Stories Worth Rereading: The Saddest of India’s Pictures (1912)

I saw a sad little picture when I was at the hills; it haunts me even now. It was a sight that should be seen; for words convey very little idea of the pathos of the scene. We were walking through the thick jungle on the hillside when on the narrow path we saw a little procession wending its way toward us. In front walked a big, hardened-looking man, in the prime of life; behind him came a child, a slim, wonderfully fair girl of about ten years, lithe and graceful, with large, expressive dark eyes. After her came a woman prematurely old, her face lined and seamed in every direction.

Just after they passed us, the little girl and woman stopped; and the child bent low to the earth and caressed her mother’s feet. Then she flung herself into her mother’s arms and clung to her, while the big, beautiful eyes filled with tears. The mother embraced her lovingly; then she tried to thrust her away from her, her own tears running down her face all the time. The child clung piteously, with a yearning love in her eyes. Then she glanced toward that hardened figure still continuing its way, and, O, the awful look of terror on that sweet face! It is that look which continues to haunt me, the look of sweet, yearning love giving place to that awful terror. Then terror overcame, and the child sped swiftly and silently after that man, ever and anon turning back for one more gaze at her heartbroken mother. Then she was lost to sight in the thick jungle.

The wretched mother over and over again lifted up her voice and called her child by name, but there was no voice, and none that gave answer, and she turned her dreary steps homeward. We questioned her, and it was just as we feared. This sweet, innocent girl was leaving her mother’s care for the first time, to go and live with that man to whom she now belonged. And only those who know something of the East know what that would mean to that frail, innocent little one.

For days that scene haunted me in all its freshness, and it haunts me still. My heart bleeds for the little girls of India, for I love them so. O, that something could be speedily done for these little sisters of ours!


A Plea for Missions

O, SOULS that know the love of God,
And know it deep and true,
The love that in your heart is shed abroad
Shall others share with you?

And do you count it joy to give
Of what to you is given,
That erring souls may hear the word, and live
In hope of rest and heaven?

If not, lift up your blinded eyes,
And let the light break in;
Behold a world that, bruised and groaning, lies
Beneath the curse of sin.

Then higher lift your eyes, to meet
Your Master’s tender gaze,
And say, “Dear Lord, thy will in us complete,
And pardon our delays.”

Jessie H. Brown.