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The Master Of The Harvest

from Good Stories For Great Holidays - THANKSGIVING DAY





BY MRS. ALFRED GATTY (ADAPTED)

The Master of the Harvest walked by the side of his cornfields in the
springtime. A frown was on his face, for there had been no rain for
several weeks, and the earth was hard from the parching of the east
winds. The young wheat had not been able to spring up.

So as he looked over the long ridges that stretched in rows before him,
he was vexed and began to grumble and say:--

"The harvest will be backward, and all things will go wrong."

Then he frowned more and more, and uttered complaints against Heaven
because there was no rain; against the earth because it was so dry;
against the corn because it had not sprung up.

And the Master's discontent was whispered all over the field, and
along the ridges where the corn-seed lay. And the poor little seeds
murmured:--

"How cruel to complain! Are we not doing our best? Have we let one drop
of moisture pass by unused? Are we not striving every day to be ready
for the hour of breaking forth? Are we idle? How cruel to complain!"

But of all this the Master of the Harvest heard nothing, so the gloom
did not pass from his face. Going to his comfortable home he repeated
to his wife the dark words, that the drought would ruin the harvest, for
the corn was not yet sprung up.

Then his wife spoke cheering words, and taking her Bible she wrote some
texts upon the flyleaf, and after them the date of the day.

And the words she wrote were these: "The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and
Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand
and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. How excellent is Thy
loving-kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust
under the shadow of Thy wings. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more
than in the time that their corn and their wine increased."

And so a few days passed as before, and the house was gloomy with the
discontent of the Master. But at last one evening there was rain all
over the land, and when the Master of the Harvest went out the next
morning for his early walk by the cornfields, the corn had sprung up at
last.

The young shoots burst out at once, and very soon all along the ridges
were to be seen rows of tender blades, tinting the whole field with a
delicate green. And day by day the Master of the Harvest saw them, and
was satisfied, but he spoke of other things and forgot to rejoice.

Then a murmur rose among the corn-blades.

"The Master was angry because we did not come up; now that we have come
forth why is he not glad? Are we not doing our best? From morning and
evening dews, from the glow of the sun, from the juices of the earth,
from the freshening breezes, even from clouds and rain, are we not
taking food and strength, warmth and life? Why does he not rejoice?"

And when the Master's wife asked him if the wheat was doing well he
answered, "Fairly well," and nothing more.

But the wife opened her Book, and wrote again on the flyleaf: "Who hath
divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the
lightning of thunder, to cause it to rain on the earth where no man is,
on the wilderness wherein there is no man, to satisfy the desolate and
waste ground, and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
For He maketh small the drops of water; they pour down rain according
to the vapor thereof, which the clouds do drop and distil upon man
abundantly. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the
noise of his tabernacle?"

Very peaceful were the next few weeks. All nature seemed to rejoice in
the fine weather. The corn-blades shot up strong and tall. They burst
into flowers and gradually ripened into ears of grain. But alas! the
Master of the Harvest had still some fault to find. He looked at the
ears and saw that they were small. He grumbled and said:--

"The yield will be less than it ought to be. The harvest will be bad."

And the voice of his discontent was breathed over the cornfield where
the plants were growing and growing. They shuddered and murmured: "How
thankless to complain! Are we not growing as fast as we can? If we were
idle would we bear wheat-ears at all? How thankless to complain!"

Meanwhile a few weeks went by and a drought settled on the land. Rain
was needed, so that the corn-ears might fill. And behold, while the
wish for rain was yet on the Master's lips, the sky became full of
heavy clouds, darkness spread over the land, a wild wind arose, and the
roaring of thunder announced a storm. And such a storm! Along the ridges
of corn-plants drove the rain-laden wind, and the plants bent down
before it and rose again like the waves of the sea. They bowed down and
they rose up. Only where the whirlwind was the strongest they fell to
the ground and could not rise again.

And when the storm was over, the Master of the Harvest saw here
and there patches of over-weighted corn, yet dripping from the
thunder-shower, and he grew angry with them, and forgot to think of the
long ridges where the corn-plants were still standing tall and strong,
and where the corn-ears were swelling and rejoicing.

His face grew darker than ever. He railed against the rain. He railed
against the sun because it did not shine. He blamed the wheat because it
might perish before the harvest.

"But why does he always complain?" moaned the corn-plants. "Have we not
done our best from the first? Has not God's blessing been with us? Are
we not growing daily more beautiful in strength and hope? Why does not
the Master trust, as we do, in the future richness of the harvest?"

Of all this the Master of the Harvest heard nothing. But his wife wrote
on the flyleaf of her Book: "He watereth the hills from his chambers,
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass
to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man, that he may
bring forth food out of the earth, and wine that maketh glad the heart
of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth
man's heart."

And day by day the hours of sunshine were more in number. And by degrees
the green corn-ears ripened into yellow, and the yellow turned into
gold, and the abundant harvest was ready, and the laborers were not
wanting.

Then the bursting corn broke out into songs of rejoicing. "At least we
have not labored and watched in vain! Surely the earth hath yielded her
increase! Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits! Where
now is the Master of the Harvest? Come, let him rejoice with us!"

And the Master's wife brought out her Book and her husband read the
texts she had written even from the day when the corn-seeds were held
back by the first drought, and as he read a new heart seemed to grow
within him, a heart that was thankful to the Lord of the Great Harvest.
And he read aloud from the Book:--

"Thou visitest the earth and waterest it; thou greatly enrichest it with
the river of God which is full of water; thou preparest them corn,
when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof
abundantly; thou settlest the furrows thereof; thou makest it soft with
showers; thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year
with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the
pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side.
The pastures are clothed with flocks. The valleys also are covered over
with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.--O that men would praise
the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children
of men!"





Next: Saint Cuthbert's Eagle

Previous: The First Harvest-home In Plymouth



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