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little one ? and my soul skall live.” Krummacher, among his parables, has one of a crocodile of the banks of the Nile. In ancient ages the old Egyptians were marvellously pleased with their noble river, its flowing water and its fertile banks. Upon these banks they settled themselves, but ere long the monstrous and voracious crocodile came forth, devastating their fields and farms, and even preying upon human lives. Numerous were the expedients they adopted to rid themselves of the terrible invader : they reared temples, and called upon the god Osiris, but Osiris did not help them; they armed themselves with swords and staves, but in the battle they often got the worst of it, so thick was the mail of the horrid creature ; they threw up dykes and mounds with as little avail; only could they drive the creature back for a short time into his element, for he returned and multiplied and fearfully ravaged their plantations; then they gave all up for lost, and as they could not destroy him they worshipped him; they said, “ Great is the crocodile." Of their own will they brought him fat victims, and they adored him as a God. At length there rose in their midst a heaven-commissioned messenger, a priest, who said to them, “God has heard your cries, follow me, and I will show you
how you may be rid of the crocodile.” So he led them along by the side of the Nile, and pointed them as they went to a little creature they had not seen before, which afterwards came to be called Pharaoh's mouse, or the ichneumon, and he said, “See, this is your deliverer, this is the conqueror of the crocodile.” The people supposed the priest was only mocking them ; it is not certain that they did not proceed to punish him by buffeting him. What! was it possible that such a little, contemptible creature could effect what they with all their ingenuity had been unable to effect ? But the priest said, “Look ;" and, lo! while they were even engaged in persecuting him, the little creature had discovered and destroyed the eggs of many crocodiles in the sand. The people gazed on with astonishment and admiration. Soon the number of the tyrants and tormentors was diminished; they were slain in embryo, killed in the egg, and then it was that the dwellers on the banks of the Nile came to understand how God often accomplishes very great ends by the most insignificant means.
So also another stringing together of proverb and parable occurs in the sense of the fitness of things to times and seasons, as when it is said, “ A hand-saw is a good thing, but not to shave with.” For there is a fitness of all things to time, person, to circumstance and season.
"A fog cunnot be dispelled with a fan," and "A mad bull is not to be tied up with pack-thread.” For what saith it, “ To everything there is a season, and a time, to every purpose under heaven." “ A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away, a time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace.” In order that things be good they must come in a good and a fitting time. Sovereigns are usually thought very desirable things, but to a man" perishing with thirst a vase full of sovereigns would not be so acceptable as a vase full of water; and it would be a small comfort to give to a poor, starving man, lying weak and perishing with hunger in the street, either a boot-jack or a packet of currie powder. So also truths, and the discussion of them, are interesting and valuable ; but then to be so they must be fitted both to time, person, and occasion. Krummacher again tells of a society of learned men who built a ship, and resolved to make a voyage to discover the properties and nature of the magnetic needle. They took on board a great number of instruments and books ; they placed the compass in their midst and made their observations; they were also soon in the midst of agitating discussions. Some called the invisible power a stream, and others a current of air, and others a spirit. Some maintained the needle was moved from the north to the south, and others from the south to the north, and a vehement contention arose among all the learned men upon all these points ; but at the very moment they were engaged in the controversy a fearful shock, accompanied by a loud crash, astonished them all. The ship bad struck upon the rocks and parted asunder, and the water rushed in, overflowing the vessel. All the learned men were filled with terror and dismay. They leaped out of the ship and saved themselves upon the rocks, but the ship was swallowed up by the waves. They sat down drenched with sea-water on the bare rocks, and for the first time, renouncing all dissension and discussion, they agreed that, at any rate, the magnet was not to be trusted. So men fall into calamities and errors by doing the wrong thing at the wrong time; or, rather say, by doing things right to be done at the wrong time. They were disputing when they should have been steering, discussing the properties of the magnet when they should have been applying its hints for their own safety. Mr. Ruskin, in his discussions concerning wealth and value in “Unto this Last,” mentions the instance of a passenger wrecked in a Californian ship, who had fastened a belt about him with two hundred pounds of gold in it, with which he was found afterwards at the bottom. Mr. Ruskin suggests that, as he was sinking, he had not so much possession of the gold as the gold had of him.
And yet once more. There is an instinctive admiration of the liberal heart diffused through these fragmentary literatures of all nations. It is true that proverbs and parables utter eulogies upon prudence and carefulness, but everywhere the mere miser, the begrudging churl, has been regarded as an object of contempt, while his very wisdom has been despised; and instead of being, as he supposed himself, a true accumulator, he has only hatched the egg of a gryphon, who has glowered over his gold to consume it, or it has turned to ashes for his pains and cares. “ There is that scattereth and yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” This is not badly translated in the riddle of Old Honest in the "Pilgrim's Progress"
“A man there was, though some did count him mad;
The more he cast away the more he had.” Or as King Theodoric said, " Seeds being scattered grow to a harvest, but being heaped together they perish.” The soils of all nations grow legends, traditions, and stories, to illustrate this. The Chinese have such a parable:-Fohi, in the course of his wanderings, came to a village, and knocked at the door of a rich woman, begging shelter and hospitality at her hands; but she said, “What, do you think I receive into my house every roving vagabond ? No, indeed, it would be unbefitting a respectable woman; go your way." Then he went to the cottage of a poor woman, who at once kindly received him. She set before him the only food she had-a little goat's milk-broke her small store of bread into it, and said, “May Fohi bless it, that we may both have enough.” Then she prepared for him his resting-place, but it was only a conch of straw; and, perceiving that he had no shirt, she sat up all night to make him one from some linen she had also made by her own hard labour, and brought it to him in the morning, begging that he would not despise her poor gift. After breakfast, a very poor one, but all that she could give him, she accompanied him a little way, and at parting Fohi said, “Farewell, may the first work you undertake, when you reach home, last until the evening." When she got home she began to measure her linen to see how much was left, and she went on measuring, and measuring, until the evening, when her house and yard were so full that she did not know what to do with her wealtn. Sorely was her rich neighbour vexed that she had missed such an opportunity of increasing her goods, and resolved that such a piece of good fortune should not slip through her hands again. When, therefore, some months after, she saw the wonderful stranger, although apparently poor as ever, passing through the village, she stepped out, imploring him to enter her house ; she treated him to the best she had, and gave him a shirt of fine linen, which indeed she had some time by her, although she kept a light burning all night in her room, that the stranger might suppose she was passing
the night in making it. After breakfast, in the morning, she too accompanied him on his way, and when they parted he said to her, “Farewell, may the first work you undertake last till the evening." She hurried home, thinking all the way of her linen, and of its wonderful increase; but just then her cows began to low. “ Before I measure my linen,” she said, “I will quickly fetch the cows some water.” But when she poured the water into the trough her pail never emptied; she went on pouring, pouring, the stream increased, and soon her house and yard were all under water ; the neighbours complained that everything was ruined, her cattle were drowned, and with difficulty she saved her own life, for the water never ceased flowing until the setting of the sun. Such are some of the bricks from the City of Proverb, the fruits from the Garden of Parable ; but there is an immense brickfield and an infinite garden neither of which we have entered yet.
CHAPTER II.-EAVES-DROPPING. I BEGAN to descend Canter Fell, taking this time the legitimate path, which wound round and about till it reached the bottom, and ended in a little grassy lane, running right on towards our own back premises. For 500 feet or so the road was not at all easy; it was steep, slippery, and abounding in loose stones, and I had to take heed to my feet, for one unlucky step wculd have sent me rolling farther than would have been agreeable ; indeed, there was quite a possibility of such a tumble ending in an impromptu plunge-bath in the mere below. So I was fain to be careful, and take the descent pretty leisurely. But when I was about half-way down the fell I came upon a nice little green hollow, and thence I knew the way would be easier and safer, and might be taken in good, orthodox flying-leaps, without much danger of involuntary summersaults.
I was meditating a fine race right down into the lane, when I was aware of some one coming up the path; and of course I halted, not wishing to run over anybody in my proposed headlong career. I wondered who it could be, for there was no road over the fell, and the Eaglesmere people never thought of rambling beyond bounds after dark, unless indeed there were stray cattle or black-faced sheep to be looked after. But, as far as I knew, no living creature was out pasturing on Canter Fell; so I felt quite anxious to see to whom the steady, quick footsteps belonged. As they came nearer I thought I recognised them; the measured, decided tramp fell familiarly on my ear. There was but one person in all the dale who walked like that, and that one was my friend and tutor, the vicar. All the others were rustics, and shuffled along more or less in true rustic fashion; he alone was a gentleman, and he walked as became his patrician and reverend condition. Latterly I had tried to imitate his gait and carriage, and I have no doubt I contributed to the amusement of
I stood waiting in the hollow till the clergyman appeared, rather out of breath; he was more surprised to see me in that lone place than I was to see him, for as I caught the footfalls and knew them for his, I remembered that it was his custom to take a solitary walk on Saturday evening, after the morrow's sermons had been duly prepared.
I made my usual bow-a very clumsy one, I am afraid—and said, “Good evening, sir."
“Dear me, Hugh! It is Hugh, I think ?” he replied, peering through the gloom; for he was proverbially short-sighted, and had been known to walk up to a cow and extend his hand, mistaking her for one of his parishioners.
“Yes, sir; I have been up the fell.”
“It is late for going up the fell, my boy. The path from this point is not a very safe one in the twilight.”
“I came up, sir, several hours ago, and I climbed the face of the fell, coming through our own allotment. There was no danger, sir; I have done it often before, and I am as sure-footed as the crag-sheep. I wanted to see the sunset."
“ It has been a very fine one ? ”
“ Glorious ! I never saw a finer. I wonder if the light that streams through cathedral windows is anything like the glow I have seen among the hills to-night ?”
“ You have seen the church at Kendal ?"
“Yes; and that gave me some faint idea of what cathedrals must be like. How I wish I could see a cathedral ! And the sea, too, I have never seen that, and I am eleven years old to
“ All in good time, Hugh. You must not be impatient. No good ever comes of impatience; remember that. Dear me, I was twenty before I ever saw the sea, and it is five-and-twenty years this month since I was in London."
“I wonder if I shall ever go to London. It is very much larger than Kendal, you say, sir?”