THE OPEN DOOR
MAN who had grown old in prison sat
and bewailed his imprisonment.
"Alas!" he said, "what a dreadful place is this in which I
must stay! All around me is sighing and sobbing, pale
sorrow and black wickedness.
The loathly walls hem me in straitly; the window-bars
are strong and heavy; there is no escape. Hateful is this
prison, hateful the days I pass in it, hateful the faces of
men and women, prisoners like myself. Oh, that the door
were open, and I a free man!"
By and by came One in white, who set open the door, and
beckoned to the man, and said "Come forth!"
But the man crouched down where he sat, and cried out:
"No! no! I am not ready to go yet. After all, the
prison is tight and dry, and
 not so very cold, save in winter. Outside it is
strange and empty, and a wind blows, I know not whither.
Moreover, my fellow-prisoners are friendly, even if they are
not so very virtuous. Let me stay here, where at least I
am dry and warm, and safe from the things that are not
And he turned to his fellow-prisoners, and laid hold on
their clothes, and cried, "Save me! save me from him in
white, and from the open door!"