The Master Of The Harvest





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!"





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