Samuel was a blind boy. He had been away, and was now going home with his father. His father led him, and he walked along by his side. Presently, they came to a large brook; they heard it roaring before they came near.
His father said, “Samuel, I think there is a freshet.”*
“I think so, too,” said Samuel, “for I hear the water roaring.”
When they came in sight of the stream, his father said, “Yes, Samuel, there has been a great freshet, and the bridge is carried away.”
“And what shall we do now?” said Samuel.
“Why, we must go ‘round by the path through the woods.”
“That will be bad for me,” said Samuel.
“But I will lead you,” said his father, “all the way; just trust everything to me.”
“Yes, father,” said Samuel, “I will.
So his father took a string out of his pocket and gave one end of it to Samuel. “There, Samuel,” he said, “take hold of that, and it will guide you; and walk directly after me.”
After they had walked a short distance, he said, “Father, I wish you would let me take hold of your hand.”
“But you said,” replied his father, “that you would trust everything to me.”
“So I will, father,” said Samuel, “but I do wish you would let me take hold of your hand instead of this string.”
“Very well,” said his father. “You may try your way.” So Samuel came and took hold of his father’s hand, and tried to walk along by his father’s side. But the path was narrow; there was not room for more than one, and though his father walked as far on one side as possible, yet Samuel had not room enough. The branches scratched his face, and he stumbled continually upon roots and stones.
At length he said, “Father, you know best. I will take hold of the string and walk behind.” So after that he was patient and submissive, and followed his father wherever he led. After a time, his father saw a serpent in the road directly before them. So he turned aside, to go round by a compass, or a round about way, in the woods. But the compass was rough and stony. Presently, Samuel stopped and said, “Father, it seems pretty stony; haven’t we gotten off the path?”
“Yes,” said his father, “but you promised to be patient and submissive, and trust everything to me.”
“Well, father,” said Samuel, “you know best, and I will follow.” So he walked on again. When they had gone safely around the serpent, his father told him why he had led him off the road.
And so, when God leads us in a difficult way that we don’t understand at the time, we sometimes see the reason for it afterwards.
By and by, his father came within the sound of the brook again, and stopped a minute or two, and then he told Samuel that he should have to leave him a short time, and that he might sit down upon a log and wait until he came back. “But, Father,” said Samuel, “I don’t want to be left alone here in the woods, in the dark.”
“It is not dark,” said his father.
“It is all dark to me,” said Samuel.
“I know it is,” said his father, “and I am very sorry; but you promised to leave everything to me, and be obedient and submissive.”
“So I will, father; you know best, and I will do just as you say.” So Samuel sat down upon a log, and his father went away. He was a little terrified by the solitude, and the darkness, and the roaring of the water; but he trusted his father, and was still.
By and by, he heard a noise as of something heavy falling into the water. He was frightened, for he thought it was his father. But it was not his father; it was only the end of the stem of a small tree, which Samuel’s father was trying to fix across the brook, so that he could lead his blind boy over. It was lying upon the ground, and he took it and raised it upon its end near the edge of the bank on one side, and then let it fall over, in hopes that the other end would fall upon the opposite bank. But it did not happen to fall straight across, and so the end fell into the water—and this was the noise that Samuel heard. He drew the stick back again, and then contrived to raise it upon its end once more; and this time he was more successful. It fell across, and so extended from bank to bank. In a few minutes, he succeeded in getting another by its side, and then he came back to Samuel.
“Samuel,” he said, “I have built a bridge.”
“A bridge!” said Samuel.
“Yes,” he said, “a sort of a bridge; and now I am going to try to lead you over.”
“But, father, I am afraid.”
And his father replied, “You said you would trust yourself entirely to me, and go wherever I should say.”
“Well, father,” said Samuel, “I will. You know best, after all.” So Samuel took hold of his father’s hand, and with slow and very careful steps, he walked over the roaring torrent; they soon came out into a broad, smooth road, and returned safely home.
This story is an excerpt from a charming and character building child’s tale titled “Caleb in the Country,” written by Jacob Abbott and produced in reprint by Lamplighter Publishing.