| Parables from Nature|
|by Margaret S. Gatty|
|Parables for children inspired by nature. This collection includes all 29 stories from the first, second, third, and fourth series, originally published in separate volumes. Ages 6-12 |
"Or tu chi se', che vuoi sedere a scranna,
Per giudicar da lungi mille miglia
Con la veduta corta d'una spanna?"
"And who art thou, that on the stool wouldst sit
To judge at distance of a thousand miles,
With the short-sighted vision of a span?"
 LITTLE Siegfried, the widow's son, climbed day by day
up the hill which overlooked his mother's cottage, and
rambled about on the top, running after birds and
insects, and gathering the beautiful wild-flowers that
grow on the Swiss Alps.
There the dark blue gentians and the Alpine rose,
as it is called, and campanulas and salvias, are
almost as common as the cowslips and daisies of English
fields, and, from the brightness of their colours, make
the hillsides look like gardens, instead of
Little Siegfried's father had been killed in battle,
some months before his child's birth, and so, when he
came into the world, he was cradled in tears instead of
smiles; and what wonder if he grew up
 less thoughtless
and gay than other boys of his age?
It was his mother who had first shown Siegfried where
to climb the hill, and where to find the finest
flowers; and had made him look at the hills still
higher than their own, by which their valley was
enclosed, and had pointed out to him Mont Blanc in the
distance, looming like a shadowy giant in the sky.
For thus and thus had her husband shown her all these
things, during the few happy months of their marriage,
before he was called away to the wars; and on the same
heights where the child now roamed after flowers, his
parents had sat together among them, in quiet summer
evenings, sometimes talking, sometimes reading, always
praising God for the happiness He was permitting them
But having thus led her child to the spot so fondly
endeared to herself, and bidden him rejoice in the
sights and scenes of Nature, and told him of the
protecting God of goodness who ruled over all, the
widowed mother went back alone to her cottage, to weep
out in secret her re-awakened grief.
meanwhile, amused himself on the flowery heights, his
new playground; and after he had gathered for his
mother the nosegay she had asked him to bring, he lay
down on the soft turf, and looked round at the hills,
and up to the snowy sides of the huge Mont Blanc, (of
which he could see so much more here than down in the
valley below,) till it took possession of his fancy as
something wonderful and grand; something far beyond the
flowers, bright and lovely as they were.
And ever afterwards, day by day, when he had had enough
of chasing and rambling, he used to lie down
 in the
same place, and look at the hills in the same way, that
he might feel again what he had felt at first.
Yet he found no sameness in the sight. The clouds that
sometimes lifted themselves up from, and at other times
came down over, the mountain, were never quite alike.
The shadows that flitted across it varied from day to
day in their shape and size and course; and the
sunshine that broke over it was of many different
tints, and lit it up in a thousand different ways. At
one time it was wrapt in a silvery haze; at another the
air became so clear, that the child could see the
glittering of the snow atoms, as they seemed to dance
in and out, like the stars in the sky.
So Siegfried never wearied of watching the huge
mountain, but got to love it more and more, with a love
mixed with respectful awe, and a feeling as if it had
some sort of life and consciousness.
At last, one day, when his mother was putting his
little basket in his hand, that he might go on the hill
as usual to play, he asked her if he might go to the
top of Mont Blanc instead, and if she would show him
It was no wonder that the good widow smiled, as she
told him that neither he nor she were able to climb up
such a terrible mountain. But she did smile; and
although she noticed how the little face flushed over
as she spoke, she thought, naturally enough, that this
was because of his disappointment. So, kissing him
lovingly, she said:
"You must be a great strong man,
Siegfried, before you can scramble up the heights of
Mont Blanc: and even for great strong men the way is
very dangerous. And even if you were there, you
find nothing but cold and snow and misery; neither life
nor flowers; our own hills are as pleasant again."
So Siegfried went away with his basket; but instead of
running about and picking flowers, he threw himself at
once upon the ground, and looked at the mountain, and
cried, for he felt very sorry at what his mother had
said. Presently, however, he wiped his eyes, and looked
again; then sprang up and stared before him as if
All the distance was bathed in bright
sunshine, and the air was more transparent than usual,
and, lo! a round rosy-coloured patch was visible on the
far-off snows. He had never seen it before. What could
it be? He thought he knew; and running hastily down to
the cottage, threw open the door, and shouted in
delight, "Mother! there is a rose on Mont Blanc!"
Siegfried's mother did not laugh now, for she saw the
child was excited; and she was grieved for him. Ah! he
had only half the love that should have been his; she
must console him as best she could; he was not like
other boys, she knew—and thinking this, she took him on
her knee, and tried to explain to him that it must be
only some accidental light from the sky that caused the
rosy patch, for that no vegetation of any kind grew on
the sides of the snowy mountain; there could be no
roses there; and she knew that it often looked pink in
the evening sun—only now it was not evening.
Siegfried was silent for a few seconds, and hung down
his head; but presently he murmured out, "Why?"
"Ah, Siegfried!" cried his mother, "is it not enough
that God chooses it to be so? It is He who
 sends the
everlasting snows there, and the flowery herbage here."
"I am very sorry for the mountain," persisted little
Siegfried, sadly; so sadly that his mother grieved for
the fanciful child, and asked should she go up with him
again to the hill, and see the rosy patch on the snow
herself? On which the smiles came back to Siegfried's
face, and they went away together very happily, and
with the basket as usual; for, said the mother, "You
came back empty-handed to-day, Siegfried, and brought
me no flowers."
But, by the time they reached the spot, heavy mists had
come down over the landscape, and neither Mont Blanc
nor its rosy patch could be seen. Even Siegfried
laughed at the journey they had had for nothing, and,
after filling his basket, was contented to return home;
but in doing so, he began to talk again.
"If we had fewer flowers, Mother, we should be quite as
happy, and then the great mountain could have some too.
I wish God would make things equal."
"Hush, little Siegfried, hush!" cried his mother, in a
half whisper; "God has a right to do what He pleases,
and we must not dispute about it, nor wish it
otherwise. He chooses that there shall be desolate
places as well as pretty ones in the world; outcast
ends of the earth, as it were, which nobody seems to
care for, as well as happy valleys. I am afraid it is
the same with human beings—men and women, I mean—which
is much worse. I am afraid there are many outcast,
God-deserted men, as well as desolate mountains. But
you are too young to understand such things."
The mother sighed as she spoke. Verily, she did not
understand such things herself.
 And so they walked on a few steps farther, and then the
boy began again,—
"At any rate, the top of the mountain is nearer Heaven
than our hill, Mother. It goes right into the blue."
"No, no," cried the widow, passionately; "it only looks
to be so. It is no nearer the real Heaven than we are.
If it were, oh! would I not have gone there long ago,
at the risk of life itself!"
The child looked very surprised at his mother; for she
spoke in tones very unusual to her; and seeing how sad
her face, he wondered to himself if she, also, were
fretting that Mont Blanc was so miserable and forlorn.
And, snatching the nosegay from the basket, he flung
the flowers as far into the air as he could,
exclaiming, "There! I wish you had wings, and would fly
away to the mountain, and make it look beautiful, too!"
Nothing more was spoken between them, but after little
Siegfried had said his evening prayers, and gone to
bed, and while the mother was sitting alone in the
chamber below, she heard a sound of crying; and, going
upstairs, found the boy in tears, the only account he
could give of which was, that he could not help
thinking about the poor outcast, God-deserted mountain.
Now, she had not called the mountain God-deserted. That
was his own disturbed idea; a confusion he had got into
from what his mother had said. But how hard this was to
explain! How painful to touch the chords of a subject
which jarred so cruelly against the natural hopes and
faith of a gentle heart!
How difficult also for one who had known the
realities of sorrow, to "feel along" the more delicate
"line" of an infant's dreamy griefs!
He was soothed by degrees, however, and after she left
him, her thoughts soon wandered away from what she felt
to be his fanciful troubles about the desolate
mountain, to her own struggles with her desolate heart.
The next day was Sunday, and Siegfried was able to walk
to the somewhat distant church, and even to repeat a
few of the prayers, and listen, now and then, to bits
of the sermon, when his mother thought there was
something he could understand, and drew his attention
But on this particular day there was no need for her to
call his attention to the preacher; nay, had she been
able, she would have been very glad to have prevented
his hearing him at all. But how could he help hearing,
when the pastor, addressing his flock, asked if there
was a single one, young or old, among them, who had not
gazed hundreds and hundreds of times at the giant
mountain of their land—the snow-covered, inaccessible
heights of Mont Blanc?
Siegfried and his mother looked at each other, and his
heart leapt within him, to think that now, at last, he
should hear something about his mysterious friend; and,
clasping his mother's hand tightly in his own, he
listened for every word.
But alas! for what he heard. The pastor, after
describing the mountain in all the magnificence of its
size and form, painted it as being, nevertheless, the
region of hopeless desolation; the abode of everlasting
lifelessness and despair. Cold, hard, insensible, what
could rouse it from its death-like torpor? The
life-giving sun shone upon it from day to day, from age
to age; but no influence from
 its rays ever penetrated
that frozen bosom. The dews fell upon it, the storms
burst over it, equally in vain. Unmoved, it lifted up
its gloomy crest to Heaven, as if defying its very
Maker to touch the stony depths and bid the waters
flow, or warm and soften them into life and gladness!
Siegfried was already in tears, but what followed was
still worse, for the pastor now called upon his
congregation to consider whether there was not
something in the moral world of which the insensible
mountain was but the too faithful type? And then he
answered himself. Yes!—the hardened human heart, the
wicked natural heart, the Pharaoh-heart of the
multitude, on which the sunshine of Divine Grace and
the storms of Divine wrath were equally poured out in
Yet, that "offences must needs come," he was well
aware; that such God-deserted beings as he had spoken
of, must come up and be cut down, he knew: "vessels of
wrath appointed to destruction." But, oh! might none of
the congregation now before him be of the number of
those lost ones! Might all there present take warning
henceforth, as they turned their eyes to the
stiff-necked hill of their native country, and flee
from the wrath of the Lamb! . . . .
Siegfried's sobs had by this time become so
uncontrollable, that the neighbours were disturbed; and
the widow thought the best thing she could do, was to
rise up and leave the church with her child.
There was no use arguing with him; he was both too
young and too much distressed; added to which, his
mother was scarcely less pained by the stern words than
She, too, could have wept to think of "vessels
 of wrath
appointed to destruction," and longed to hope against
hope for the world of her fellow-creatures. In the
material world she had but little interest, for she
knew but little about it, and had not sufficiently
considered the text which says that "God's mercy is
over all His works;" not limited to one class of
creatures, or even to one sort of life.
Feeling as she did, therefore, she entered into no
discussion with her boy, but through the home evening
contrived to divert his mind, by reading him pleasant
stories of good people who had lived in favour with
God, and had died full of hope and peace.
Nevertheless, Siegfried's last thought, as he fell
asleep, was not of comfort and joy in the righteous,
but of pity and almost love for all the wretched things
for whom there seemed no hope.
The next day, his mother would fain have persuaded him
to remain below in the valley, and seek some new
amusement, but finding she could not reconcile him to
the idea of forsaking his favourite haunt, she gave
way, though with a sigh; and so, after his little daily
tasks and helps to her were ended, he climbed up the
heights as usual.
It was well that he had promised his mother to tease
her no more about the matter. Otherwise, on that day,
he would have made more fuss than ever, for, when the
sun was at the highest, the rosy flush re-appeared on
the distant snow, only not now confined to one small
patch, but spread in broad tracts of delicate colour,
which threatened to cover the whole mountain with its
Once or twice Siegfried's resolution to keep his
promise nearly gave way, but he held out manfully even
to the last, contenting himself, on his return into the
valley, with enquiring of a neighbour's
 son, whom he
met driving home his father's cattle, why some of the
snow on the hills looked pink?
At first the boy said he
didn't know, but presently he recollected that he had
heard it said, that red snow fell sometimes out of the
sky. Very likely that was it; but what it was, or what
became of it, he had no notion. Only it went away as it
came. Nothing ever stopped on the hill but the snow
that was always there.
Hearing this, Siegfried had no longer even a wish to
speak to his mother about it. She would say it was
because the mountain was so cold and hard, no good
thing, even from Heaven, could stay upon it!
And thus a day or two passed, and the tracts of rosy
colour grew fainter, and finally disappeared, as the
farmer's son had said was always the case; and
Siegfried never spoke about it again, but sat on the
hill-side daily, wondering and dreaming to himself.
But he was interrupted at last. One morning, when the
snow looked colder and whiter than ever against the
blue sky, and he had been sitting for a while, with his
face hidden by his hands, a voice he did not know
called to him, asking what he was doing. And when he
lifted up his eyes, a stranger stood between him and
A child always answers "Nothing" to such a question,
for children never feel thinking to be doing anything.
But the stranger would not be so easily satisfied, and
smiling, persisted in his enquiries.
"What are you thinking of, then, little boy? One must
be either doing or thinking while one is awake. And I
want you to talk to me. I have come from such a long
way off, and am so weary."
 Here the stranger seated himself by Siegfried's side on
"First," continued he, "I want you to tell me, if you
can, whether I can get to the town of ——, through the
pretty valley here at the bottom of this hill? Then, I
want you to tell me for whom you have picked this
basket of flowers? Then, why you are on this wild
hill-side alone? Then, what you think about when you
cover up your face with your hands? Now, then, can I
get to the town through the valley?"
The voice that asked was so good-natured, and the smile
on the stranger's face so kind, that Siegfried was won
at once, and looking full at his new friend, and
smiling himself, nodded ascent to this first question.
"Does your nod always mean 'yes,' little boy?" asked the
Siegfried nodded again.
"Very good. Now we understand each other. Will you
answer my other questions?"
Siegfried gave another nod, and then they both laughed,
and the stranger went on.
"For whom have you gathered the flowers?"
"For my mother."
"And why are you here alone?"
"What, alone? Why?"
"I have nobody else to play with."
"And what is it you think of when you sit with your
face covered up?"
Siegfried's heart melted within him, and, pointing by a
sorrowful nod to the giant mountain, he answered, "I
think of it."
"Of it?" What can you find in it to think about?"
"I am so sorry for it!" cried little Siegfried,
passionately; "so sorry it is so miserable and outcast,
and that God will let nothing grow there, while we have
all these flowers!"
And once more he tossed the flowers contemptuously out
of the basket.
"Ah, little boy," said the stranger, putting his arm
kindly around the child, and drawing himself nearer to
him. "You must answer another question now. Who put
such strange fancies into your heard? Who told you this
about the poor mountain?"
"They all say so," murmured Siegfried. "The pastor
preached about it on Sunday, and mother says so, too,
and the farmer's son, and everybody; and I am so sorry,
so very sorry!"
The young voice died away, as it were, in regret.
"And why do you care so much about the mountain, little
Siegfried looked up, puzzled, for a moment, but very
soon out came the simple, child-like answer, "I look at
it so much when I come up here to play."
It was the stranger's turn now to feel his eyes
moisten, as he thought of the solitary child sending
out his heart into the inanimate creation around him.
Extremely interested, therefore, he made a few more
enquiries, and, by degrees, brought out a part, at any
rate, of what Siegfried's mother and the pastor between
them had told and taught of outcast countries and
God-deserted men. All was confusion in the child's
account, but the drift of it could easily be
Without making a single remark, however, the stranger
smiled again, and said, quite cheerfully,
 "I will tell
you a secret, little boy. Neither the pastor, nor your
mother, nor the farmer's son were ever up the mountain,
I suspect, so they cannot know very much about it."
"I wanted to go, but they would not let me," interposed
Siegfried. "They said I was not able to get up."
"They said right," replied the stranger. "But I, you
see, am older and stronger, and could go; and I have
Quietly as he purposely spoke, the effect of what he
said was, as he expected, very great. Siegfried jumped
up; then sat down; then once more started from his
seat, and was far more anxious to run down the hill and
tell his mother the news, than to remain quietly where
he was, and hear what more the stranger had to tell. He
allowed himself to be controlled, however, and his
friend went on talking as if he had not been
"And the place is neither lifeless nor deserted. God
sends it the beautiful red snow plant instead of
flowers. I have been gathering it for days."
As he spoke, he unfastened from the leathern strap that
went across his shoulders a small tin box, and, opening
it for a moment, let Siegfried peep at a bright
of something within.
The child was speechless at first, overpowered by
admiration and delight, but presently exclaimed, "Then
that was what I saw!" adding gently, "And it really
came down from Heaven, then?" He was thinking of what
the farmer's son had said.
"All good things come from Heaven, that is, from the
God of Heaven," answered the stranger. "But this is as
much a plant as the Alpine rose by your
 side. It did
not drop down from the sky, but grows in the very snow
itself, and covers over miles and miles of the hill you
thought so desolate. God sends good things everywhere,
though not everywhere alike."
God sends it the beautiful red-snow plant instead of flowers.
Oh, the joy of such a doctrine! The simplest child
could understand it, and be glad! All was explained
now, too; the rosy patch and the broad tracts of colour
were both accounted for, and Siegfried was as happy as
he now believed the mountain to be. And, embracing his
new friend, he forthwith began such a blundering
account of what he, and his mother, and the farmer's
boy, had thought about the rosy patch, that the
stranger could do nothing but laugh, and at last
stopped him by exclaiming:
"Then you see you were all
wrong; but never mind. Take me to your mother's
cottage, and we will tell her all about it, too, and I
will show it to you both, for even you have not really
seen it yet."
Siegfried's mother welcomed the friendly stranger whom
her son brought to her door with all the heartiness of
a Swiss welcome; and not the less when she found he was
an English traveller, on his way to a neighbouring town
to visit a well-known officer there, who had been
deprived of a limb in the same action in which
Siegfried's father had lost his life.
And as the town was but a few miles off, and the summer
evenings so long, the stranger was easily persuaded to
rest for a few hours in the Swiss cottage, and tell the
widow and her son the history of his adventures on Mont
Blanc, and of the red snow plant he had brought from
it. Not that telling its history only would have been
enough; nor was there anything either beautiful or
wonderful-looking in the red, jelly-like mass in the
tin box, when looked at
 only with the naked eye. The
stranger had far more in store for them than that.
"I am going to show you," he began, at last, and after
busying himself in unpacking that revealer of secrets,
a microscope,—"that God has sent many more gracious
things into the world than our natural eyes are able to
see. Do you like to know this, little Siegfried?" he
added, turning purposely to the child.
Siegfried nodded his heartiest nod of assent, and the
widow said, with a smile, "You should have asked that
question, Sir, of me. It is I who have not believed,
because I did not see. He has had the instinct of the
truth all along."
"Well, then, good Mother," replied the stranger, "you
shall see and believe what will, I think, comfort you
for life—namely, that God makes the very wilderness to
burst forth and blossom like a rose: that there are no
outcast ends of the earth, uncared for by Him; no
desolate corners where His goodness is not shown
As he spoke he finished the last adjustment of the
microscope, and touching the red jelly in the tin box
with the fine point of a porcupine's quill, he placed
the tiny morsel so obtained in a glass, to be looked
at, and called to Siegfried to have the first peep.
The widow, struck as she had been with the stranger's
words, had her own doubts as to what there could be to
be seen, for she had not been able to detect anything
on the porcupine's quill, but she said nothing, and
very soon Siegfried's shouts of delight announced that
something, at any rate, was there.
And, truly, what there was, was a very pretty
Four or five bright little red balls, and two or three
colourless ones among them, were lying like gems in the
few drops of water which had been put in to keep them
The child believed at once, but at the first moment the
mother could scarcely credit what she saw. That this
should be a bit of the shapeless stuff she had looked
at in the tin box—it was marvellous indeed.
The stranger now proceeded to explain. He told them
that each of the red balls was a perfect plant in
itself. That it was a little colourless bag, finer than
gold-beater's skin, filled with a red substance, which
shone through. That, as soon as it was full grown, the
red substance within divided into four, eight, and
sometimes sixteen separate red balls, of course of the
tiniest size possible, all which immediately began to
grow very fast, and grew, and grew, and grew, till the
little bag in which they lived could hold them no
longer, but burst, and dropt them out.
"These," said he, "are the young plants; and when each
of them is full grown, the same thing happens again.
The red substance in each divides into other tiny
balls, and, as these grow, they burst out from the
parent bag, (called a cell, properly,) and begin life
for themselves. And thus comes another generation of
the ball-like plants, and so another and another; and
all this so quickly, that, in a few hours, millions of
them have sprung from a few single cells. So now,
little Siegfried, you know why, when you looked the
second time at the rosy patch, it had spread into those
great broad tracts of colour which, in fact, covered
over miles of the poor snow with its beauty. It was no
wonder, was it?"
 No, that was no wonder; but that such things were, of
which so many people did not know, was a wonder from
which the good widow could not easily recover. Besides,
she was thinking of the pastor having made such a
As for Siegfried, he had not lived long enough to know
why he should be so much surprised about the red snow
plant; was it a bit more really strange than the growth
of the Alpine rose, which astonished nobody? So his
chief feeling was extreme delight at there being
something on the mountain to make amends for its want
"And now," said the stranger, "is there anything more
you would like to ask?"
The mother was about to speak at once, but hesitated
and drew back. She knew so little; she feared to seem
so ignorant and foolish.
Reassured, however, she begged to be told how the
marvellous plant could live amidst nothing but snow;
could come up, and bring forth a thousand fold, with
nothing to nourish and support it?
The stranger repeated the word "nothing" with a smile.
"Nothing, because we see nothing!"
"Ah, see what a bad habit is!" cried the mother. "I had
forgotten already. Then you think there may be things I
do not know of, in what we call the cold, barren snow?"
"Ay, ay," was the answer; "germs of life, hidden and
buried, perhaps, for years; seeds scattered no one can
tell how or when; and salts and chemical properties,
needing only some accident of a sunbeam, or dew, or
state of the very air, to make all work together, and
the frozen surface to become moist, and the red snow
plant to spring up by millions."
 Here he paused, and seeing little Siegfried looking
wistfully at him, as if trying to understand, he took
him on his knee caressingly, and said, "That microscope
is a very curious thing, is it not?"
The child nodded his "yes" as heartily as ever, and
then laid his head, contentedly, on his friend's
shoulder, while he went on talking.
"Yes; it is very curious, for it shows us quantities of
things we could not see without it; but the best lesson
it teaches is, how much more there may be of which,
even with its help, we can see and know nothing; for,
although there is a limit to our power of seeing God's
works, no naturalist dares to think he has reached the
limits of the works themselves. In this life we cannot
hope to know a hundredth part of the creations which
surround us. You can believe this now, good Mother?"
"With all my heart," was her answer.
"And, further," he added, "You can judge now for
yourself, that even of the things we do what we
see with the naked eye, there are a great many of which
we can never know anything like the real truth, without
such aid as this (pointing to the microscope). What was
the red snow plant to you at first? A piece of
shapeless jelly. What did it become to your more
enlightened eye? A living organism, unmistakably from
Almighty hands, endowed with a system of life, if not
of life-enjoyment, peculiarly its own. This is
something to have discovered, certainly, but is it all?
Ah! as I tell it, I feel how imperfect the account
is—how much remains behind. All we have done is but to
have made a step or two out of complete ignorance.
" 'The rest remaineth unrevealed.'
 Yet a glory comes into our hearts from the thought of
the worlds beyond reach of our present senses, like the
reflection from lightning below our own horizon, and
both faith and hope ought to be strengthened."
The widow did not speak.
"I have one more word to say," continued the stranger
guest, "If you will allow me to say it, and can forgive
the old traveller for preaching as well as teaching. I
have taught you something of God's doings in the
natural world, which has given you comfort and hope.
What, then, you believe of His works, believe also of
His mercies. If you cannot find a limit to the one,
suspect and hope that the other, too, may be
infinite—far beyond our comprehension. Will you try and
take this last lesson to heart?"
The poor mother's eyes filled with tears. She had
passed tremblingly through life, and sadly needed the
After a short pause, her counsellor went on, firmly,
but very kindly—
"You have seen how weak and short-sighted the natural
eye is; can you for a moment suppose that the spiritual
eye is more far-seeing and better able to acquaint you
with God's purposes and doings? Are His works to be
infinite, and His mercies bounded, so that a man can
point to the limit, and say, Here God's mercy ceases;
here there is no hope—but only everlasting lifelessness
and despair? Oh, good Mother, to whom is entrusted the
rearing of a very tender plant, take heed what you
teach, and foster in it, above all other virtues, the
charity which 'hopeth all things,' and then can both
believe and endure."
 The lesson was not spoken in vain even then, and it was
never forgotten. And Siegfried grew on, and the
stranger revisited the cottage many times, and by and
by aided in the education of the child whose
acquaintance he had made in so singular a manner. And,
after many years, the young man, Siegfried, became a
teacher himself—a pastor—though not in his own country.
But never, through a long life, did he forget his early
hopes, and fears, and fancies, about the desolate
mountain, nor the lesson he learnt from the stranger
traveller. And into whatever scenes of darkness and
ignorance he forced his way; whatever he met of sin and
sorrow; however often baffled, thrown back, and
disappointed, he never despaired; for he used to recall
the past, and take comfort to himself by thinking, "It
may be God's will yet, that the red snow plant may one
day burst into life on the cold hillside."
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