of the land do not punish the pirates; far
from punishing them, they share in the gains. That is a wicked land
indeed, where the governors encourage the people in their sins.
Malacca has no king of her own; the land belongs to Siam, except a very
small part. The inhabitants are called Malays. They are not like the
Siamese in character; for instead of being cowardly, they are fierce.
Neither have they the same religion, for instead of being Buddhists, they
are Mahomedans. Yet they know very little about the Koran, or its laws.
One command, however, they have learned, which is--to hate infidels. They
count all who do not believe in Mahomet to be infidels, and they say that
it is right to hunt them. They are proud of taking Christian vessels, and
of selling Christians as slaves.
There are some valuable plants in Malacca. There is one which has a seed
called "pepper." There is a tree which has in the stem a pith called
sago. Who collects the pepper and the sago? There are mines of tin. Who
digs up the tin? The idle Malays will not take so much trouble, so the
industrious Chinese labor instead. The Chinese come over by thousands to
get rich in Malacca. As there is not room for them in their own country,
they are glad to settle in other countries. But though the Chinese set an
example of _industry_, they do not set an example of _goodness_; for they
gamble, and so lose their _money_, they smoke opium, and so lose their
_health_, and they commit many kinds of wickedness by which they lose
As for the Malays, they are so very idle, that when trees fall over the
river, and block up the way, they will not be at the trouble of cutting a
way through for their boats,--but will sooner creep _under_ or climb
_over_ the fallen trees.
The capital of Malacca is Malacca, and this city belongs to the English;
but it is of little use to them, because the harbor is not good.
This city also belongs to the English, and it is of great use to them,
because the harbor is one of the best in the world. Many ships come there
to buy, and to sell, and amongst the rest, the Chinese junks. The city is
built on a small island, very near the coast. There are many beautiful
country houses perched on the hills, where English families live, and
there are long flights of stone steps leading from their houses to the
But many of the Malays have no home but a boat, hardly large enough to
lie down in. There they gain a living by catching fish, and collecting
shells, and coral, to exchange for sago, which is their food. These men
are called "Ourang-lout," which means "Man of the water." Does not this
name remind you of the apes called "Ourang-outang," which means "Man of
the woods?" There are Ourang-outangs in the forests of Malacca, and they
are more like men, and are more easily tamed than any other ape. Yet
still how different is the _tamest_ ape from the _wildest_ man; for the
one has an immortal soul, and the other has none.
The Malay language is said to be the easiest in the world, even as the
Chinese is the most difficult. The Malay language has no cases or
genders, or conjugations, which puzzle little boys so much in their Latin
Grammars. It is easy for missionaries to learn the Malay language. When
they know it, they can talk to the Chinese in Malacca in this language.
I will tell you of a school that an English lady has opened at Singapore
for poor Chinese girls.
THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL-GIRLS.
The two elder girls were sisters, and were called Chun and Han. Both of
them, when they heard about Jesus, believed in him, and loved him. Yet
their characters were very different, Chun being of a joyful
disposition, and Han of a mournful and timid temper. They had no father,
and their mother was employed in the school to take care of the little
children, and to teach them needle-work; but she was a heathen.
When Chun and Han had been three years in the school, their mother wanted
them to leave, and to come with her to her home. The girls were grieved
at the thought of leaving their Christian teacher, and of living in a
heathen home; yet they felt it was their duty to do as their mother
wished. But they were anxious to be baptized before they went, if they
could obtain their mother's consent. Their kind teacher, Miss Grant,
thought it would be of no use to ask leave _long_ before the time, lest
the mother should carry her girls away, and lock them up. So she waited
till the very evening fixed for the baptism. Miss Grant had been praying
all day for help from God, and the two sisters had been praying together;
and now the bell began to ring for evening service. Now the time was come
when the mother must be asked.
"Do you know," said Miss Grant to the mother, "that the children are
going to church with me?" "Yes," replied the mother, "wherever Missie
pleases to take them." Then the lady told her of the baptism, and
entreated her consent. At last the heathen mother replied, "If you wish
it, I will not oppose you." Miss Grant, afraid lest the mother should
change her mind, hastened into her palanquin, and the sisters hastened
into theirs. Looking back, the lady perceived the mother was standing
watching the palanquins. Seeing this, she stopped, saying, "Nomis, why
should not you come, and see what is done?" To the lady's surprise, the
mother immediately consented to come; and so this heathen mother was
present at the baptism of her daughters. Their teacher, (who was their
_mother in Christ_,) rejoiced with exceeding joy to see her dear girls
give themselves to the Lord, and to hear them answer in their broken
English, "All _dis_ I do steadfastly believe."
Soon after their baptism, the girls went to live in their mother's house.
To comfort them, Miss Grant promised to fetch them every Sunday, to spend
the day with her. She came for them at five o'clock in the morning,
before it was light, and took them back at nine, when it was quite dark.
If she had not fetched them herself, they would not have been allowed to
After awhile, they were _not_ allowed to go. The reason was, that the
heathen mother wanted Chun to marry a heathen Chinaman. Chun refused to
commit such a sin. Then her mother was angry, mocked her, and prevented
her going to see Miss Grant. Still Chun refused. She saw her mother
embroidering her wedding-dresses, but she still persisted that she would
not marry a heathen, especially as she would have to bow down before an
idol at her marriage. Chun grew very unhappy, and looked very pale, she
wrote many letters to her kind friend, and offered up many prayers to her
merciful God. And did the Lord hear her, and did He deliver her? He did.
A Christian Chinaman, who had been brought up by a missionary, heard of
Chun, and asked permission to marry her. He had never seen her, for it is
not the custom in China for girls to be seen.
Miss Grant was delighted at the thought of her darling Chun marrying a
Christian, and she helped to prepare for the wedding. There was no bowing
down before an idol at that wedding, but an English clergymen read the
service. Chun's face, according to the custom, was covered with a thick
veil, and even her hands and feet were hidden. A few days after the
wedding, Miss Grant, according to the custom, called on the newly
married. She found the room beautifully ornamented, like all Chinese
rooms at such times, but there were two ornaments seldom seen in
China--two Bibles lying open on the table.
Chun long rejoiced that she had so firmly refused to marry a heathen. One
day, Miss Grant said to her, playfully, "Has your husband beaten you
yet?" (for she knew that Chinamen think nothing of beating their wives.)
Chun replied, with a sweet look, "O no! he often tells me, that _first_
he thanks God, and then _you_, Miss, for having given me to him as his
There was another girl at Miss Grant's school, named Been. Sometimes she
was called Beneo, which means Miss Been, just as Chuneo means Miss Chun.
Miss Grant hoped that Been loved the Saviour, and hated idols, but she
soon lost her, for her parents took her to their heathen home.
After Been had been home a short time her mother died. The neighbors were
astonished to find that Been refused to worship her mother's spirit, and
to burn gold paper, to supply her with money in the other world. While
her relations were busily occupied in their heathen ceremonies, Been sat
silent and alone. Soon afterwards, her father, who cared not for her,
sold her to a Chinaman to be his wife, for forty dollars.
Miss Grant heard her sad fate, and often longed to see her, but did not
know where to find her. One evening, as she was paying visits in her
palanquin, she saw a pair of bright black eyes looking through a hedge,
and she felt sure that they were her own Been's. She stopped, and
calling the girl, saluted her affectionately. She was glad she had found
out where Been lived, as she would now be able to pay her a visit.
Soon she called upon her, in her own dwelling;--a poor little hut in the
midst of a sugar plantation. She brought as a present, a New Testament in
English, and in large print. Been appeared delighted.
"Do you remember how to read it?" inquired Miss Grant.
"Yes, how could I forget?" Been sweetly replied.
"Well then, read," said Miss Grant.
Been read, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep."
"Do you understand?" inquired the lady.
"Yes," said Been, and she translated the words into Malay.
As Miss Grant was rising to depart, she observed a hen gathering her
brood under her wings.
"Of what does that remind you, Been?"
"I know," said the poor girl; "I remember what I learnt at school;" and
then in her broken English, she repeated the words: "As a hen _gaderet_
her chickens under her wings, so would I have _gaderd de_, but _dou_
At this moment, Been's husband came in. The girl was glad, for she wanted
Miss Grant to ask him as a great favor, to allow her to spend next Sunday
at the school. The husband consented. There was a joyful meeting indeed,
on that Sunday, between Been, and Chun, and Han; nor was their
affectionate teacher the least joyful of the company.
This is a name which makes people _shiver_, because it reminds them of
the cold. It is a name which makes the Russians _tremble_, because it
reminds them of banishment, for the emperor often sends those who offend
him to live in Siberia.
Yet Siberia is not an ugly country, such as Tartary. It is not one dead
flat, but it contains mountains, and forests, and rivers. Neither is
Siberia a country in which nothing will grow; in some parts there is
wheat, and where _wheat_ will not grow _barley_ will, and where _barley_
will not grow _turnips_ will. Yet there are not many cornfields in
Siberia, for very few people live there. In the woods you will find
blackberries, and wild roses, like those in England; and _red_ berries,
as well as _black_ berries, and _lilies_ as well as _roses_.
Still it must be owned that Siberia is a very cold country; for the snow
is not melted till June, and it begins to fall again in September; so
there are only two whole months without snow; they are July and August.
INHABITANTS.--The Russians are the masters of Siberia, and they have
built several large towns there. But these towns are very far apart, and
there are many wild tribes wandering about the country.
One of these tribes is the Ostyaks. Their houses are in the shape of
boxes, for they are square with flat roofs. There is a door, but you must
stoop low to get in at it, unless you are a very little child; and there
is a window with fish-skin instead of light. There is a chimney, too, and
a blazing fire of logs in a hole in the ground. There is a trough, too,
instead of a dining-table, and out of it the whole family eat, and even
the dogs sometimes. The house is not divided into rooms, but into stalls,
like those of a stable; and deer-skins are spread in the stalls, and they
are the beds; each person sits and sleeps in his own stall, on his own
deer-skin, except when the family gather round the fire, and sitting on
low stools, warm themselves, and talk together.
In one of these snug corners, an old woman was seen, quite blind, yet
sewing all day, and threading her needle by the help of her tongue. She
wore a veil of thick cloth over her head, as all the Ostyak women do, and
as she did not need light, she hid her head completely under it.
But though the Ostyaks are poor, they possess a great treasure in their
dogs, for these creatures are as useful as horses, and much more
sensible. They need no whip to make them go, and no bridle to turn them
the right way; it is enough to _tell_ them when to set out, and to stop,
or to turn, to move faster, or more slowly. These dogs are white, spotted
with black; the hair on their bodies is short, but long on their handsome
curling tails. They draw their masters in sledges, and are yoked in
pairs. There are some large sledges, in which a man can lie down in
comfort: to draw such a sledge twelve dogs are necessary; but there are
small sledges in which a poor Ostyak can just manage to crouch, and two
dogs can draw it. When the dogs are to be harnessed, they are not caught,
as horses are, but only called. Yet they do not like work better than
horses like it, and when they first set out they howl, but grow quiet
after a little while.
The driver is sometimes cruel to these poor dogs, and corrects them for
the smallest fault, by throwing a stone at them, or the great club he
holds in his hand, or at least a snow-ball: if a hungry dog but stoop
down to pick up a morsel of food on the road, he is punished in this
manner. Yet it must be owned, that the dogs have their faults; they are
greedy, and inclined to thieving. To keep food out of their way, the
Ostyaks build store-houses, on the tops of very high poles. The dogs are
always on the watch to slip into their master's houses. If the door be
left open ever so little, a dog will squeeze in, if he can; but he does
not stay _long_ within, for he is soon thrust out with blows and kicks;
the women scream at the sight of a dog in the hut, for they fear lest he
will find the fish-trough. Yet after long journeys, the dogs are brought
into the hut, and permitted to lie down by the fire, and to eat out of
the family trough. At other times they sleep in the snow, and eat
whatever is thrown to them. When they travel, bags of dried fish are
brought in their sledges, to feed them by the way. The puppies are
tenderly treated, and petted by the fire; yet many are killed for the
sake of their fleecy hair, which is considered a fine ornament for
The Ostyaks have another, and a greater treasure than dogs; they have
reindeer. Those who live by fishing have dogs only, but those who dwell
among the hills, have deer as well as dogs. Reindeer are like dogs in one
respect, they can be driven without either a whip or a bit, which are so
necessary for horses. But though they do not need the lashing of a whip;
they require to be gently poked with a long pole; and though they do not
need a bit, they require to be guided by a rein, fastened to their
heads; because they are not like dogs, so sensible as to be managed by
But deer are very gentle, and are much more easily driven than horses. To
drive horses four-in-hand is very difficult, but to drive four reindeer
is not. The four deer are harnessed to the sledge all in a row, and a
rein is fastened to the head of one; when _he_ turns all the rest turn
with him. Usually they trot, but they _can_ gallop very fast, even down
hill. When they are out of breath the driver lets them stop, and then the
pretty creatures lie down, and cool their mouths with the snow lying on
Men ride upon reindeer; not upon their _backs_, but on their _necks_; for
their backs are weak, while their necks are strong. Riders do not mount
reindeer as they do horses,--by resting on their backs, and then making a
spring, for that would hurt the poor animals; they lean on a long staff,
and by its help, spring on the deer's neck. But it is not easy, when
seated, to keep on; _you_ would certainly fall off, for all strangers do,
when they try to ride for the _first_ time. The Ostyak knows how to keep
his balance, by waving his long staff in the air, while the deer trots
briskly along. But these reindeer have some curious fancies; they will
not eat any food but such as they pluck themselves from the ground. It
would be of no use at the end of a long journey, to put them in a
stable;--they would not eat; they must be let loose to find their own
nourishment, which is a kind of moss that grows wild among the hills.
The reindeer, after he is dead, is of as much use to the Ostyak, as when
he was alive; for his skin is his master's clothing. Both men and women
dress alike, in a suit that covers them from head to foot; the seams are
well joined with thread, made of reindeer sinews, and the cold is kept
well out. The Ostyak lets no part of his body be uncovered but just his
face, and that would freeze, if he were not to rub it often with his
hands, covered over with hairy reindeer gloves. The women cover their
faces with thick veils. The Ostyak wears a great-coat made of the skin of
a white deer; this gives him the appearance of a great white bear. He
carries in his hand a bow taller than himself. His arrows are very long,
and made of wood, pointed with iron. With these he shoots the wild
animals. He is very glad when he can shoot a sable; because the Russian
emperor requires every Ostyak to give him yearly, as a tax, the skins of
two sables. The fur of the sable is very valuable, and is made into muffs
and tippets, and pelisses for the Russian nobles.
But without his snow-shoes, the Ostyak would not be able to pursue the
wild animals, for he would sink in the snow. These shoes are made of long
boards, turned up at the end like a boat, and fastened to the feet. What
a wild creature an Ostyak must look, when he is hunting his prey, wrapped
in his shaggy white coat,--his long dark hair floating in the wind,--his
enormous bow in his hand, and his enormous shoes on his feet!
What is the character of this wild man? Ask what is his religion, and
that will show you how foolish and fierce a creature he must be. The
Ostyak says, that he believes in ONE God who cannot be seen, but he does
not worship him _alone_; he worships other gods. And such gods! Dead men!
When a man dies, his relations make a wooden image of him, and worship it
for three years, and then bury it. But when a _priest_ dies, his wooden
image is worshipped _more_ than three years; sometimes it is _never_
buried; for the priests who are alive, encourage the people to go on
worshipping dead priests' images, that they may get the offerings which
are made to them.
But what do you think of men worshipping DEAD BEASTS? Yet this is what
the Ostyaks do. When they have killed a wolf or a bear, they stuff its
skin with hay, and gather round to mock it, to kick it, to spit upon it,
and then--they stick it up on its hind legs in a corner of the hut, and
WORSHIP it! Alas! how has Satan blinded their mind!
And in what manner do they worship the beasts? With screaming,--with
dancing,--with swinging their swords,--by making offerings of fur, of
silver and gold, and of reindeer. These reindeer they kill very cruelly,
by stabbing them in various parts of their bodies, to please the cruel
gods, or rather cruel devils whom they worship.
Has no one tried to convert the Ostyaks to God? The emperor of Russia
will not allow protestant missionaries to teach in Siberia. He wishes the
Ostyaks to belong to the Greek church, and he has tried to bribe them
with presents of cloth to be baptized; and a good many have been
baptized. But what good can such baptisms do to the soul?
The Russians do much harm to their subjects, by tempting them to buy
brandy. There is nothing which the Ostyaks are so eager to obtain, as
this dangerous drink. On one occasion, a traveller was surrounded by a
troop of Ostyaks, all begging for brandy, and when they could get none,
they brought a large heap of frozen fish, and laid it at the travellers
feet, saying, "Noble sir, we present you with this." They did get some
brandy in return. Then, hoping for more, they brought a great salmon, and
a sturgeon, as long as a man. They seemed ready to part with all they
had, for the sake of brandy.
Thus you see how much harm the Ostyaks have learned from their
acquaintance with the Russians. The chief good they have got, has been
learning to build houses; for once they lived only in tents.
This tribe lives so far to the north, that they see very little of the
Russians, though they belong to the emperor of Russia. They live close by
the Northern Sea. Imagine how very cold it must be. The Samoyedes inhabit
tents made of reindeer skins, such as the Ostyaks used to live in. They
are a much wilder people than the Ostyaks. The women dress in a strange
fantastic manner; not contented with a reindeer dress, as the Ostyaks
are, they join furs and skins of various sorts together; and instead of
veiling their faces, they wear a gay fur hat, with lappets; and at the
back of their necks a glutton's tail hangs down, as well as long tails of
their own hair, with brass rings jingling together at the end.
But if their taste in _dress_ is laughable, their taste in _food_ is
horrible, as you will see. A traveller went with a Samoyede family for a
little while. They were drawn by reindeer, in sledges, and other reindeer
followed of their own accord. When they stopped for the night, they
pitched the tent, covering the long poles with their reindeer skins,
sewed together. The snow covered the ground inside the tent, but no one
thought of sweeping it away. It was easy to get water to fill the kettle,
as a few lumps of snow soon melted. Some of the men slept by the blazing
fire, while others went out, armed with long poles, to defend the deer
from the wolves. There was in the party a child of two years old, with
its mother. The child was allowed to help himself to porridge out of the
great kettle. The traveller offered him white sugar; but at first he
called it snow, and threw it away; soon, however, he learned to like it,
and asked for some whenever he saw the stranger at tea. At night, the
child was laid in a long basket, and was closely covered with furs; in
the same basket also, he travelled in the sledge.
One day the traveller saw a Samoyede feast. A reindeer was brought, and
killed before the tent door; and its bleeding body was taken into the
tent, and devoured, all raw as it was, with the heartiest appetite. It
was dreadful to see the Samoyedes gnawing the flesh off the bones; their
faces all stained with blood, and even the child had his share of the raw
meat. Truly they looked more like wolves than men.
I might go on to tell you of many other tribes; but I must be content
just to mention a few.
There is a tribe who live in the eastern part of Siberia, called the
Yakuts, and instead of deer, and dogs, they keep horses, and oxen, and
strange to say, they _ride_ upon the oxen; and _eat_ the horses. A
horse's head is counted by them a most dainty dish. The cows live in one
room, and the family live in the next, with the calves, which are tied to
posts by the fire, and enjoy the full blaze. You may suppose that the
calves need the warmth of the fire, when I tell you that the windows of
the house are made of ice, but that the cold is so great, that the ice
does not melt.
There is a large tribe called the Buraets. They dwell in tents. They are
Buddhists. At one time the Russians allowed missionaries to go to them.
There was an old man named Andang, who used to attend the services very
regularly. His wife accompanied him. One Sunday the preacher spoke much
of heaven and its glories. The old woman, on returning to her tent, said
to her husband, "Old man, I am going home to-night." Her husband did not
understand her meaning: then she said, "I love Jesus Christ, and I think
I shall be with him to-night." She lay down in her tent that night, but
rose no more. In the morning, the old man found her stiff and cold. He
saddled his horse, and set off to tell the missionary. "O sir," said he,
with tears, "my wife is gone home." When the missionary heard the account
of her death, he felt cheered by the hope that the old woman, though born
a heathen, had died a Christian, and had left her tent to dwell in a
glorious mansion above; for how was it that she felt no fear of death,
and how was it that she felt heaven was her home? Was it not because
Jesus loved her, and because she loved Jesus?
THE BANISHED RUSSIANS.
Siberia is the land to which the emperor sends many of his people, when
they displease him. In passing through Siberia, you would often see
wagons full of women, children, and old men, followed by a troop of young
men, and guarded by a band of soldiers on horseback. You might know them
to be the banished Russians. What is to become of them? Some are to work
in the mines, and some are to work in the factories. Some are to have a
less heavy punishment; they are to be set free, in the midst of Siberia,
to support themselves in any way they can. Gentlemen and ladies have a
small sum of money allowed them by the emperor, and they live in the
These people are called in Siberia, "the unfortunates." Some of them have
not deserved to be banished; but some have been guilty of crimes.
There are a few cities in Siberia, but only a few, and they have been
built by the Russians.
The three chief cities are,--
Tobolsk, on the west, on the river Oby.
Irkutsk, in the midst, on the lake Baikal.
Yarkutsk, on the east, on the river Lena.
OF THESE CITIES,
Tobolsk is the handsomest.
Irkutsk is the pleasantest.
Yarkutsk is the coldest.
It is not surprising that Tobolsk should be the handsomest, for there the
governor of Siberia resides.
A great many Chinese come to Irkutsk to trade, and they bring quantities
Yarkutsk is the coldest town in the world; there may be others nearer the
north, but none lie exposed to such cold winds. The inhabitants scarcely
dare admit the light, for fear of increasing the cold; and they make only
one or two very small windows in their houses. Yet in summer vegetables
grow freely in the gardens.
The Ostyaks live near the Oby.
The Buraets live near lake Baikal.
The Yakuts live near the Lena.
THE URAL MOUNTAINS.
They are full of treasures; gold, silver, iron, copper, and precious
stones. They are dug up by the banished Russians, and sent in great
wagons to Russia, to increase the riches of the emperor.
It is impossible to look at Siberia, without being struck with the shape
of Kamkatka, which juts out like a short arm. It is a peninsula. A
beautiful country it is; full of mountains, and rivers, and woods, and
waterfalls, and not as cold as might be expected. But there are not many
people dwelling in it; for though it is larger than Great Britain, all
the inhabitants might be contained in one of our small towns. And why
are there so few in so fine a country? Because the people love brandy
better than labor. They have been corrupted by the Russian soldiers, and
traders, and convicts, and they are sickening and dying away.
A traveller once said to a Kamkatdale, "How should you like to see a ship
arrive here from China, laden with tea and sugar?" "I should like it
well," replied the man, "but there is one thing I should like better--to
see a ship arrive full of _men_; it is men we want, for our men are sick;
of the twelve here, six are too weak to hunt or fish."
But the ship that would do the most good to Kamkatka, is a missionary
ship. The Greek church is the religion; but _no_ religion is much thought
of in Kamkatka; hunting and fishing only are cared for. Yet I fear if
missionaries were to go to Kamkatka, the emperor of Russia would send
Where there are few men, there are generally many beasts and birds; this
is the case in Kamkatka.
One of the most curious animals in Siberia, is the Argalis, or mountain
sheep. It is remarkable for its enormous horns, curled in a very curious
manner. Think not it is like one of our quiet, foolish sheep; there is no
animal at once so strong and so active. It is such a climber, that no
wolf or bear can follow it to the high places, hanging over awful
precipices, where it walks as firmly as you do upon the pavement.
Sometimes a hunter finds it among the mountains, and just as he is going
to shoot it, the creature disappears:--it has thrown itself down a
precipice! Is it dashed to pieces? No, it fell unhurt, and has escaped
without a bruise; for its bones are very strong, and its skin very thick.
The bears of Kamkatka live chiefly upon fish and berries, and seldom
attack men. Yet men hunt them for their skins, and for their fat. The
skins make cloaks, and the fat is used for lamps; but their flesh is
thrown to the dogs. Many of the bears are very thin. It is only _fat_
bears that can sleep all the winter in their dens without food; _thin_
bears cannot sleep long, and even in winter they prowl about for food.
Dogs are very much afraid of them. A large party of travellers, who were
riding in sledges, drawn by dogs, observed the dogs suddenly begin to
snuff the air, and lo! immediately afterwards, a bear at full speed
crossed the road, and ran towards a forest. Great confusion took place
among the dogs; they set off with all their might; some broke their
harness, others got entangled among the trees, and overturned their
sledges. But the bear did not escape; for the travellers shot him through
the leg, and afterwards through the body; and the dogs feasted on _his_
flesh, instead of the bear feasting on _theirs_.
Hunting seals is one of the occupations of the Kamkatdales. Three men in
sledges, each sledge drawn by five dogs, once got upon a large piece of
ice, near the shore. They had killed two seals upon the ice, when they
suddenly perceived that the ice was moving, and carrying them out to sea.
They were already too far from land, to be able to get back. They knew
not what would become of them, and much they feared they should perish
from cold and hunger. The ice was so slippery that they were in great
danger of sliding into the sea. To prevent this, they stuck their long
poles deep into the ice, and tied themselves to the poles. They were
driven about for many days; but one morning,--to their great joy, they
found they were close to the shore. They did not forget to praise God for
so mercifully saving their lives; though they were so weak from want of
food, as scarcely to be able to creep ashore.
CHARACTER.--The Kamkatdales are generous and grateful. A poor family will
sometimes receive another family into the house for six weeks; and when
the food is nearly gone, the generous host, not liking to tell his
visitors of it, serves up a dish of different sorts of meat and
vegetables, mixed together; the visitors know this is a sign that the
food is almost exhausted, and they take their leave.
Did I say the Kamkatdales are grateful? I will give you an instance of
their gratitude. A traveller met a poor boy. He remembered his face, and
said, "I think I have seen you before." "You have," said the boy; "I
rowed you down the river last summer, and you were so kind as to give me
a skin, and some flints; and now I have brought the skin of a sable as a
present for you." The traveller, perceiving the boy had no shirt, and
that his skin dress was tattered, refused the present; but seeing the boy
was going away in tears, he called him back, and accepted it. A Chinese
servant, who was standing by, pitied so much the ragged condition of the
boy, that he gave him one of his own thin nankin shirts.
I cannot tell you much about Thibet; and the reason is, that so few
travellers have been there. And why have so few been there? Is it because
the mountains are so steep and high, the paths so narrow and dangerous?
All this is true; but it is not mountains that keep travellers out of
Thibet; it is the Chinese government; for Thibet belongs to China, and
you know how carefully the emperor of China keeps strangers out of his
How did the Chinese get possession of Thibet? A long while ago, a Hindoo
army invaded the land, and the people in their fright sent to China for
help. The Chinese came, drove away the Hindoos, and stayed themselves.
They are not hard masters, they govern very mildly; only they require a
sum of money to be sent every year to Pekin, as tribute.
But though Thibet belongs to China, the Chinese language is not spoken
The people are like the Tartars in appearance; they have the same bony
face, sharp black eye, and straight black hair; but a much fresher
complexion, owing to the fresh mountain air they breathe.
The Himalaya mountains, the highest in Asia, lie between Thibet and
Hindostan. Their peaks are always covered with snow, and rapid streams
pour down the rugged sides. The snow on the mountain-tops makes Thibet
very cold; but there are warm valleys where grapes, and even rice
The people build their houses in the warmest spots they can find; they
try to find a place sheltered from the north wind, by a high rock, and
lying open to the south sun. Their dwellings are only made of stones,
heaped together, and the roofs are flat. Their riches consist in flocks
of sheep and goats. They have, another animal, which is not known in
England, and yet a very useful creature, because, like a cow, it yields
rich milk, and like a horse, it carries burdens. This animal is called
the Yak, and resembles both a horse and a cow. Its chief beauty is its
tail, which is much finer than a horse's tail, and is black, and glossy,
soft and flowing. Many of these tails are sent to India, where they are
used as fly-flappers.
The sheep and goats of Thibet are more useful than ours; for they are
taught to carry burdens over the mountains. They may be seen following
each other in long trains, with large packs fastened on their little
backs, and climbing up very narrow and steep paths.
And what is in these packs? Wool: not sheep's wool, but goat's wool: for
the goats of Thibet have very fine wool under their hair. No such wool is
found on any other goats. But though the people of Thibet can weave
common cloth, they cannot weave this beautiful wool, as it deserves to be
woven. Therefore they send it to a country the other side of the Himalaya
mountains, called Cashmere; and there it is woven into the most beautiful
shawls in all the world.
But wool is not the only riches of Thibet. There is gold to be found
there; some in large pieces, and some in small dust. There are also large
mines of copper. And what use is made of these riches? The worst in the
world. With the gold and copper many IDOLS are made; for Thibet is a land
of idols. The religion is the same there as in China,--the Buddhist;--and
that is a religion of idols.
But there is an idol in Thibet, which there is not in China. It is a
LIVING IDOL. He is called the Grand Lama. There are Lamas in Tartary, but
the GRAND Lama is in Thibet. He is looked up to as the greatest being in
the world, by all the Lamas in Tartary, and by all the people of the
Buddhist religion. There are more people,--a _great many_ more,--who
honor _him_, than who honor our GREAT GOD.
But this man leads a miserable life. When one Lama dies, another is
chosen;--some little baby,--and he is placed in a very grand palace, and
worshipped as a god all his life long. I have heard of one of these baby
Lamas, who, when only eighteen months old, sat up with great majesty on
his pile of cushions. When strangers entered, he looked at them kindly,
and when they made a speech to him, he bowed his little head very
graciously. What a sad fate for this poor infant! To be set up as a god,
and taught to think himself a god--while all the time he is a helpless,
foolish, sinful, dying creature!
This is the chief city of Thibet. Here is the palace of the Grand Lama.
If is of enormous size. What do you think of TEN THOUSAND rooms? Did you
ever hear of so _large_ a house? Neither did you ever hear of so _high_ a
house. It is almost as high as the pinnacle of St. Paul's church. There
are seven stories, and on the highest story are the state apartments of
the Grand Lama. It is no matter to him how many flights of stairs there
may be to reach his rooms; for he is never allowed to walk; but it is
fatiguing for his worshippers to ascend so high. I suppose the priests
make their Grand Lama live so high up, that he may be like our God who
dwells in the highest heavens. Who occupy the ten thousand rooms of the
palace? Chiefly idols of gold and silver. The house outside is richly
adorned, and its roof glitters with gold.
There are many magnificent houses in Thibet, where priests live. No one
could live with them, who could not bear a great noise: for three times a
day the priests meet to worship, and each time they hollo with all their
might, to do honor to Buddha. The noise is stunning, but they do not
think it loud enough; so on feast days, they use copper instruments, such
as drums and trumpets, of the most enormous size, and with them they send
forth an overwhelming sound.
This unmeaning noise may well remind us of a sound--louder far--that
shall one day be heard; so loud that _all the world_ will hear it. It is
the sound of the LAST TRUMPET! It will wake the dead. Stout hearts will
quail; devils will tremble; but all those who love the Lord, will rejoice
and say, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save
us."--(Is. xxv. 9.)
This is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Part of it indeed
is flat--that part near Hindustan; but in the midst--there are mountains;
and streams running down their sides, and swelling into lovely rivers,
winding along the fruitful valleys. Such scenes might remind you of
Switzerland, the most beautiful country in Europe.
The chief beauty of Ceylon is her TREES.
I will mention a few of the beautiful, curious, and useful trees of this
delightful island. The tree for which Ceylon is celebrated, is the
CINNAMON tree. For sixty miles along the shore, there are cinnamon
groves, and the sweet scent may be perceived far off upon the seas. If
you were to see a cinnamon-tree, you might mistake it for a laurel;--a
tree so often found in English gardens. The cinnamon-trees are never
allowed to grow tall, because it is only the upper branches which are
much prized for their bark. The little children of Ceylon may often be
seen sitting in the shade, peeling off the bark with their knives; and
this bark is afterwards sent to England to flavor puddings, and to mix
There are also groves of cocoa-nut trees on the shores of Ceylon. A few
of these trees are a little fortune to a poor man; for he can eat the
_fruit_, build his house with the _wood_, roof it with the _leaves_, make
cups of the _shell_, and use the oil of the _kernel_ instead of candles.
The JACK-TREE bears a larger fruit than any other in the world;--as large
as a horse's head,--and so heavy that a woman can only carry one upon her
head to market.. This large fruit does not hang on the tree by a stalk,
but grows out of the trunk, or the great branches. This is well arranged,
for so large a fruit would be too heavy for a stalk, and might fall off,
and hurt the heads of those sitting beneath its shade. The outside of
this fruit is like a horse-chestnut, green, and prickly; the inside is
yellow, and is full of kernels, like beans. The wood is like
mahogany,--hard and handsome.
But there is a tree in Ceylon, still more curious than the jack-tree. It
is the TALPOT-TREE. This is a very tall tree, and its top is covered by a
cluster of round leaves, each leaf so large, that it would do for a
carpet, for a common-sized room; and one single LEAF, cut it in
three-cornered pieces, will make a TENT! When cut up, the leaves are used
for fans and books. But this tree bears no fruit till just before it
dies,--that is till it is _fifty_ years old: THEN--an enormous bud is
seen, rearing its huge head in the midst of the crown of leaves;--the bud
bursts with a loud noise, and a yellow flower appears,--a flower so
large, that it would fill a room! The flower turns into fruit. THAT SAME
YEAR THE TREE DIES!
PEOPLE.--And who are the people who live in this beautiful land?
In the flat part of the island, towards the north, the people resemble
the Hindoos, and speak and think like them; and they are called Tamuls.
But among the mountains of the south a different kind of people live,
called the Cingalese. They do not speak the Tamul language, nor do they
follow the Hindoo religion. They follow the Buddhist religion. You know
this is the religion of the greater part of the nations. Ceylon is full
of the temples of Buddha. In each temple there is an inner dark room,
very large, where Buddha's image is kept,--a great image that almost
fills the room.
[Illustration: DEVIL PRIESTS.]
The priests in their yellow cloaks, with their shaven heads and bare
feet, may be seen every morning begging from door to door; but _proud_
beggars they are,--not condescending to _speak_,--but only standing with
their baskets ready to receive rice and fruit; and the only thanks they
give--are their blessings.
There is another worship in Ceylon, and it is more followed than the
worship of Buddha, yet it is the most horrible that you can imagine. It
is the worship of the DEVIL! Buddha taught, when he was alive, that there
was no God, but that there were many devils: yet he forbid people to
worship these devils; but no one minds what he said on that point.
There are many _devil priests_. When any one is sick, it is supposed that
the devil has caused the sickness, and a devil priest is sent for. And
what can the priest do? He dances,--he sings,--with his face
painted,--small bells upon his legs,--and a flaming torch in each hand;
while another man beats a loud drum. He dances, he sings--all night
long,--sometimes changing his white jacket for a black, or his black for
a white,--sometimes falling down, and sometimes jumping up,--sometimes
reeling, and sometimes running,--and all this he does to please the
devil, and to coax him to come out of the sick person. This is what he
_pretends_;--but in _reality_, he seeks to get money by his tricks. The
people are very fond of these devil-dancers; it _tires_ them to listen to
the Buddhist priests, mumbling out of their books, the five hundred and
fifty histories of Buddha; but it _delights_ them to watch all night the
antics of a devil priest.
What is the character of these deceived people? They are polite, and
obliging, but as deceitful as their own priests. They are not even
_sincere_ in their wrong religion, but are ready to _pretend_ to be of
any religion which is most convenient. The Portuguese once were masters
of Ceylon, and they tried to make the people Roman Catholics. Then the
Dutch came, who tried to force them to be Protestants. Many infants were
baptized, who grew up to be heathen priests. Now the English are masters
of Ceylon; they do not _oblige_ the people to be Christians, yet many
pretend to be Christians who are not.
A man was once asked, "Are you a Buddhist?"
"No," he replied.
"Are you a Mahomedan?"
"Are you a Roman Catholic?"
"What is your religion?"
Such was his answer. This man had no religion at all,--he only wished to
obtain the favor of the governor. But will he obtain the favor of the
Governor of the world, the King of kings?
We have said nothing yet about the appearance of the Cingalese. Both men
and women wear a piece of cloth wound round their waists, called a
comboy; but they do not, like the Hindoos, twist it over their shoulders;
they wear a jacket instead. Neither do the men wear turbans, as in India,
but they fasten their hair with a comb, while the women fasten theirs
with long pins. The Cingalese ladies and gentlemen imitate the English
dress, especially when they come to a party at the English Governor's
house. Then they wear shoes and stockings instead of sandals; the
gentlemen contrive to place a hat over their long hair, by first taking
out the combs; yet they still wind a comboy over their English clothes.
The Hindoos do not thus imitate the English, for they are too proud of
their own customs. Hindoo ladies never go into company; but Cingalese
ladies may be seen at parties, arrayed in colored satin jackets, and
adorned with golden hair-pins, and diamond necklaces.
You have heard of the foolish ideas the Hindoos entertain about castes.
It is the Brahmin priests who teach _them_ these opinions. The Buddhist
priests say nothing about castes; yet the Cingalese have castes of their
_own_; but not the _same_ castes as the Hindoos. There are twenty-one
castes in all; the highest caste consists of the husbandmen, and the
lowest of the mat-weavers.
Below the lowest caste, are the OUTCASTS! The poor outcasts live in
villages by themselves, hated by all. When they meet any one, who are not
outcasts, they go as near to the hedge as they can, with their hands on
the top of their heads, to show their respect. These poor creatures are
accustomed to be treated as if they were dogs. What pride there is in
man's heart! How is it one poor worm can lift himself up so high above
his fellow-worm, though both are made of the same dust, and shall lie
down in the same dust together!
This town is built among the high mountains. It was built there for the
same reason that the eagle builds her nest on the top of a tall rock,--to
get out of the reach of enemies. But the proud king, who once dwelt
there, has been conquered, and now England's Queen rules over Ceylon. No
wonder that the proud king had enemies, for he was a monster of cruelty.
His palace is still to be seen. See that high tower, and that open
gallery at the top! There the _last king_ used to stand to enjoy the
sight of his subjects' agonies. Those who had offended him were killed in
the Court below,--killed not in a common manner, but in all kinds of
barbarous ways,--such as by being cut in pieces, or by swallowing melted
lead. At length the Cingalese invited the English to come and deliver
them from their tyrant; the English came and shut him up in prison till
he died, and now an English governor rules over Ceylon.
The greatest curiosity to be seen at Kandy is a TOOTH! a tooth that the
people say was taken out of the mouth of their Buddha. It is kept in a
splendid temple on a golden table, in a golden box of great size. There
are seven boxes one inside the other, and in the innermost box, wrapped
up in gold, there is a piece of ivory, the size of a man's thumb,--that
is the tooth of Buddha! Every day it is worshipped, and offerings of
fruit and flowers are presented.
This is the chief _English_ town of Ceylon, as Kandy is the chief
_Cingalese_ town. The English governor lives here, but he has a house at
Kandy too, where he may enjoy the cool mountain air. There is a fine road
from Colombo to Kandy, broader and harder than, English roads; yet it is
out through steep mountains, and winds by dangerous precipices. But there
are laborers in Ceylon stronger than any in England. I mean the
ELEPHANTS. It is curious to see this huge animal meekly walking along
with a plank across its tusks, or dragging wagons full of large stones.
Among the mountains there are herds of _wild_ elephants, sometimes a
hundred may be seen in one herd. There are no elephants in the world as
courageous as those of Ceylon, yet they are very obedient when tamed. If
you wished to visit the mountains, you might safely ride upon the back of
the sure-footed elephant, and all your brothers and sisters, however
many, might ride with you.
MISSIONARIES.--There are some in Ceylon, and some of the heathens have
obeyed their voice.
There was once a devil priest. Having been detected in some crime, he was
imprisoned at Kandy, and while in prison he read a Christian tract, and
was converted. Thus (like Onesimus, of whom we read in the Bible,) he
escaped from _Satan's_ prison, while shut up in _man's_ prison. When he
was set free, he was baptized by the missionary at Kandy, and he chose to
be called Abraham. What name did he choose for his son, a boy of
fourteen? Isaac. He buried his conjuring books, though he might have sold
them for eight pounds. His cottage was in a village fifteen miles from
Kandy. He had left it--a _wicked_ man; lib returned to it a _good_ man.
After some time, a missionary went to visit Abraham in his cottage. A
good Cingalese was his guide. The walk there was beautiful, along narrow
paths, amidst fields of rice, through dark thickets, and long grass. No
one in Abraham's village had ever seen the fair face of an Englishman;
and the sight of the missionary alarmed the inhabitants. Abraham's family
was the only Christian family in that place. How glad Abraham felt at the
sight of the missionary,--almost as glad as the _first_ Abraham felt at
the sight of the three angels. When the missionary entered, Abraham was
teaching his wife, for she was soon to be baptized. By what name? By the
name of Sarah. There were seven children in the family. How hard it must
be for Abraham to bring them up as Christians, in the midst of his
heathen neighbors. Even his brothers hate him, wound his cattle, and
break down his fences. Once they pointed a gun at him, but it did not go
off. Abraham's comfort is to walk over to Kandy every Saturday, to
worship God there on Sunday with the Christians; and he does not find
fifteen miles too far for his willing feet. May the Lord preserve
Abraham, faithful in the midst of the wicked.
This is the largest island in the world, except one. Borneo is of a
different shape from our Britain, but if you could join Britain and
Ireland in one, both together would not be as large as Borneo. Yet how
unlike is Borneo to Britain! Britain is a Christian island. Borneo is a
heathen island. Yet Borneo is not an island of _idols_, as Ceylon is.
_All_ heathens do not worship idols. I will tell you who live in Borneo,
and you will see why there are so few idols there.
Many people have come from Malacca, and settled in Borneo; so the island
is full of Malays. These people have a cunning and cruel look, and no
wonder;--for many of them are PIRATES! It is a common custom in Borneo to
go out in a large boat,--to watch for smaller boats,--to seize them--to
bind the men in chains, and to bring them home as slaves. There are no
seas in the world so dangerous to sail in, as the seas near Borneo, not
only on account of the rocks, but on account of the great number of
pirates. What is the religion of Borneo? It is Mahomedanism. But the
Malays do not follow the laws of Mahomet as the Turks do. They do not
mind the hours of prayer, nor do they attend regularly at the mosque.
This is not surprising, for they do not understand the Koran. Mahomet
wrote in Arabic, and the Malays do not understand Arabic. Why do they not
get the Koran translated? Mahomet did not wish the book to be translated.
Why then do not the Malays learn Arabic? I wonder they do not, but I
suppose they are too idle, and too careless. The boys go to school and
learn to read and write their own easy language--the Malay; and they
learn also to repeat whole chapters of the Koran, but without
understanding a word. Still they think it a great advantage to know these
chapters, because they imagine that by repeating them, they can drive
away evil spirits.
The Malays observe Mahomet's law against eating pork; but many of them
drink wine, though Mahomet forbids it. However, they follow Mahomet in
not having dancing at their feasts; indeed, their behavior at feasts is
sober and orderly, for they amuse themselves chiefly by singing, and
repeating poems. They have only two meals a day, and they live chiefly
upon rice, which they eat, sitting cross-legged on the floor. They get
tea from China, and drink many cups during the day, in the same way as
The ladies are treated like the ladies of Turkey, and shut up in their
houses, to spend their time in folly and idleness.
The men scarcely work at all, but employ the slaves they have stolen at
sea, to labor in their fields. Their houses are not better than barns,
and not nearly as strong; for the sides and roof are generally made only
of large leaves. They are built upon posts, as in Siam. It is well to be
out of the reach of the leeches, crawling on the ground.
The Malays dress in loose clothes, trowsers, and jacket, and broad sash;
the women are wrapped in a loose garment, and wear their glossy black
hair flowing over their shoulders. The rich men dress magnificently, and