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The Three Comrades by Kristina Roy

Part 2 out of 2

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to me as if even the walls of our house would fall down on me.

"My splendid, kind father let me go sadly. I had half-a-year more
school to complete, and one more examination. My dear parents rejoiced
that then I would be wholly their's, because they had only me, and for
me they worked and saved. My Uncle agreed with me in everything. Like
me, he did not want to enter the narrow path which leads to glory.
With the conclusion of the school-year, my study of singing also
ended, and I returned home with the intention of persuading my parents
to permit me to enter the opera--that means, to become a singer. More
than half-a-year I fought at home with pleas and tears, but in
vain. My father was wonderfully patient and kind to me. Mother
and grandmother were often not so patient, but, like these grand
mountains, they would not move, nor could anyone move my father to
break his word that he would never give me permission to go. Well,
what he did not give me, I took myself."

"What did you do?" compassionately asked Bacha. The lady broke out

"I left home, leaving a letter behind saying that I loved the world,
in which and for which, I wanted to live, and I loved the glory of the
world and did not want to bury myself on the farm. I ran away to my
Uncle's. My dear father came at once for me. He begged and pled, but I
didn't want to go back with him, and did not do so.

"'When you find out that the world is as vain as soap-bubbles, and
your heart is full of disillusionment, ready to despair, then remember
that you have a father and a home to return to,' said father. 'Until
that time you cannot count yourself one of us. We are standing on two
different paths: the one we go on is narrow and leads high; the other,
which you have chosen, is broad and will lead you from the heights to
a deep abyss. Our prayers will surround you always like a fiery wall.
I know that you will have to suffer much evil and much sorrow, but our
prayers will prevent you from sinning as grievously as you will see
others do around you.'

"Those were his last words. Oh, Bacha Filina, I went over that broad
path. In a short time I was a famous singer. The people carried me on
their arms. Though I was a simple farmer's daughter, because of the
courses of the good schools which I had attended, the doors of high
society opened to me, and I, like the prodigal, very soon forgot my
parents, and especially my good father. Then Lord Gemer came into my
life, and I married him, being ready to leave everything for him, even
my fame. He promised me that even when I was his wife, he would agree
to my keeping on with my singing. He kept that promise while we were
in America and Italy. But in his native country it was impossible.

"And then everything began to turn out just as my dear father
foretold. But I don't want to talk about that. I just wanted to say
that I am that prodigal son."

"That you are, my lady, but only half-way; because the son returned,
and you haven't returned yet."

"No, you are right. I haven't returned yet. When I had forsaken the
man who betrayed me, I was ashamed, for I was forsaken, betrayed, and
robbed of all means to return home. When I asked my uncle to help me,
though he sent me some money, he also sharply admonished me either to
return to my husband or to go back to my parents and do penance, but
this I did not want to do. It seemed to me that all sinned against me,
and I only was innocent. I had to live. And so I began to sing again,
though with a broken heart. In a short time I had the world again
lying at my feet, but, being so forsaken, I soon recognized its whole
rottenness. How right my father was; I could not sin as I saw others
around me doing. Therefore I had to suffer much till I could go on no
longer. Since my health broke down, I cancelled my contract and betook
myself to search for my son. I wanted to see him, at least once more,
before I died. That is all."

"That is not everything," said Filina kindly with a smile as he
rose. "The end will be only when the daughter returns, first to her
heavenly, and then also to her earthly father. He that received me,
will surely receive you too. But now come and go to rest, and think
how perhaps in a distant land your father is praying just now for you,
and that the heavenly Father loved us so much that He gave His only
Son for us. Goodnight!"

In a little while the stars shone down upon a quiet place while the
people slept.


The doctor came the next day, just as Bacha Filina had expected him.
He came in his coach as far as the sheepcotes, and before Ondrejko
realized it, he carried away his mother, and also Bacha Filina. Before
they went they arranged for Ondrejko to remain longer with Bacha, and
he would go to his mother only for visits.

"Palko, take the boys," commanded Bacha, "and go with them somewhere
in the woods where nobody will interfere, and pray that the Lord God
may help us to successfully arrange for what we have before us."

So they prayed, and believed that the Lord Jesus heard them.

Late in the evening, Bacha returned. The boys were already asleep. In
the morning he told them that everything that could be done yesterday
was carried out successfully, but that there was another matter which
would take about a week before they could know how it would turn out,
so they must keep on praying.

And what a week it was! The boys never lived through another like it.
Sometimes they were with Ondrejko at his mother's. Again she came to
the sheepcotes, and when she remained till the evening she loved to
spend the night in the wooden hut. Aunty used to return before the
evening in the company of Petrik. He loved to do this, because he
always got a very good supper there. Then Ondrejko slept with his
mother. How beautiful that was! She sat on his bed, told him many good
things, petted, and kissed him till he fell asleep. In the morning
again, he woke her up early. He jumped from his bed, threw his arms
around her neck and timidly kissed her beautiful lips. What beautiful
moments these were! Ondrejko was allowed to accompany his mother even
when Bacha Filina took her to show her all three sheepfolds. They
walked together over the clearings, looked at the herds of sheep, and
spoke with the herdsmen. She was so friendly and kind to them. On the
other hand, this helped to improve her health. After such a walk
she ate and slept very well. Ondrejko was glad that she liked Bacha
Filina. He treated her very nicely, just like a lady, as if she were
his own daughter. On Saturday Ondrejko went with his mother to the
cottage. There he was to have dinner with her. Both of his comrades
were invited for the afternoon, and with them, of course, came Dunaj
and Fido, but the cat was not afraid of them, and when they saw this
they let her alone.

The boy ran joyfully into the room, but on the doorstep he halted,
because his beautiful mother sat at a table. In her hand she held a
long letter ready for the mail, and she cried. Oh, how bitterly she
cried! She was cheered up when he ran to her and began to hug and kiss
her; she returned his kisses but did not stop crying. "Why do you cry
so much, my mother?" he said sadly. "What is it about?"

"About myself, my loved one, because I am very bad."

Ondrejko would not admit that. To him, a mother seemed like an angel,
but Palko had read only yesterday the saying: "THEY ALL HAVE SINNED
AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD," and added that so long as one
does not realize this and thinks himself good enough, the Lord Jesus
cannot save him, because only sick ones need a doctor; and Bacha
Filina had added that only the Holy Spirit can bring a soul to such
conviction. It must be then, that the Holy Spirit had begun to teach
his mother also. Surely the Lord Jesus would soon find her!

"Why do you think, mother, that you are bad?" the boy timidly asked.

"Because I have a very good father, and have grieved him very much.
Look, Ondrejko; I have written now for the first time in many years."

"And surely you have asked his forgiveness? Have you not?"

"Yes, I did; but is it possible to forgive such a sinner?"

"The father forgave his prodigal son because he loved him," the boy
said seriously. "Did your father love you also, my mother?"

The lady sighed sadly, but did not cry any more.

"He would surely receive you if you would return home."

"I will see if he will answer me, and what he will say."

"Mother, was not your father my grandfather?"

"Yes, my darling; and if the good Lord grant that I may be able to
count you all my own, and you will be only mine, then we will go
together, and you will help me to ask him. He will surely not refuse
you; you will understand one another better, because you both love the
Lord Jesus and you are His sheep."

The boy rejoiced. The grandfather loved the Lord Jesus! "How glad I
am! Oh, then he will surely forgive you."

They could not continue their talk because Aunty Moravec called them
to dinner, which was very good. Joe came after dinner; he was carrying
cheese to town and stopped to ask if there was anything to be mailed.
The lady gave him her letter, and Aunty a slip and money to buy
various things at the stores, with a big piece of cake to eat on the
way. From the lady he received money to buy cherries for himself and
the boys, if there were any good ones.

That afternoon it was quite jolly in and about the cottage when the
comrades came. Ondrejko was glad that his mother was so joyful. She
taught them all kinds of nice games. She even went with them on the
"Old Hag's Rock," and there Palko had to tell her also how he found
his Sunshine Country. That interested her very much. He recalled
twice, how he was lost as a small child and grew up with strange
people, and how the Lord Jesus took care that he came again to his
parents. A whole book could be written about how he fared in the
world.[A] Madame Slavkovsky was very much interested in that. When
they later walked to the sheepcotes, all along the way she asked about
Palko's mother, who in her sorrow for the lost boy also lost her
reason till she finally found him and the Lord Jesus returned her son
to her. They did not realize how quickly they came to the huts.

[Footnote A: See the first part of "The Sunshine Country."]

It was a beautiful evening; the sunset covered the sky with its rosy
curtains. The sun sank behind the mountains, and as if in parting
kissed the valleys and the people, and especially seemed to kiss the
beautiful lady who sat by the open fire in deep thought.

"If you can sing so beautifully," begged Palko, "and many people went
to hear you, we also would like you to do so. Sing for us, if you

"Oh, Palko." The lady shook her head. "You wouldn't like my song.
Besides you wouldn't understand me. I sang mostly in English, Italian,
but also in Czech, but the text of these songs would not fit in with
this sacred evening closing around us. But because I would like to
reward you, Palko, for so beautifully relating your experiences, let
me just think a moment."

They waited; and it was so quiet around them that they could almost
hear one another breathe; and in the distance the bells of the flocks

Finally, she lifted her head. "After all, I remember something, and it
is in the Slovak language. Once I learned this song about the sea,
and when I sang it, thousands of people wept. It is a ballad about a
shipwrecked vessel. Would you like to have me sing it?"

"Yes, yes," they all cried. Bacha had just arrived and sat among them.
What a beautiful thing it is when the Creator puts such a voice in the
human throat that no bird or instrument can equal it! You can hear
everything in such a voice: the ringing of gold and silver, the
moaning in the tops of the pines when they move in the wind; the
babbling of the brooks as well as the roar of a great cataract--yes,

"Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o'ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;

"Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threat'ning
A grave in the angry deep?"

Sweetly, yet mysteriously and sadly, the notes of the song floated on
the evening breeze down to the valley. Once, when the lady tried the
song for the first time, thousands of people cried. Today only a small
company of listeners cried, but I think that even the woods and the
brooks and everything round wept also. Above all of them wept Bacha
Filina. Palko who sat next to him laid his arm around his neck and
cried with him. He understood him. Thus perished once the ship that
carried Stephen. It sank in the terrible depths with him. In vain they
waited, in vain they called. Uncle Filina would never see him again.

The boys did not dream, nor the helpers of Bacha, that anything
existed as beautiful as that which was hidden in the lady's throat.
You could almost hear the crashings of the breaking ship, and feel the
hopelessness of the situation. It ended like sad, soft wailings of the
perishing ones. The lady noticed the weeping her song had awakened.
She realized that it would not be easy to stop it. Then she did
something which that very morning she would have been in doubt that
she would be able to do. She sang a song hidden in her memory from her
old home, and which she had hated with her whole heart, because she
could not forget it.

"My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Saviour Divine!
Now hear me while I pray,
Take all my guilt away,
Oh, let me from this day
Be wholly Thine!

"May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire!
As Thou hast died for me,
Oh, may my love to Thee,
Pure, warm, and changeless be,
A living fire!

"While life's dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread,
Be Thou my guide;
Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow's tears away,
Nor let me ever stray
From Thee aside.

"When ends life's transient dream,
When death's cold, sullen stream
Shall o'er me roll;
Blest Saviour, then, in love,
Fear and distrust remove;
Oh, bear me safe above,
A ransomed soul!"

Perhaps nowhere and never before, were those beautiful lines sung so
impressively. When she stopped, Bacha Filina stood near her and very
seriously said, "Thank you, Madame Slavkovsky, for that precious song.
You have shown me great kindness thereby. Your beautiful ballad opened
a deep wound in my heart which was not quite healed. It almost seemed
that I must die because of it, but this holy song healed it again. God
bless you for it! But one thing I must ask you: let us write this song
down, and you must teach us the melody that we may cheer ourselves
with it in life and death."

The lady promised, but asked that they might now read the Word of God,
as she felt tired. They did this very gladly, and in a little while a
wonderful quietness reigned.

"Listen, Steve," said Joe to his comrade; "In the castle they said
that when the lady went home after singing in the theatre that
gentlemen unhitched the horses from her carriage, and hitched
themselves to it and thus drew her along. I am not surprised. Really,
when she sings, she can do anything with a person."


On Sunday morning the doctor brought some papers. They all had met
at breakfast in the hut. When the lady read the letters, she folded
Ondrejko in her arms, and half-crying and half-laughing said, "My dear
son, now you may really say, 'our woods,' 'our sheep,' because I have
bought it all for you, my Ondrejko, and all this ground. Only I don't
know if I dare say: 'Our Bacha Filina.' I cannot, if it were not for
you. He himself must decide if he will stay with us. Do tell him that
he must stay."

"Do not ask, Ondrejko," smiled Bacha. "If you are at all satisfied
with me--yes, if you are satisfied with all of us--we all will be glad
to stay; isn't it so, boys?"

"Surely we will be very glad to stay," answered the herdsmen.

Soon it was known at all three sheepfolds that Madame Slavkovsky had
bought Lord Gemer's estate and that she would deed it to Ondrejko if
Lord Gemer would give up her son to her. No one doubted that he would
do this, and since the present manager gave notice to leave, because
he had been called to manage a different estate, the lady hoped that
she would find some other responsible man. She promised everyone a
raise in wages as soon as the change of ownership of the estate was
recorded and improvements made. Everybody rejoiced. It almost seemed
that even the sheep knew that Ondrejko had become their master. It was
lovely how they rang their bells.

Over the sheepcotes every once in a while sounded the song which they
called the lady's: "My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary."
The boys taught it to everybody who wanted to learn it, and what
Slovak would not like to learn a new song? When Aunty Moravec noticed
how they all liked it, she confided to Palko that she still had a
whole book of such songs from America. Thereupon, Ondrejko begged his
mother to sing one of them once in a while. She made no excuses. Every
day she taught them a new one, each more beautiful than those before.
They did not realize that she taught them the very songs from which
she ran away in the home of her parents, and which she would neither
hear nor sing there. Bacha permitted the herders from the other
sheepcotes to come over to his hut. They loved to come for those
songs. They had good voices, clear as the evening bells. The lady
even taught them to sing one in four parts. When Sunday came, they
practised the whole afternoon, and sang in the evening, so that it
sounded over the mountains like a beautiful melody.

That Sunday Palko read and explained how the Lord came from Nazareth
to live in Capernaum, since they did not want Him in Nazareth, and
that even today the Lord Jesus did not want to compel anybody, even as
He had not compelled those in Nazareth, but went away and left them
forever. Then he begged everybody not to send the Lord Jesus away, but
permit Him to live with them. "It would be very sad if our sheepcotes
would be like those of Nazareth, and if He had to forsake us and go
farther on to Capernaum. Where He is, there is heaven and there is
life. He heals every sickness. Just notice how many people He healed
in Capernaum. But where He is not, there is darkness, just as in that
song it says: 'Oh, there is no more salvation.'"

With serious thoughts they all departed to their rest. Ondrejko slept
very soundly, but in spite of that it seemed to him that he heard his
mother crying. In the morning he saw from her eyes that she had not
slept very much. He dared not wake her up. So he stole out on tiptoe
with his suit and dressed outside.

Once when Joe brought things from the city and Aunty Moravec gave him
a good meal, he began to praise his new lady and asked sincerely, "But
why did Lord de Gemer part with her? He will not find another like her
in the world."

"He did not part with her, but she parted with him," said the old
nurse with clouded face. "He is a bad, unfaithful man. The poor woman
loved him so much and believed everything. When she took him, she had
much money; and he just lived on her money and wasted it. He played
cards and did all kinds of evil things. By the time we came to
Budapest she was robbed of everything. He wanted her to continue to
sing there. She had beautiful jewels; he told her he would deposit
them in a bank, but he pawned them, because at the horse-races he had
lost a big bet and needed much money. When he said that I warned her
not to let everything go out of her power, through false accusation he
separated me from her, accusing me of causing trouble between them.
When there was no one else to defend her and she was robbed of
everything, they began to look down upon her--his mother, his sisters,
and he himself. She was born in America; there they treat women
differently. In spite of it she suffered a whole year because she
loved him very much. Once she saw her jewelry on another lady, and
asked where she had bought them. Thus she found out that they were
pawned and had been sold for the charges on them. There were many
evil-minded people around her; they opened her eyes after that to what
kind of a husband she had, how he fooled and robbed her, that he loved
only her money. That was most insulting to her. Not an hour more would
she stay with him under the same roof. She got together the last
things she had--above all her little son--and went to Vienna. There
I found her dangerously sick. She asked her husband to send her her
things, for she was sick. He again asked for the boy but she would not
give him up. In order that they might not take him away, I, myself,
took him to northern Bohemia, to my own family, where it was well with
him. In the meantime the lawsuit ended, and they took him away from
her because he was assigned to his father. Because she did not give
the boy up at once, he sent her, from her clothing and laundry, only
what was old and shabby. His relatives divided her beautiful, valuable
garments among themselves. Thus they dealt with her because nobody
would protect her. In those hard days, her uncle from America, who had
arranged for her training in singing, helped her. Thus she could pay
for the upkeep of the boy, and we went first to Berlin, then to Rome
and Paris. She sang to make her living, but also that she might regain
the honor of which Lord Gemer wanted to rob her, when he had parted
with her and had told all kinds of evil about her, which he could not
prove. Later we went to England, and finally to Russia. There she
fared the best. There she might have become a rich princess, but she
would not look at any man again. How glad the gentlemen there would
have been if she would have spoken to them as kindly as she speaks
here with you. But the purer the life she led, the more they bothered
her, and the more she did not want to live. She said she wanted to see
her boy once more before she died. For a long time we could not find
out where the boy was. Finally, she got sick on the railroad, and by
God's direction Dr. H. helped her. From him she learned all the truth,
and after that he brought her here. And now you know why she left the
Lord de Gemer."

"That robber, that gypsy, that deceiver, how he fooled and robbed her!
If one of us steals a chicken or the like he is put at once behind the
bars. Such a gentleman can do everything, but if she would just go to
law he would have to return her everything," said Joe angrily.

"Yes, he would have to, but she doesn't want to. She is not concerned
about mammon. All she wants is to have peace from him forever. But
that he should not make any trouble about the child, I wrote to our
lawyer who was to make the arrangements for her, to threaten him with
a lawsuit for the jewelry and money if he would not give up the boy
willingly. My lady will never know what I did. Our lawyer is a good
friend, and a decent and honest man, not such an one as we had

That Joe did not keep this news to himself is true. Thus Filina's
helpers found out what kind of a master they had only after he ceased
to be their lord. To the last one all took the lady's part. All were
sorry for her and wished her to have the record very soon in black and
white, that the boy was hers only, and the father had no more claims
on him. Everyone greeted her very respectfully wherever they met her.
She walked sadly and in deep contemplation. Only among the boys was
she cheerful.

In the sheepcotes also they were once in a while in sad contemplation.
They counted the days before Lesina would come for Palko and take
him away. When Ondrejko with tears in his eyes confided this to his
mother, her cheeks turned pale with fright. It had never occurred
to her that Palko would leave, and she could not even imagine those
surroundings without him. One day he accompanied her to the cottage.
She had promised him a nice song; he had come in to get it.

"Palko, do you want to go away from us?" she began suddenly, and took
the boy by the hand.

"Verily, even next week my father is coming," he said seriously. "Then
we will have about five days' more work with the timber, and then we
shall leave."

"But you will be glad to go home; will you not?"

"Really very glad," he confessed sincerely. "Since I have not seen my
mother for weeks, nor grandfather nor grandmother and all, nor have
they seen me. They will be glad when I come, and I more than they all,
because we all will be together again."

"And will you not be sorry for your comrades? They will miss you

"Yes, indeed; I will be very lonesome without them and Uncle Filina.
I love him very much, like my old pastor Malina. I am thankful to the
Lord Jesus that Uncle is healthy and will not yet die, but will tell
his helpers about the Lord Jesus, and everybody else. Only one thing
worries me; it is that when I go away, I shall not find out what you,
lady, will do with the Lord Jesus. You taught us such beautiful songs;
till my death I shall be thankful to you for them. You have sung so
beautifully for us, like an angel from heaven; but you do not believe
what you have been singing. I am sorry for that, and the Lord Jesus is
sorry also. Yesterday you taught us the song:

"Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o'ershadowed,
Safely my soul shall rest."

"It would fit you so beautifully if you would give yourself in His
hands just as the shepherd carries the lost sheep. It would be so good
for you in His arms; I know that best of all. While here among you,
more than once homesickness for my mother threatened to overcome me;
but when I considered that He is with me, it was well with me at once,
and I was right at home. You have met already much evil in the world
and more than once you were sad, were you not? But He would console
you. However, if you would let Him go away like the people of
Nazareth, He will go on, but you would remain alone. Ondrejko told me
that you have a very good father, that your father already belongs to
the Lord Jesus. Ondrejko belongs to Him also; sometime they both will
go to Him, and you will be left alone," and Palko broke out crying.

"Do not cry," said the lady in a peculiar voice. "I don't want to be
like the people at Nazareth. I would like to go on that narrow path,
but I cannot find it. I am too full of sin for God to receive me. So
long as my earthly father does not forgive me, I cannot seek the face
of God."

Their talk was broken off when they came to the bench, because Aunty
Moravec came to meet them, all pale, "A special messenger brought a
telegram. Please sign here."

The lady's knees began to tremble. She sat on the bench, signed the
paper, and handed it to Aunty, then quickly she opened the telegram
and read. Dark spots formed before her eyes. Unable to see, she handed
the telegram to the boy. "Palko, read me that," and Palko read:

"New York. I am embarking. Coming to see you. Your loving father."

"Is it really so, Palko?"

"It is."

"Oh, my father, my father! He is coming to us. He still loves and
forgives. Palko, pray for me, for something will happen to me,"
bitterly crying, the lady fell on her knees.

Palko prayed, "Thank Thee, Lord Jesus, that her father is coming, that
he has forgiven her, though he is still far away, yet Thou art here.
If she will just ask Thee, Thou wilt forgive her, because Thou dost
love her so much, I know. Amen."

Life and death is in the power of the tongue. In the words of Palko
there was life. The lady believed that the Good Shepherd was really
there, that He came to meet her. Once she had run away from Him; today
she did not want to run away. Today she confessed her transgressions
to Him. She knew well that it was against Him she had sinned most,
that she had gone from Him, to her own destruction. She had despised
Him when He had stretched out His pierced hands to her, though they
had been nailed on the cross for her sake. She had not wanted to sing
to His honor and glory; and had hated the songs of the Lamb. She had
wanted to sing for the people and had--but they had repaid her by
breaking her heart. But He, whom she despised, had followed her here.
She had not wanted to hear famous preachers; but He had sent a
child along her path that he might lead her to the feet of the Good
Shepherd. The Good Shepherd did not despise her; at last He had
received her. Palko did not understand what the lady prayed, for she
prayed in English, but he understood the tone. The Lord Jesus was
with her and she knew it and talked with Him. Palko rose silently and
respectfully, and left the place which now belonged to the lady and
the Good Shepherd.


"Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what the day may
bring forth," says the Word of God, and that truly. Even at the
sheepfolds they did not dream what the next day would bring to them,
the serious illness of Ondrejko's mother. The doctor, very much
worried, said that the unexpected message about the arrival of her
beloved father, whom she had not seen for years, shocked her so much,
that she fell into a nervous illness, which he had wanted to prevent
by bringing her here to the mountains. Only Palko and Bacha Filina
knew that there was something more which overcame her. They spoke
about it only between themselves and prayed for the lady very much.
She seemed to recognize no one. She lay in her bed like a beautiful
flower broken from its stem. In vain did Ondrejko whisper to her, and
stroke and kiss her. She looked at him but did not answer. Only one
thing consoled her poor child, that she had an expression, whether
she slept or not, as though she were very happy. At times she sang
beautiful songs to the honor of the Lamb; other times again, a sea
ballad, and after that always the song, "My faith looks up to Thee."
Thus two weeks passed by without any change.

In the meantime Lesina came; he finished what was necessary and
went away, but did not take Palko with him. He could not do that to
Ondrejko, who nestled to his comrade like a little bird driven out of
its nest. The doctor said Ondrejko would surely be sick if his comrade
left him just at this time. Bacha promised Lesina that he himself
would take Palko home when the lady got better, because he believed
that the lady would get well, although the doctor gave no hope that
she would not die or that she would not lose her mind. For this reason
also, Lesina could not take Palko away, for it seemed that the sick
lady knew him. When he read in his Book she looked at him as if she
listened, and though she did not say anything, she was always so quiet
and happy.

In the meantime the answer came from Paris, and the unfortunate lady
did not know that the boy who sat beside her bed so pale, now belonged
only to her, and that no one else had any right to him. Neither did
she know about another message--yes, even two; one coming from Hamburg
in which her father announced that he had arrived safely; the other
announcing his coming on Saturday evening to the nearest railway
station. The Bacha very sadly stood at the foot of the lady's bed with
both messages in his hands, and Aunty Moravec cried bitterly.

"What shall we do, Bacha Filina? He is coming from such a distance and
knows nothing. How will he take it, when he finds her thus, and
will hear that because of his telegram this sickness overcame her?
Previously, in Russia, the doctors had told her that some day her
nerves might give way. Oh, what will the poor father say? He wanted to
give her joy, and it has turned out like this."

"What God does and permits, is always good," Filina said, nodding his
head. "Do not worry; I am going for her father, and on the way will
prepare him for what he will find here."

"Bacha Filina, take me along to meet Grandfather," begged Ondrejko,
when Bacha was getting ready in the afternoon.

"I am going on foot; that would be too far for you, my boy," said
Bacha, stroking the boy's head. "You just remain with your mother
and wait for your grandfather here. At the station I shall take a
carriage; I think that in the evening, about eight o'clock, we shall
be here."

Bacha kissed the boy, though he usually did not do so, and in a moment
his giant-like figure disappeared in the thicket by the clearing. He
picked the shortest way over paths well-known to him, but still it
took about two hours before he reached the main road leading to J----.
There he suddenly stopped. He turned to the east, where on a steep
rock stood an old, recently repaired cross. Oh, human memory, how
strange thou art! Bacha needed only to look at the cross, and at once,
as if the years flew back, it seemed to him as if he was standing
there like a nineteen-year-old youth. A desire overtook him to go up
to the cross, bend over its side and look again on the path on which,
on that summer morning, his brother, Stephen, had left, never to
return again. He went on that "breaking" ship to a "cold grave." Bacha
Filina could not resist that desire. For about a quarter of an hour
he kneeled at the cross, and rested his forehead on the stone step.
Inexpressible sorrow shook him. It wanted to rob him of his assurance
of forgiveness, but in and around him it was suddenly as if somebody

"My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Saviour Divine!
Now hear me while I pray,
Take all my guilt away;
Oh, let me from this day,
Be wholly Thine!"

His heavy load of sin had been cleansed by that precious blood! The
Lord Jesus took his guilt with Him on the cross and the Holy God had
forgiven him! But what was he doing here now? What had he come here
for? What did he waste the time here for? Yonder in the cottage,
Ondrejko's mother was half-alive and half-dead, and from afar her
father from beyond the ocean was coming to his child. If he, Filina,
would delay here, they might miss each other at the station.

Bacha stood up, dusted off his Sunday clothes, put his firm arm around
the cross and bent over, as once many years ago! It was good that the
cross was firm and also the arm that clung to it. Bacha saw on the
sloping path a man of slim figure, in a gentleman's suit, drawing
near. Just then he stopped. He turned round; he took his hat from his
head and looked in the direction where once stood Filina's hut. All
that marked the place were a few half-burned timbers, now overgrown
with weeds. Oh, that face! There was only one like it, never
forgotten, younger--but nevertheless!

Bacha closed his eagle eyes that they might not fool him. He opened
them only when the steps drew nearer to him from below. He let go the
cross and crossed his arms on his chest. Looking up he stood face to
face with the stranger.

"Good evening," said he.

"Oh, Stephen!" It came out of the chest of Bacha. Half cry, half

"Peter! Is it you!" Two arms twined around Filina's neck.

"Stephen! You live? Really? It is not possible!"

"I live, Peter, and at last, I am coming. It is rather late, it's
true, but I did not know before that the loved one who once separated
us, had passed away long ago, and that you and I would not have any
more heartaches. I am coming to you for my treasures, which are in
your care."

"Your treasures?" Bacha was surprised still, not knowing whether it
was a beautiful, but impossible dream. He could not get enough of the
voice that was speaking to him. The face was older, changed, but the
voice was the same. It always sounded to Peter Filina like music. And
so it was today.

"We are expecting the father of Madame Slavkovsky today, and I am
going to meet him."

"I am that father."

"You, Stephen?" Bacha released the stranger. "I do not understand

"I believe you, my Peter. Well, how you have changed, how strong you
have gotten, how giantlike, like the beautiful mountains all around!
I would not have recognized you, if it were not for the voice--no one
has called me thus since--and by your eagle eyes under those heavy

"Stephen, tell me, how is it possible that you live? Was not that ship

"Yes, Peter, she went to the bottom of the sea; but I was among the
few immigrants which another ship saved. God does not want the death
of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live; so He saved me.
The first steady work that I had in America was on the farm of Mr.
Slavkovsky. My daughter wrote me that she told you everything about
us. Thus you know what Slavkovsky asked of me and that I agreed to do
as he wished. When he heard from me that I did not want you to know
that I still lived, he advised me to adopt his name and thus disappear
forever from this world. His wife and son, and even my good wife,
agreed with it. Thus Stephen Pribylinsky died and only Stephen
Slavkovsky remained. I could not return home and live with you, as our
father planned. Eva was your wife and I loved her. I did not really
know God and the Lord Jesus then, nor understood His Holy Law; but
this much I knew, that it would have been a constant and a great
temptation for us all. Thus, I chose to die to you."

Slavkovsky finished, and out of Bacha's breast came a deep sigh. "You
died for us, and until recently I worried very much about it, that I
had become a murderer and was like Cain."

"You? And why?"

"Did I not drown you the second time in that swamp, by driving you to
America? Eva loved you more. Had it not been for me, you could have
lived as happily as in Paradise. You would have been mated much
better. At my side, she perished of sorrow. My father did not live
long; I took care of mother, but could not replace her son to her. See
yonder the burnt remains of our hut, where we once lived so happily.
Years ago, when I took up this service which I have held ever since, I
rented it to a neighbor. He did not take good care and it burned down.
I could, but would not rebuild it. What would it have been good for to
me? I was forsaken in the world, like a stick."

Sudden quietness prevailed on the step at the foot of the cross, where
both men sat. It seemed that the popular song could be applied to

"Mountain, green mountain, Ahoy!
My heart is hurting, sadly I cry!
Painful, so painful is my woe,
My heart is fainting, my joy is gone."

"Forgive me, Peter," suddenly said Stephen Slavkovsky. "It was not
right that I hid myself from you. I have caused you much sorrow. While
I imagined that you were living with Eva in our mountains, which I
never could forget, perhaps surrounded with children, and our parents
were happy with you--you have lived alone for years. It was not good
that I did not let you know about myself. Once some one from this
neighborhood came to America but did not know me and told me that
father died. I had already written a letter to mother, to send her my
love, but I did not send it. I thought how good I was to you, but that
heart of ours is deceitful and perverse, full of self-righteousness
and pride. I have done wrong both to mother and to you, but I was
repaid when my only child forsook me, and after ten years I must come
as far as here to find her."

Bacha roused himself, "Come, Stephen, let us delay no longer; but if
we go on foot we shall arrive very late."

They both arose. "I am on foot. I have a coach; however, I told the
driver to feed the horses a bit. Now I hear them; they will be ready.
Let us go; on the way we can tell one another more."

Thus among the Slovak mountains rode two brothers, who had grown up
among them, and were so closely united to them, that one of them in
a distant land almost died of home-sickness, and the other could not
have lived without them at all. Now they did not think about the
beauty around them, because Stephen Slavkovsky found out his child
was waiting for him, and that only the Heavenly Doctor could save His
sheep which had returned to Him.

The proverb says that bad luck does not wander among the mountains but
among the people. Now it was among the mountains. Who can describe the
moment when the father stopped at the bed of his only child and saw
her so broken and read on her beautiful face the confirmation of all
of which he had once warned her. The setting sun shone upon the broken
flower and on the man who was kneeling at her bed, his head laid on
his crossed arms. No one dared to disturb him in his sadness and
prayer. Suddenly the lady opened her eyes; she turned them to the
window and began to sing softly the song which she had recently taught
the boys:

"Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the billows o'er me roll,
While the tempest still is high;
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life be past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last."

Her father cried silently and the others with him. But she sang on,
and as Joe said sometime ago, "She could do anything with them when
she sang." The weeping stopped, and the small room seemed to be full
of the presence of Him who is the King of Glory, the Prince of Peace,
and the only Healer.

"Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, oh, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me:
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenceless head
With the shadow of Thy wing."

Palko believed and felt that his Lord was there, and the lady sang on:

"Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick and lead the blind:
Just and holy is Thy name,
I am all unrighteousness;
Vile and full of sin I am,
Thou art full of truth and grace.

"Plenteous grace with Thee is found--
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound,
Make and keep me pure within;
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity."

The song concluded. A silence followed during which the lady turned
her look away from the window and fastened it upon the face of the man
who bent over her.

"Mary, dear, my golden darling, do you not recognize me?" asked the
trembling lips of the man, so tenderly, as only a good father can
speak to his only child. For a moment the beautiful eyes of the lady
fastened themselves on the man's eyes. The doctor entering the room at
that moment, with a quick movement of his hand tried to hinder this
critical situation, but it was too late. The lady's pale face glowed
suddenly, as after the dark night the day breaks over the mountains.

"My father! Oh, my father!"

She sat up, stretched out her arms and would have sunk back, had not
her father's arms clasped her; her head was resting on his breast, her
arms twined around his neck, and the lady clung closely to him like
a little chick pursued by the hawk, when the hen spreads over it her
protecting wings.

"Did you come? Did you forgive? Do you love? Oh, at home, home! No
more in a strange land. I am not fleeing any more--the Lord Jesus was
merciful, He received me.... Now I can die!" Thus whispered the lady,
crying softly, returning her father's kisses.

"Indeed not! Who would die now?" the doctor interrupted at this tender
moment. "You haven't even shown Ondrejko to your father, and the poor
boy can hardly wait any longer." It was as if a new life had been
poured into her.

"My Ondrejko!" She stretched out her hand to the boy, still crouching
beside her. "Just look! Grandfather has come, and you don't have to
beg him any more. Just welcome him!"

Ondrejko found himself in the arms of his grandfather and was very
surprised. He had expected to see an old man with a gray beard, but
grandfather was without beard and still quite young and handsome.
The boy felt, what he had never known before, what a joy it is to be
kissed and hugged by a father. His saddened heart rejoiced, and he was
filled with a feeling of protection and safety.


Some things happen in this world at which we cannot wonder enough.
Thus it was at the sheepfolds of the Gemer estate. There still lived
people in that neighborhood who had known old Filina, the father of
Bacha, very well. They remembered how he had told them that one of his
boys had prepared to go to America, and the other one had married at
home, and when Stephen had made some money across the sea, he would
return home and they would all live together. They also remembered how
the message came that the ship was wrecked, and that Stephen would
never see his homeland again. But that did not happen! Thirty years
passed and Stephen Pribylinsky came home after all. He appeared to
them as if he had been raised from the dead, and the resurrection had
come when the sea had given up her dead and returned him. They spoke
about his coming for his daughter and grandchild. But when the
fragrance of his beloved Slovak mountains filled him, would he be able
to go again far across the sea? Will he not fear that he was like a
stranger, for years in a foreign land? He fared there very well, but
he was not at home. Only in the homeland on that black ground was
there sweet sleep.

Who can describe the surprise of all three boys when they learned who
it was that came with Bacha Filina--that it was his Stephen. Palko,
when he heard it, could not stay with the others. He ran away to the
woods and cried there for joy. He thanked the Lord Jesus that He had
comforted Bacha Filina forever. There was still salvation possible,
even though the ship was wrecked. After all, he had lived to see his
brother, Stephen. The Lord Jesus had given him back to Bacha.

There was something more, very good for Palko. It was not necessary
for him to read to the people out of his Book. He could himself sit
down at the feet of Uncle Stephen, whom he loved greatly, and listen
to the truth of God from his lips. That was a joy for the boy.

Ondrejko rejoiced again that Bacha Filina belonged to his family and
Petrik also. The boys hugged each other for joy that they would not
now have to part any more till death. And who can describe the joy of
Madame Slavkovsky when they took her again for the first time to the
sheepfold. "It seemed to me at once that I was among my own, that I
had come home," she said to Bacha, "and you, Bacha Filina, I loved at
once like a daughter."

Then she found out all about the small and big Stephen. Bacha,
himself, told her, and her father even said, "I am sorry about it, my
daughter, after considering it all, that I did not let those at home
know where I was, but now I see it all. The Lord Jesus in His love
turned all this evil for our good. For me there in America and for
Peter here at home, it is a true saying, 'He brings them to the
desired haven.'"

Then Bacha Filina showed Ondrejko's estate to his brother. Since the
lady had already had the deed recorded, they all rode to the castle.
Petrik and Palko had to go with them also. The boys played there in
the park with the rubber balls which grandfather had brought from
America. The servants brought a folding-chair for the lady, since the
doctor ordered her to rest in the shadow of the horse-chestnuts. She
watched the play of the boys and took pleasure in their joy. Ondrejko
left his comrades once in a while, ran to her, laid his curly head
beside hers, kissed his mother, and on receiving her kiss, ran again
with a loud "hallo" after his ball. Who could understand how much joy
now filled the once-forsaken heart?

In the meantime the assistant manager showed the lady's father all the
buildings and those cattle which were not in the pasture. He noticed
that Mr. Slavkovsky understood the affairs of the estate, and when he
pointed out one thing and another that should have been different, Mr.
Slavkovsky said seriously, "I see it." Finally he spoke up, "There
will have to be a different management from the bottom up, in order
that everything may prosper."

In the meantime the cook prepared a splendid repast for the new
owners. She set it outside under the horse-chestnuts, so the lady
would not have to enter the house. The castle had been bought with all
its furnishings. If the proud Lady de Gemer, the grandmother of
the last lord, could have awakened from the dead and seen how her
porcelain dishes and table-covers were spread before the despised
Slovaks, she would have turned over in her beautiful casket. But now
that could not be helped. Bacha Filina arranged his matters with the
housekeeper. At the repast he ate very little because he could not
take his eyes from the boys, how they ate, and how Ondrejko urged his
comrades to eat. The lady also rejoiced very much over them. Even the
doctor laughed heartily about it, but at the same time took care that
his patient did not forget to eat. He did not urge her to take the
various sweets served, but he did the fruit. Only Mr. Slavkovsky
was somewhat buried in thought. They almost had to force him into

After their meal the boys again began to play, and asked the two boys
of the assistant manager to help them. Mr. Slavkovsky walked along the
lane till, from a turn in it, he could overlook the beautiful, but now
neglected garden. Suddenly he took off his hat and prayed. By the time
he ended, Bacha stood beside him.

"Is there something which does not suit you, my brother?" he asked
thoughtfully. "Do you think we have paid too much for the estate,
since everything is so neglected?"

"I do not think so, Peter. It is really cheaply bought in spite of all
its neglect." He smiled kindly on his brother.

"Nevertheless you seem to be troubled by something."

"Certain cares trouble me. Just now I laid them all at the feet of our
heavenly Father. Now I do not worry more about anything. He surely
will arrange everything. I will tell you, my brother, what it was.
But for the time, keep it to yourself. I cannot take my daughter to
America now, since she is so weak. Here in our homeland she will get
well sooner. My beloved grandchild I need not take there, since he has
enough here to live on. Now when my daughter takes this estate over,
she needs a manager. It is hard to find one that would not cheat her.
Then I thought, why does she need a manager, if she still has a father
young enough, and who knows how to run a farm in Europe?"

"Oh, Stephen!" Filina was astonished.

"But, you know, there is a great hindrance. My farm is deeded to me.
My brother-in-law I can settle with, and thus that would not hinder
me. But my beloved wife was born in America. Will she want to leave
her home and go to a foreign land? I would not like to constrain her
in anything. I will first have to write to her about all that has
happened, and if I see from her answer that it would not be too great
a sacrifice for her, I will go for her. I will then sell the farm and
deposit the money, because I would not want to add to this estate. It
is big enough for us to make a living, and I could earn, as a manager,
bread for myself and my wife, and she could rest; she has worked

"Day and night will I ask the Lord Jesus about it," said Filina,
"that He will lead your wife to agree, because round about us is only
darkness. No one cares for these souls. They do not know the Lord
Jesus. I have not been able to imagine how we could live here when the
boy would leave us. But you could take his place."

"That hardly, Peter. The Lord Jesus has in Palko a faithful servant.
That measure of the Holy Spirit that this child has, I do not have.
But instead I have experiences with my Lord. The last ten years
of suffering united me very closely to Him who saves. I know your
sorrows. Considering the situation, I long to be the witness of God's
grace here in my homeland, where there is no one else. That also draws
me here to my beautiful homeland. Therefore I hope that my Agnes will
agree that we shall come, and it will happen after all as your father
used to say to the people; 'When Stephen shall have made some money
beyond the sea and comes back again, we shall live together.' Now
there is no more all of us, only we two. And if the Lord grants me to
come again, do you know what is the first thing that I will do?"

"I do not."

"I will rebuild our hut. It shall lay waste no longer. I will prepare
it for Petrik. You shall raise him and give him the ground and the
fields. So if he lives, we can take care of him together."


Sometimes the days pass as quickly as a thought, and the weeks like a
dream. In the following weeks which just flew by, Bacha Filina took
Palko to his home. He became acquainted with his family. Just then
Juriga's son and daughter-in-law came from America, and Lesina had to
find a place to move to. They all rejoiced in Palko. His mother and
grandmother could hardly stop caressing him. Old Juriga had a good cry
when the boy hugged him.

Lesina complained to Bacha that he was worrying about his wife
living with the wife of Juriga's son. Juriga's daughter-in-law was
a gossiping, noisy person, and had two small children who were
disobedient cry-babies. It was because of those two little ones that
Juriga's son had returned to the home country. His older children had
been dying one after the other. Here was Filina's opportunity to give
Lesina good advice, namely, to take his wife, her mother, and Palko,
and move before the winter to his cottage in the Gemer mountains. He
told him also that Madame Slavkovsky meant to give him some trees from
a piece of land that needed to be replanted. In the meantime he could
find some other place where he would like to stay. All they would
have to take with them would be their clothing and small belongings,
because any other things needed they would find in the castle:
bedsteads, tables, chairs, and all that was necessary for the kitchen.
They were all very thankful for this good advice.

In those weeks that had passed so quickly, Madame Slavkovsky moved
with her father and Aunty Moravec to the castle. Every morning she
rode to the sheepcotes and remained till the evening. Once in a while
she also stayed overnight in Ondrejko's hut. At other times, she took
the boys along. In the castle under the supervision of Mr. Slavkovsky,
many changes were made, and when the gardener had the means at his
disposal and the advice of his master, he went joyfully to work. In
two weeks you would not have recognized the garden nor the castle. The
masons repaired broken places, the painters painted everything, the
joiners repaired doors, window-frames, and hardwood floors. In the
course of the repairs, chairs, bedsteads, and tables, and more that
was necessary in the cottage of Palko, was set aside, in order that
when the Lesinas came they might have plenty on hand to settle and
feel at home. Even for Dunaj they fixed a nice dog-kennel, so he
wouldn't have to suffer in rainy weather.

* * * * *

It was again a beautiful summer evening. In front of the sheepcotes
everything was ready for a big bonfire. Bacha Filina called all his
helpers and told them they would have a celebration such as none
of them had seen before. Through the woods in the direction of the
cottage wandered Petrik, Ondrejko, and between them, Palko. Ahead of
them, chasing one another, ran Dunaj and Fido. They also rejoiced to
see each other. The boys returned from a visit at Lesina's and carried
with them all kinds of gifts. A water-gun, by which you could squirt
the water to the top of the highest trees; singing tops which could
spin almost a quarter of an hour. From Palko's mother they got a whole
box full of prunes filled with nuts, which Ondrejko thought were
better than figs and dates.

"My mother is very glad today!" Ondrejko told Palko, "because a letter
came at last from my grandmother in America. They gave me a letter
written especially for me, in which grandmother writes very nicely. I
will show it to you afterwards, Petrik."

"They even sent greetings for me," said the comrade.

"What they wrote to mother, I don't know, but mother ran to
grandfather, threw herself into his arms and cried and laughed. I am
sure they did not want me to understand, because they spoke English,
but they will tell us all about it. Bacha Filina said we shall have a

"We also have a song, such a beautiful one, and that will be sung
tonight, and I am sure your parents will like it," said Petrik.

It really was a beautiful celebration. First of all, on two spits they
roasted two lambs. Bacha Filina portioned out large pieces of the best
kind of cheese to everybody. Madame Slavkovsky handed out pears and
large plums. Stephen brought two large crocks of mineral water to wash
down the roasted mutton. Aunty Moravec divided rolls and cookies among
all. They all served Palko's quiet, lovely mother, and his good old
grandmother, and his father as well. Then they sat around the bonfire.
Mr. Slavkovsky prayed, opened the Holy Writ, read Psalm 103, and spoke
very nicely about the great forgiving love of God. Then they sang the
beautiful songs which the lady had brought. But Palko also had to
read in his Book. He read about Cornelius who, with his whole house,
received the Lord Jesus. Palko spoke so beautifully about how sad it
was that in the house of the great man, though he often prayed and did
much good, he did not know the way to the true Sunshine Country, since
he did not know the Lord Jesus. How happy he was afterwards, when he
and his devout knights and his obedient soldiers welcomed the Apostle
Peter there, and with him also, the Lord Jesus, whom they forever
received in their house and heart. Then on a sign from the lady they
started a beautiful song which Palko had not heard before, but which
was very fitting to his story.

"I heard the voice of Jesus say,
'Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon My breast,'
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad,
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad."

As that song sounded over the woods, it was noticeable from the faces
of the hearers around the camp fire, that they all had experienced it,
but especially from the serious face of Filina. Then it was so silent
that you could hear the distant bells of the sheep. Though the sky was
covered with storm-clouds, and the lightning was to be seen in the
west once in a while, and in the distance the rolling of the thunder
was heard, the storm was nevertheless very far away, and would not yet
come there.

Suddenly Bacha Filina arose, and after he had first thanked the Lord
Jesus in an audible prayer that He came and also sought and saved that
which was lost, he began to explain what they were celebrating, and
which pleased him most--not only Madame Slavkovsky, but her father
also was remaining in the Gemer mountains. He said, "Tomorrow Mr.
Slavkovsky will leave for America to bring his wife here. When he has
sold his farm there, he will at once return to his birthplace to leave
it no more." Bacha's eyes were full of tears when he gave the message,
but added, "Is not that very joyful news?"

Who can describe the joy that prevailed after that? Ondrejko hugged
his mother and grandfather and nestled next to Bacha Filina. "We shall
all stay at home, at home with Bacha Filina. We shall not go into the
distant foreign world. Oh, we remain in our mountains. Even Palko will
be here with us," he said.

"Yes, my son." The grandfather drew the boy close to him. "We shall
remain at home. We shall live here together with the Lord Jesus and He
with us."

After a while the campfire began to die down. The voices subsided.
Only in the distance the thunder rolled, the lightning flashed, but
above the sheepcotes shone the clear stars. Around the buildings Bacha
Filina made his rounds, watching that no danger threatened anywhere,
and again at the bench--as once long ago--he stopped. This time, the
father and daughter sat there together; no longer a prodigal, she had
returned first to the heavenly, and then to the earthly father. She
had come home and was accepted. He wanted to step aside, but they had
been waiting for him.

"We knew that you would pass by," said Slavkovsky, and made room for
his brother beside himself. "Mary has a request to make of you."

"Me?" Bacha was surprised.

"Yes, you, my dear Uncle. Cease to be 'Bacha.' Come among us. You
shall have the supervision of things; be one family with us," the lady
begged with her whole heart, but Bacha shook his head.

"I thank you, my daughter," he spoke, deeply moved, "I would love to
make one family with you because you are all very dear to me; but do
not take me away from my calling. Once I started as an unhappy man,
and this occupation cheered me in my sorrow. I grew up with the sheep,
with the work and with nature about me. Now when the heavens have
opened above me, leave me at this heaven's gate. Do not let it vex you
that you have a rich estate and I am but a poor 'Bacha.' All that I
need for my living, I shall earn honestly. I have somewhere to live,
and you love me; I am no more alone. You will come to visit me and
I will visit you, especially when you, my brother, return. Only one
thing I ask of you, if you have more than you need for your living,
send Palko to school. His father grieves that he is not able to do it
for him. God has given him what no school can supply, but if people
with such faith could stand in the pulpits there would be a real
awakening in our nation."

"Oh, Bacha Filina, I thank you. I have been thinking about the same
thing, only did not dare to speak with Lesina about it." The lady
grasped Bacha's hard hand in hers. "Believe me, we will gladly do
anything for Palko. He brought us life and salvation; let him in the
future carry it to thousands."

The quiet mysterious night settled upon the world, its silence broken
only by the soft sound of the shepherd's flute. Stephen had the night
watch and thus he played to himself:

"If I but knew where she abides,
Where to the night so quickly glides,
I would like an arrow run,
And thus compel it to return."

But the night was passing, never more to return; but what about it?
After it a new morning will arise, and with it the fresh grace of God
for those who receive the Lord Jesus, and to whom He gives the right
to be the sons and daughters of God.

Would that all souls would receive Him!


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