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Title: Sketches from the Karen Hills
Author: Alonzo Bunker
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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: Sketches from the Karen Hills
Author: Alonzo Bunker


by Alonzo Bunker, D.D.
Author of "Soo Thah"

With an introduction by
REV. HENRY M. KING, D.D.

NEW YORK
CHICAGO
TORONTO

FLEMING H. Revell Company
LONDON AND EDINBURGH

1910
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 80 Wabash Avenue
Toronto: 25 Richmond St., W.
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street

[Illustration -- Moung Lay And Family]

INTRODUCTION


Every person who is interested in the triumphs of the gospel, and in the
often thrilling experiences of the men who, in obedience to a Divine
call, are giving their lives to make it known to the unenlightened, and
barbarous peoples of the East, will welcome this small volume of
missionary sketches from the pen of Rev. Dr. Alonzo Bunker, who for forty
years has been an honoured and successful representative in Burma of the
American Baptist Missionary Union. This new volume will be especially
welcome to those who have read with delight and profit "Soo Thah," a book
by the same author, published a few years since, and for which there is
still a large demand by the reading public.

Dr. Bunker has been emphatically a pioneer missionary. The work to which
he was assigned necessitated long and difficult journeys over vast
mountainous regions, infested by wild beasts and untraversed by the feet
of white men, to reach tribes of men grossly ignorant, and hardly less
wild than their untamed neighbours of the forest. Such service demanded
courage and faith in an unusual degree, and made the life a constant
exhibition of Christian heroism and self-denying devotion to its supreme
purpose. It also furnished experiences which are not common even in
missionary service, bringing him into touch with nature in its sublimest
scenes, and with human nature in its deepest degradation and ignorance.
Moreover, it gave opportunities to witness the regenerating and
transforming, the humanising and enlightening power of Christianity,
which can take primitive and savage men, and change them into peaceable
neighbours, into lovers of truth and sobriety and righteousness, into
devout worshippers of the one true God, into exemplary Christian
disciples, into intelligent and patriotic and law-abiding citizens.

Dr. Bunker has lived long enough and seen enough of the results of his
labours and the labours of his fellow missionaries to cry out with joyful
gratitude, "Behold, what hath God wrought!" The people to whom he was
sent, and for whose present and eternal well-being he has devoted his
long life, are the Karens, the hill-tribes of Burma, who to-day, with
their hundreds of Christian schools and churches, and their thousands of
sincere followers of Christ in communities of probably hundreds of
thousands of people who have been brought to some extent under the
influence of the Christian religion, have become an instructive and
inspiring object lesson for the whole Christian world.

From a long and richly varied experience in exceptional circumstances,
Dr. Bunker has selected a few chapters for publication, which cannot fail
to attract both young and old, affording pleasure, imparting information,
appealing to Christian sympathy, and kindling a deeper devotion to that
noblest of all service, viz., the winning of men back to the life and
love of God. The chapters are written in a beautifully simple and
transparent style, and are like windows through which we are able to see
the author's mind and heart, his intense love for the beautiful and
sublime in nature, for the flowers which deck the valleys and the
storm-clouds which envelop and shake the mountains, his appreciation of
the sweetness and naturalness of childhood wherever found, his faith in
the possibilities of the soul when touched by the quickening grace of
God, his confidence in the power of Christian truth to elevate and
ennoble human life and character, and in the salvability of all men
whatever their character, his certain assurance that he was Christ's
servant and the appointed bearer of His saving message to the lost, and
his calm, unshaken trust that the God whom he served was watching over
and protecting him in the midst of all exposure and peril, and that he
would fulfil His every recorded promise, and would not permit His word to
return to Him void. Such are the precious glimpses of the inner life and
spirit of the author which the book gives to us. His chapters are not
simply parts of an outward experience. Without intending it, he has
written into them much of his inner biography, and this is what gives to
them their intense interest and charm, and their power of appeal to the
reader.

As Dr. Bunker, who is now laid aside by physical infirmity from further
activity in the mission field, patiently awaits the Master's summons to
his rich reward on high, may this work be to many readers in the
home-land an irresistible call to a larger service for the coming of
Christ's kingdom in all the world, and a more vitalising faith in the
sure promises of God, who has declared, "I will give to thee the heathen
for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy
possession," and "The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of
our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever."

HENRY M. KING
PROVIDENCE, _March_, 1910.


* * *


CONTENTS

I.     EXPLORATION OF LOIKAW MISSION
II.    EXPLORATION CONTINUED
III.   FOUNDING LOIKAW MISSION
IV.    THE FIRST CHRISTMAS IN LOIKAW MISSION
V.     STORIES OF KAREN CHILD-LIFE
VI.    K'SURDO
VII.   ENCOUNTERS WITH WILD BEASTS AND SERPENTS
VIII.  STORY OF THE YAHDO CHAPEL
IX.    THIRTEEN WITCHES
X.     PERILS AND PLEASURES
XI.    THE MIRACLE OF SENITE
XII.   PROVIDENTIAL CARE
XIII.  THE MAGIC DOUGHNUT
XIV.   A NOTABLE MISSIONARY JOURNEY
XV.    THE GOSPEL AND THE SAVAGE BRECS
XVI.   HOW WE CAPTURED THE MYANGYOUNG PONGYI

* * *

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

MOUNG LAY AND FAMILY
ALTAR FOR SACRIFICE
THE RED KAREN VILLAGE OF KELYA
THE FIRST CONVERTS FROM THE LOIKAW MISSION
MISSION HOUSE, LOIKAW
THE MARY LOVE CHAPEL
SCHOOL CHILDREN
A KAREN VILLAGE IN THE HILLS
SAU LEE, BREC MISSIONARY
TAH DEE, YAHDO PASTOR
RED KAREN WOMAN
RED KAREN GRANDMOTHER
LA QUAI, KAREN EVANGELIST
A BUDDHIST PONGYI
HEATHEN VISITORS, MOUNTAIN KARENS
NATIVE CARRIERS WITH MISSIONARY OUTFIT
HEATHEN WOMEN

* * *

I - EXPLORATION OF THE LOIKAW MISSION


In the beginning of the year 1866 the writer, with his wife, landed in
Burma for missionary work. He was designated to the Red Karens, or
Karenni tribe, then a practically unknown people. Having acquired his
missionary knowledge largely from Wayland's "Life of Dr. Judson," he
settled down to a life work among the frontier tribes of Burma. Though
ultimately changed to the Karens of Toungoo, our first love for the Red
Karens was not forgotten. Through long years of labour for the Karen
tribes about Toungoo, we never ceased to pray and plan for the good of
our first love. So, late in the year 1868, an opportunity arising, Dr.
Vinton, of the Rangoon Karen Mission, and myself planned a survey of the
Red Karen country. This was the beginning of the work which finally took
shape in the Loikaw Mission. The journey was, at the time, regarded as
specially hazardous, since it was undertaken among unknown, wild, and
savage tribes. The country was also reported to be in the throes of
feudal warfare. It was, therefore, with some misgivings that we set out
from Shwaygeen, with three elephants and a large company of followers
(native pastors and servants), for this unknown land.

Our course for the first few days was directly eastward, toward the
Salwen River, through dense forests and jungle, inhabited by wild tribes
of Karens. Four days brought us to the town of Papoon, on the Yoonzalen
River. Here were the headquarters of the district magistrate, under the
English government. We found here, also, a few Karen Christians.

The remaining journey must be pursued through an absolutely unknown
country, lying along the Salwen River, and extending hundreds of miles to
the north. This region included the Karenni tribes, which we had
undertaken to visit. Refitting our expedition at Papoon, we sought guides
to conduct us through the country, but without success; for the people
were in great fear of the savages, and naturally the most dreadful
calamities were predicted, if we should persist in our purpose. For not
only was the country unknown and poorly mapped, but it was peopled by
numerous tribes of Karens which, although of one common stock, were at
constant feudal warfare with one another, and especially suspicious of
strangers. However, gathering all possible information of the country, we
were able, with the aid of the rough maps we had secured, and some
astronomical instruments, to set out hopefully. On the second day we saw
signs of war in demolished houses, ruined villages, and obstructed roads.
Though we were following a road which in times of peace was travelled by
large companies of traders, yet for several days we met no one. A great
fear seemed to reign over the whole land.

The third day we found our way obstructed with bamboo spikes, arranged to
prevent travellers passing to and fro. These spikes were a cruel weapon,
about a foot long, their points hardened in fire, and so planted as to be
invisible. One of our bearers was badly injured by them.

Dr. Vinton took careful observations for latitude and longitude daily,
and on the fourth day by these aids we reached the banks of the Salwen
River in the heart of the disturbed district. Here we found a large
village entirely deserted, though the houses were uninjured, and the
fruit trees in full bearing. In a kyoung, a priest's house, we found a
Shan manuscript in good preservation, which we took with us.

Being in need of supplies, and also for the purpose of exploring the
country, we camped on the bank of the Salwen at the mouth of a large
brook flowing down from the westward mountains. The same silence and
absence of inhabitants marked this delightful spot, and the whole face of
the country, though abounding in fruits, wild honey, and a variety of
wild animals, appeared to have been deserted for months. We pitched our
camp in the strongest possible position, to withstand attacks from
probable bands of robbers, and settled down to await our supplies of
rice. While waiting, we passed the time in hunting game for food. One day
Dr. Vinton and myself separated, circling through the forest, and finally
both came down to the main road. As I drew near I heard a shout from my
companion: "I have been taken prisoner. Come to my help." But as this was
laughingly spoken, I knew the case could not be serious. Coming in sight,
I saw him surrounded by a band of as savage-looking men as I ever saw.
They had all the marks of freebooters.

[Illustration -- Altar for Sacrifice]
[Illustration -- The Red Karen Village of Kelya]

Yet it was very soon manifest to me, however, that Dr. Vinton, instead of
being taken prisoner, had taken the whole company captive. His perfect
knowledge of the language and of native customs, and his remarkable power
of story-telling, with his strong personality, had already woven its
spell round them, and we soon had the whole band in camp. Our purpose was
not only to keep them from doing harm, but also to learn all we could
about the country, and to impress upon them the fact that we were
messengers of the living God, seeking only their good. They said, "How
can you find your way through this wilderness without guides?" and we
pointed to our surveying instruments, which seemed to fill them with awe,
and answered, "These are our guides." This greatly increased their
surprise, which became overwhelming when we bade them listen to the
talking of our large chronometer. After this exhibition, they kept at a
respectful distance from these instruments and held frequent discussions
in which it became evident by their gestures that it was of these they
were talking. That night we assigned them quarters where they could have
the least possible advantage over us. But when these wild men joined us,
by invitation, at our evening worship, and saw the reverent attitude of
our Karen Christians, and listened to their sweet singing, such as they
had never heard, and our worship had closed with a petition to the God
who cares for His children, the effect upon them was such that we no
longer distrusted them.

On the morrow, with our stranger visitors for guides, and with full
supplies of food, we set out for the capital of Western Karenni, several
days' journey to the north. Our guests, who had become quite
companionable, gave us abundant information about our journey and about
the state of the country.

As we passed through a deserted village, we found tamarind trees in full
fruit. The acid of this fruit is very grateful when travelling. In a
moment packs were thrown off, guns leaned against trees, and our
followers were in the trees gathering fruit to take with them. This
seeming recklessness excited the amazement of our visitors, who said:
"You surprise us exceedingly in a place like this, where we dare not
travel alone, or lay aside our weapons for a moment; but you people throw
them aside as though there were no bad men about, and seem to be entirely
without fear." Dr. Vinton improved this incident to impress upon them
again the watchful care of the God we served.

Some miles ahead our new friends separated from us, taking the road to
the right, which led to Eastern Karenni, while we pursued our way to the
left, directly north. The road was now plain before us, and our progress
rapid. In two days' travel we began to see signs of the inhabitants of
the land and. Tillers of the soil were going to their fields in groups of
two and three, all fully armed. We were entering a country where the
spirit of evil had supreme sway, as was evident on every hand. At every
branching road were altars built to the evil spirits, on which offerings
were exposed. Small huts, also, were built on rising knolls to propitiate
the spirits of the fields, and to insure good crops. The country was
largely cleared, the inhabitants numerous, signs of labour multiplied,
and interest increased as we advanced.

We seemed a small force to accomplish our object, and indeed we were
merely the forerunners of the Lord's army, advancing to the deliverance
of those who had long been under the destroying bondage of Satan; and
this conviction filled us with a holy enthusiasm. Messengers had been
sent to notify Koontee, the chief ruler of the Western Karenni, of our
approach, and about noon on the fourth day we saw a great company of
natives grouped on the top of a high hill, up which we were advancing. As
we came in sight, we were welcomed by a heavy discharge of native
firearms, the beating of tom-toms, and the blare of trumpets.

Koontee was an old man of kindly look, and he extended to us a hearty
welcome. He said he had long looked for our coming, that he had heard of
the gospel we proclaimed, and that he eagerly desired schools for his
people. After a brief conversation, he took the lead toward his chief
village, about two miles distant. We were escorted by an immense crowd of
noisy natives, who expressed their delight by shouts, mimic warfare,
dancing, and other childish manifestations. Reaching his village, we were
assigned the deserted house of a carpenter. It was clean and ample for
our needs. It was a large village of seven or eight hundred houses, well
built, and for the most part cleanly. Here we spent a week preaching and
teaching. The old chief, a descendant of a long line of reigning chiefs,
was most cordial. He said, "My father loved this way, of which a
missionary told him, who spent only a brief time here." [He had
reference, doubtless, to Dr. Mason, who made a hasty tour there years
before.] He further said, "I wish to have my children acquainted with
books." He knew very little of the gospel, but seemed anxious to know
more. He was supposed to be the ruler of sixty thousand people, or more.

During our stay, the singing of our band of Karen Christians had a marked
effect upon the young people, and several classes were formed for the
study of the Karen alphabet, and for learning to sing. One young man,
named Ngapah, connected with the reigning family, was so impressed that
he resolved to accompany us back to Toungoo to pursue a course of study.
He became the first convert to Christ among the Red Karens, and
ultimately preached the good news among his own people. He thus proved to
be the first fruit of the subsequent Loikaw Mission.

While the early work among the Red Karens was not so fruitful as in some
other Karen tribes, yet some rare jewels of Christian devotion were won
among the common people. The first of these was Ngapah, just mentioned.
The Holy Spirit wrought in him a miracle of grace, producing one of the
most conspicuous Christian characters in all the Toungoo Mission. He was
a conscientious, faithful, intelligent servant of the Lord Jesus. He had
ever the good of his people at heart, and their salvation was the supreme
effort of his life. And his labours for them were successful. Doubtless,
his name will stand high on the roll of the faithful in the heavenly
land.

Our return to Toungoo was directly westward over the successive ranges of
intervening mountains, and the journey was full of adventure, spiced with
not a little danger. The tribes encountered were semi-hostile, and did
what they could to block our way. But by careful watching, both night and
day, we broke through opposition and safely reached home.

On the first day of the return trip, as we reached the top of a mountain,
on which a large Red Karen village was built, the confusion among the
people was so great we at first thought our progress was being opposed.
The villagers seemed wild with excitement. The elephants and ponies, and
still more the white strangers, seemed to stimulate their curiosity to a
wild degree. They rushed upon us, clapped their arms about us, and
shouted in their excitement. We soon found, however, that it was only the
excitement of curiosity; and when we asked for water and a place to camp,
they were full of cordial hospitality. In gathering wood for a fire, Dr.
Vinton approached a large tree and began to gather the dead limbs beneath
it, when the people rushed upon him with loud exclamations of horror. An
explanation showed the tree to be the home of a powerful nat, or evil
spirit, who would slay those who approached him. An unusual opportunity
was thus given us to teach these people about the mighty God, of whom
they now heard for the first time. And as we took all our wood from this
tree without receiving personal harm, they seemed convinced of their
error. The afternoon was passed in cordial intercourse, and the next day
we departed with mutual expressions of esteem. The chief of the village
proved this by following us till noon, and by restoring a large knife
which one of his subjects had appropriated.

One scene remains fixed in memory as marking the strenuous character of
the opposition to our progress. All one day we had been marching,
clearing the road as we went, in which work an intelligent elephant bore
a large part by removing trees which the natives had felled across the
road to impede our march. Drawing near a native village, from which much
of the opposition had arisen, we saw the people gathered in apparently
hostile array on a hill-top. Our elephant made quick work in clearing out
the fallen trees in front, when, having put our caravan in compact form,
we marched up the hill in close order. Well do we remember Dr. Vinton
leading the caravan, and as we approached the compact mass on the
hill-top, he shouted, "Make way, make way, that the children of the
mighty God may pass!" As he called out in English, the savages were
astonished by the cry, and so gave way, and the three elephants and
several ponies with native bearers and servants all filed through in
compact array, while the two missionaries stood on either side and
guarded them as they passed.

A few more days brought us in safety to Toungoo. This proved to be the
opening journey for founding the future mission at Loikaw. On this visit
a native missionary by the name of S'Aw was appointed to the Red Karens,
and took up his residence at Kelya, the capital of the western province.
He was a man of great devotion and faith. His whole family (wife and two
children) had been stolen by this people when he was pastor on the
Toungoo frontier, some years before. This cruel treatment, however,
slackened not his devotion to the Red Karens. For many years he
consecrated all his powers to their good and salvation. He would have
been a notable worker in any land. It was not until worn out by years of
lone service in Kelya that he returned to Toungoo, where he died.



II - EXPLORATION CONTINUED


It should be stated that in those days the village of Loikaw was without
importance, but acquired some note when the English government, in
settling the Southern Shan States, chose it for a military post, thus
making it a post town. It is situated on the northern boundary of the
Karenni States, and on a small river running south from Eagle Lake. South
of it were the Eastern and Western Karenni States, to the southwest were
the Brec tribes, while on the west several minor tribes of Karens were
located. Then northwest of Loikaw was the strong and vigorous tribe of
Padong Karens, and also the peculiarly peaceable and teachable tribe
called the Goung Does. The Shans and Tong-thoos and some other races
dwelt on the north. All these combined to form the Loikaw Mission.

Some four years after S'Aw was located as missionary in Western Karenni,
a second expedition in the interests of the work was undertaken from
Toungoo. It was proposed to cross the mountains from Toungoo directly
eastward to Karenni, a distance of ten or twelve days' journey.

This long journey being regarded as hazardous for a single missionary,
Rev. Norman Harris, of Shwaygeen, joined the company. He was better known
among us younger missionaries as "Father Harris," and to us there was no
one in all Burma who better sustained this character. His round face,
illumined by the light which comes from strong faith in God, still shines
in our memories. With such a counsellor and helper, we felt strong for
the journey. We were also strengthened by the presence of S'Aw, the Red
Karen missionary, and Ngapah, the first convert from that people.

Early on the 12th of December, 1871, we set out from Toungoo with our
little company. The first night we were drenched with rain, and the
mountain-sides became so slippery that our progress was very slow.
Finally we left our two elephants and got Karen bearers, who took our
goods in conical baskets on their backs, this change enabling us to
travel more rapidly. On the 21st of December we reached the capital of
Western Karenni. The reigning chief was absent, settling political
questions among his people.

We were quartered in a large and commodious building, but it was cursed
in the eyes of the people, because "its former owner had the power to
destroy life by magic." This superstition holds sway among this people,
and many are condemned to death only because they are regarded as witches
or wizards, able to destroy life. The reader will note that the "Salem
witchcraft" has changed its location. The act of quartering us in a place
which had been cursed did not promise a cordial reception! The people
would naturally be deterred from visiting us until they should see that
we remained unharmed. This becoming manifest, they resorted to us in
increasing numbers. They also listened with growing respect to our
preaching. The children, especially, became interested in the singing of
the young men who accompanied us, and we soon had a fine school in our
quarters. Some were eagerly studying the "ABC" of the Karen language, and
others were learning to sing the Karen hymns. Thus our days were full of
work.

At the service held on the first Sunday in this village a large number
assembled in the house, but more sat outside; for the fear of the evil
spirits had not yet worn off.

Two days before our departure, Koontee, the ruling chief, returned and
greeted us with great cordiality. He gave us every encouragement possible
to appoint teachers in his village and to establish schools. Also a
number of young men and women declared their intention of returning with
us to Toungoo to enter the school there. Earnest consultations of the
omens by the people, as to the safety of their journey, took place. This
consisted in the inspection of the thigh bones of a fowl; which was
merely the old superstition of divination as practised by most heathen
nations.

On the night of our departure there was much excitement among the young
people, opposed in many cases by their elders, in deciding whether they
would go to Toungoo, or remain at home. On the 27th of December we arose
at midnight to prepare for the homeward journey. It was a beautiful
moonlight night, and, as we filed out of the village, we were escorted by
the old chief, who exhorted us: "Do not forget my people. They are very
ignorant and superstitious. Come again, and bring us the white book." We
found that several slaves had followed us. Altogether we had a formidable
company of those who had determined to leave their darkness and to seek
the true light.

Our journey home was rapid; but the jungle fever prostrated both Father
Harris and myself. Climbing a high mountain, myself in the lead, I heard
a groan and a fall. Glancing back, I saw Father Harris' great form
prostrate, his head down the slope of the mountain-side. He had fainted
from his fever.

On the 3rd of January we reached home from one of the most successful
missionary tours we ever made. This gave a great impetus to the gospel
among the young people of Karenni, and they began to come to our school
in groups of two or three in subsequent years. They readily assimilated
with other Karens in school duties, and rapidly acquired the Karen
dialect taught in the school. Also, on receiving religious instruction,
they eagerly embraced the Christian faith, and joined the school church.
In a decade and a half, upwards of eighty became followers of our Lord,
and many of the young men became devoted and zealous preachers of the
gospel. Thus was the work of the coming Loikaw Mission rapidly advancing,
though we did not realise the fact.

Several years followed, and a third tour was planned. In this we were
joined by Rev. Dr. Rose and his friend, Mr. McCall, from Rangoon. Much
knowledge of Karenni had now been gained. In fact, the whole country
between the Toungoo Valley and the Salwen River had been opened up to
missionary effort. Owing to the peculiarly prepared condition of the
Karens for the reception of the gospel, through their established
traditions, all this wild territory, with its many Karen tribes, became
exceedingly attractive to missionary workers; for most of the tribes
readily responded to Christian teaching. Hence this expedition was
undertaken with high hopes. A rapid journey across the mountains brought
us again to Kelya. We found that great progress had been made among the
people. The increase of religious knowledge was apparent everywhere. This
was due to the faithful labour of S'Aw and his associates, including the
many young men educated in Toungoo, who had returned to their own
country.

Koontee, the chief of Western Karenni, had died; but his successor,
Koonsaw, was equally cordial. Indeed, he gave strong evidence of having
embraced Christ by faith as his Saviour. In proof of his good will, on
one occasion he took from his side a silver-mounted sword, one of the
tokens of his authority, and gave it to the missionary with an earnest
exhortation that he continue the work for the education of his people.
This had been enjoined upon him by his father, Koontee, and he had
promised to effect all he could in this line.

After spending a delightful week or more in Kelya, we recrossed the
watershed towards Toungoo, followed by numbers of young men and women
going to Toungoo for study. In the meantime, Ngapah had grown to be a
mature Christian, and was most useful in the mission.

We must not omit an interesting incident of this tour. One morning we
were entering a pass, toward the top of the highest range, when a strong
home feeling came over us. Glancing around, we saw, to our surprise and
joy, what we had never seen, save in New England, multitudes of
dandelions and both white and blue violets in full bloom. Their bright,
laughing eyes filled us with new inspiration and courage for our work.
For they seemed to presage the time when all that dark, sin-cursed land
would come as fully under the sway of our Redeemer as the most
evangelised parts of New England. Nay more, they seemed bright omens of
that glorious day when "the kingdoms of this world shall become the
Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and
ever."

[Illustration -- The First Converts from the Loikaw Mission]

As we climbed the mountains it became very cold, and one morning,
emerging from our tent, we found the ground white with frost; and a
little further on we broke thin ice from a pool of water. This was a rare
treat for the natives, who, living on the plains, had never seen such
sights, nor felt the bracing tonic of such atmosphere.

As we neared our destination, we became oppressed with the question as to
how we were to meet the expense of supporting the youths who were
urgently seeking an education at our Toungoo school. So impressed was Dr.
Rose with the importance of this work that he offered to meet the need by
gathering funds in Rangoon. This promise he fulfilled, his friends
generously responding to his call for help.

From this time onward the work among the border tribes was pursued with
all the resources that the mission could command. Repeated tours were
made among Padoungs and Northern Karen tribes. The native missionaries
were very zealous in their travels, and did good work. As a result,
churches were established among the Brecs, the Padoungs, and other
tribes.

Twenty-five or thirty miles northwest of Kelya there was founded a
flourishing little church at the village of Daushee-I. This was largely
accomplished through the instrumentality of one of nature's noblemen,
named Tu-Ri, whom God has raised up from the heathen. He was a rare
Christian character, of a strong personality, and of large executive
ability. He accepted the teachings of Christ with his whole heart, and
reserved neither strength nor property in promoting the work in
connection with the native missionaries at Daushee-I. The church grew
rapidly, a good school was established and maintained, and through the
beneficence of Deacon Walter L. Clark, of Providence, R. I., a fine board
chapel was erected, which provided a home for the missionaries also, who
subsequently occupied the field.

During several subsequent years, much was accomplished by the
missionaries in travelling through all the region embraced in the Loikaw
field. One season, accompanied by Dr. J. N. Cushing, we travelled with an
English company of troops under command of Colonel Sartorious, going
through all the Southern Shan States. This tour extended also into
Eastern Karenni and other neighbouring States. In this expedition the
best of relations were established with the native chiefs, and large
missionary interests projected. As the results of this tour, politically,
the little village of Loikaw, composed of Shans, Burmans, and Eastern
Karennies, was chosen as a military station for the Southern Shan States,
thereby largely increasing its influence on the surrounding country.

During these years the knowledge of the gospel had been scattered far and
wide throughout these numerous tribes. The results in numbers baptised
were comparatively small; but manifestly the whole region was well
prepared for a great work of ingathering.



III - FOUNDING OF THE LOIKAW MISSION


In the autumn of 1899, God, in His Providence, seemed to show that the
set time had come to establish the Loikaw Mission. We give a brief résumé
of the conditions in the Toungoo hills, pointing to this event. Eastward
from Toungoo City, the gospel of the Lord Jesus had been diligently
proclaimed throughout English territory back to the watershed range
between Toungoo Valley and the Salwen River. It had overflowed this
boundary into the savage Brec country, and conquered this wild tribe. The
evangelist had passed around to the south of this country earlier in its
history, had entered Western Karenni, and had wrought a great revolution
in the sentiment of the people towards Christianity. Native workers had
been stationed in Eastern Karenni, a State larger than the Western, and
good had been wrought. Loikaw was on the extreme northern limit of this
State. The gospel also had been proclaimed from Toungoo City north and
northeastward to the boundary of the English territory in both
directions. Four days' journey northeast from Toungoo was our Christian
stronghold in that direction. Having captured Yahdo, as elsewhere
narrated, the gospel forces fell upon Senite, in the Padoung country, and
captured it for our Lord. True to its genius, the gospel spread to the
region around Senite, and crystallised in a large village, on the way to
Karenni, under a faithful evangelist named Asoung, which later developed
into a large and thrifty church.

The route passing through Senite and the Padoung country proved the most
available one to Karenni. The evangelists were accustomed to take this to
and from that country, preaching as they travelled.

A strong man, Tu-Ri (before mentioned), moved from Yahdo to a village on
the corners of three Southern Shan States, two of them being the Red
Karen and Padoung States. This village, Daushee-I, was thirteen miles
southwest from Loikaw.

In the autumn of 1899, while the writer was on furlough in America, three
letters from as many individuals, written at about the same time, but
quite independent each of the other, were received in Boston. These
letters were of the utmost importance, in that they urged a speedy
appointment of a responsible missionary for this region. They represented
the thirst for Christian education as having grown to such an extent
among the Eastern Karens that many had determined to secure this from any
who would give it to them. Their first choice was teachers from the
Society which had been ministering to them. Hence their appeal to the
American Baptist Missionary Union for a permanent teacher. If the
Missionary Union would send this help, they were content. Otherwise they
would apply to other missionary bodies. This meant the Ritualists, with
all their evils.

To this appeal the reply of the Missionary Union was that, if the writer
would return to Burma and take up this work, the Society would support
him. Rev. Truman Johnson, M.D., who had already proved himself a true
reproduction of Luke, "the beloved physician," in a long term of service
in the Toungoo Mission, was at home on furlough at this time. It was
suggested that he might be willing to join the new mission. This he was
quick to do, at the request of the Society. The Secretaries at the rooms
in Boston pronounced this an "ideal arrangement."

About the first of the year 1900, we gathered our supplies, and, on
reaching Burma, set out on the long journey over the Shan Mountains for
Loikaw, following the Burma Railway from Toungoo to Thazi, a hundred
miles or more. At Thazi we shipped our goods in carts to be taken across
the mountains over the great government road, then in process of
construction. This was the only route by which goods could be taken to
Loikaw, yet it took us a long way to the north of our destination.
Crossing the Shan Mountains, we entered upon the great Shan Plateau,
where we turned south to Fort Stedman, on the beautiful Ingle Lake. Here
we took boats down the Loikaw River, which flowed south from Ingle Lake.
The whole journey consumed about thirteen days.

We reached Loikaw the morning of January 17, 1900. The prospect from the
first was depressing. A strong wind from the south blew clouds of dust
over the village, which we found to be largely composed of Shans,
Burmans, and East Indians. Hardly a shade-tree relieved the dull
landscape. Our goods were hustled on shore by our boatmen, and we sat
down on our boxes, wondering what we should next do. We were completely
surrounded by an unsympathetic, if not a hostile, crowd. But the God of
missions did not keep us long in suspense; for, as we sat planning our
next move, we saw nine strong young men rapidly approaching us, whom we
soon recognised as belonging to the Yahdo church over the mountains.
Without appointment of any kind, or a knowledge of our coming, except by
rumour, they appeared just at the time most needed. This seemed to us a
special act of Providence in our behalf, and so we took courage. We
found, on enquiry, that there was a Karen clerk in the government house
who was a Christian from Bassein. On application to him we were cordially
welcomed into his house. Our nine Yahdo volunteers soon had our goods
safely piled under his house. Thus at rest for a time, we gave ourselves
to earnest prayer for Divine guidance in what we had long felt to be an
important step for the spread of the Kingdom of God in that part of
Burma. While engaged in prayer, Tu-Ri, the disciple of Daushee-I,
appeared with smiling face, leading a large body of his followers from
that village for whatever help they could render us.

On looking about Loikaw, we saw nothing to recommend it as a central
missionary station, save that it had been made a postal town. We also
found that strong opposition to the founding of the mission had been
organised, led by the only European government official in the place, and
an autocrat in his position. He possessed supreme power as a local
officer. The chiefs of the Southern Shan States, though nominally
independent, were completely under his control, through fear of his power
over them. We found that, though they had been friendly to us for years,
and had united in the call for our coming, they were now silenced through
dread of this English officer. Moreover, a Roman Catholic Society, that
had everything to gain, as they thought, by keeping us out of the
country, had a large and strange influence over this officer. He had the
power of bestowing or withholding favour. He could hinder us from
securing land for mission purposes from the tribal governors. Just here
Tu-Ri came forward with the offer of land and other help to establish our
mission near his village. He had no fear of the English political
officer. We ought to say here that this opposition on the part of an
official was exceptional. We have great pleasure in testifying to the
uniform courtesy and helpfulness of the English officials in Burma during
thirty years' experience. This helpfulness was exemplified in the
Lieutenant-Governor's orders in the present case, as related further on.

In consultation with Tu-Ri, the question as to our headquarters was
narrowed to three stations--Loikaw, Nwe Doung, about eight miles below
Loikaw, both being situated on the east side of the Karenni Valley, and
the little village of Daushee-I. Under the escort of Tu-Ri and his
followers, after three days' study of Loikaw as a situation, we set out
for Nwe Doung. Here we were received in the most friendly manner, but
could find no healthful place for a mission dwelling. We then crossed the
valley to Daushee-I. Here we found conditions most favourable for our
purpose; as we would be located on the corners of three Southern Shan
States, and be central for all our work.

[Illustration -- Mission House, Loikaw]

We left Toungoo with a large purpose in mind, feeling we were to plan a
work for many years, and for a large population, consisting of many
tribes, who spoke different dialects. With this purpose in view, we set
about the study of our present situation with much prayer for Divine
guidance. Our good doctor pronounced in favour of the western side of the
valley, on grounds of health. The wind in the rainy season blew down from
the mountain ranges, making the air pure and comparatively free from
malaria. It was also on the direct route to Toungoo, and only four days
distant from Yahdo, the halfway station to that city. Moreover, it was in
the midst of the population whom we hoped to win to Christ. Villages of
the Padoung tribe, Eastern and Western Karenni, and the Brec nations were
near at hand, or within easy access at any season of the year. Other
considerations added their weight in influencing our decision. The most
powerful were the clear leading of Providence. For years previous to our
advent, the little church had been organised and more recently a fine
large chapel had been erected, Deacon W.L.Clark, of the Broadway Church,
Providence, R. I., meeting most of the expense. This would provide
temporary quarters for us while erecting a permanent dwelling. The ease
with which supplies could be brought from Toungoo for our schools and for
our support also had much weight; for the Loikaw Plain became a bog
during the rains, and very difficult of passage. The natives offering
large help, both in money and labour, also had weight, for the financial
support of the mission from home was yet small. Said Dr. Johnson, as we
sat overlooking the proposed site, "It truly looks as though the Holy
Spirit had directed us to this spot."

After further careful and prayerful consideration of the whole matter,
which involved grave interests, we settled on the hill above Daushee-I,
which had been given us for this purpose, as the future site of the
Loikaw Mission. We retained the name Loikaw, as it was a postal town.

The opposition of the British political officer to our settlement in the
Southern Shan States, beginning with our arrival, increased in violence
from week to week. He used all resources at his command to defeat our
plans, to prejudice the natives against us, forbidding them to receive us
and to grant lands for necessary buildings. The Karenni chiefs, who were
particularly favourable to us, and who had joined in the appeal for our
coming, were obliged to visit us secretly. His opposition culminated by
inflicting fines upon those chiefs who had helped us, and ultimately by
issuing a government paper, over his own official signature, ordering us
to cease building and to withdraw from the land.

But the hand of God was again revealed in our behalf. For the very small
mail brought a telegram from the chief officer of the English Government,
in Burma, giving us permission to build wherever we might choose, and
also ordering this political officer to cease his persecutions of the
chiefs, because of help bestowed upon us. And he further ordered him to
help us build our station. This stopped all open hindrance; yet this
officer kept up secret opposition during the following months. This was
specially shown against the native adherents of the mission. Yet our work
went forward successfully and rapidly: the efforts of past years forming
a good beginning for this new advance. The native evangelists were
enthusiastic, and the people far and wide were cordial and ready to help,
promising thatch for our new houses. Men brought the grass on the backs
of oxen from long distances, while the women gathered to weave it into
thatch for house-roofing. The men also helped in carrying timber, and in
such other work as their time would allow. We brought sawed teak timber
from Loikaw on carts, and also felled trees in the near forests, sawing
them up by hand, thus securing lumber for our dormitory and
dwelling-house. The necessary hardware and windows we brought from
Rangoon on our trip up to Loikaw. In one hundred and forty-nine days we
were able to move from the chapel into our mission house. This speedy
result was made possibly by the fine business capacity and architectural
skill of Dr. Johnson, who pushed the work vigorously against seemingly
overwhelming obstacles.

Vegetable gardens were laid out, fenced, and planted with seeds brought
from America. In like manner flower gardens were planted, thus providing
in anticipation edibles and flowers which would remind us of our dear New
England, or present a homelikeness to cheer us in lonely hours. Then the
cocoanut palm stood side by side with pines from the hills; pyramids of
nasturtiums stood in the front yard, blessing us with their rich colours
and perfume; fruits from our garden rested upon our table, and our
material circumstances were all we could wish.

One of the strongest elements in the success of the mission was the
medical work of the "beloved physician." His hospital at first consisted
of a deal box and a chair in the shadow of the Daushee-I chapel. Patients
resorted to him from all parts of the country, some with horrible
sicknesses, which he treated with the utmost patience and skill. With a
suitable building and proper appliances, how much could this element of
power have been increased. These materialised in due time, adding a
mighty impulse to our work.

Our spiritual work in like manner advanced with encouraging rapidity. The
good will of the people, and the long years of Christian instruction they
had received made them very susceptible to the influence of the gospel.
The little discouraged church of twelve members at Daushee-I sprang into
new life. There were fifty present at our first service in the Clark
chapel, not including children. This attendance was maintained, and
increased gradually. A Sunday school was organised at once, and also a
day school. The whole atmosphere of the mission was one of joyous
activity. The young people often broke out into song when about their
work, and our hearts sang with them in joy and Thanksgiving. Applications
for teachers came to us from every quarter, which we supplied as rapidly
as possible, until twenty villages were occupied. The results in 1903
were nineteen stations and churches in a population of between three
thousand and four thousand. We had twenty-two preachers and teachers at
work. In that year there were sixteen baptisms and one hundred and twelve
church members. Two hundred and twenty-four were gathered in the schools,
and the contributions of the natives for the year were over eight hundred
and eighty rupees, or two hundred and ninety-four dollars. These results
amply justified our expectations of a richer and more abundant harvest in
the near future.

At one time, in discussing ways and means with an officer of the
Missionary Union, when the rapid successes gained in this mission were
urged as a reason for a more generous support, he exclaimed, "Yes, but we
did not expect this interest to assume so quickly the size and importance
of an established mission."

It was also feared by some friends of the mission that too large sums of
money had been expended upon it to produce such results. But a careful
comparison of the amounts expended on several old missions, and also for
the founding and support of six new missions in Burma for five years,
beginning with 1899, shows that, per convert, much less sums had been
expended on the Loikaw Mission during these years.

Every condition seemed to promise abundant future harvests. Several had
applied for baptism from Kelya--the old station among the Red Karens
which S'Aw had so long occupied; and notes of "harvest home" were heard
from every quarter, when the writer's health broke down in May of the
second year of the founding of the mission, and he was forced to retire
permanently from the mission field. Every plant which God plants must
flourish and bear fruit, and to Him be all the glory.



IV - THE FIRST CHRISTMAS IN LOIKAW MISSION


A faded list before us brings vividly to mind one of the pleasantest
incidents of our whole missionary life. It was the day before Christmas.
Dr. Truman Johnson and I had been working for nearly a year to establish
the Loikaw Mission. We had encountered and overcome, by God's manifest
help, great difficulties in this work. The site for the mission station
was on that of an ancient city, and the streets, garden walls, and fruit
trees were left. Our buildings were nearly completed, our mission school
had begun its work of enlightenment, and many patients were coming to the
hospital daily. Our vegetable and flower gardens were flourishing,
reviving pleasant memories of home. Two mounds of nasturtiums in the
flower garden were a blaze of colour, and a variety of home plants were
likewise in bloom. The Loikaw Mission was in full operation, sending its
rays of gospel light into the surrounding gloom of heathenism.

On the eve before Christmas, wearied by the labours of the day, I sat
among the flowers, enjoying the cool of the evening. The environment
vividly suggested the homeland with its Christmas festivities. The strain
of past months of labour and care for the moment rolled away, and
pleasing home thoughts, whispered by the surrounding flowers, took their
place. Half-regretfully I thought of our isolation in the far-away
mountains of Loikaw. No Christmas with home friends for us. Ah, how
little could I realise the wonderful and glad surprise the God of
missions was preparing for us!

We were many days' travel over high ranges of mountains, among the
heathen Hill people. There was no settled transportation over these
mountains, and our nearest post-office was thirteen miles distant. These
facts shut off any hope of partaking in the home life of Christmas; and
with a feeling bordering on depression, as the shadows deepened, I
retired to my room, lighted my lamp, and sat down to read. At about eight
o'clock the people returned from their evening worship. Hearing their
excited voices in the room below, I began to realise that something
unusual had occurred, and soon a Karen burst into my room, exclaiming,
"Teacher, Moung Lay has returned, and has found your cases of goods from
Rangoon, and there is also a box for you from America." Months before we
had sent to Rangoon for supplies, and, owing to the long delay, we
thought them lost, and had sent Moung Lay to look them up. He had been
absent a week,--but that box from America--what could it be? Oh,
probably Mr. Phinney, of the _Mission Press_, had used an American box in
which to pack our supplies. "Yes, teacher, we are sure the box is from
America, and for you. We know from the marks on it." "Well, bring it up,
and let us see what it is." Sure enough, it was a box from home. In a few
moments several Karens brought in another, a larger one, and the room was
soon filled with heathen and Christian natives, all filled with curiosity
to see what had come to their teachers from the fabulous land of plenty.
Dr. Johnson, the beloved physician, also joined us, and we soon had the
smaller box opened; and out of it sprang Santa Claus with as hearty a
"Merry Christmas" as ever was uttered in a Christian land. It was spoken
by so many loving friends in package after package. "Why, doctor, it is
full of Christmas presents, and to-morrow is Christmas Day. Here's a
package for you right on top."

Then the wonderful thing our God had done began to be realised by us.
Only One with omniscient power could have so timed the arrival of the
boxes that, after fourteen thousand miles' travel, and months in carts
and boats, over mountains and across lakes, subject to all the
vicissitudes of uncertainty, those precious boxes should be placed before
us in this far-away corner of the earth, exactly on the night before
Christmas, for which they were intended by the dear givers in the
homeland! It was almost past belief. Yet there they were before us, and
the natives all about, wild with delight as they saw the beautiful things
unrolled before their eyes. A sacred light fell upon these gifts. They
seemed to be from heaven, rather than from America. They were certainly
God-given, as they were God-inspired. Surely, no one could have thought
us weak, had they seen tears fall upon these tokens of friendship.
Package after package, now one for the beloved physician, and then one
for me, all so clean, so neatly folded and tied. The very strings and
wrappings were of interest. Books, pictures framed and unframed, towels
and soap, napkins, beautiful vases for flowers, and candy, which made the
natives smack their lips with delight. The list before me covers a full
sheet of foolscap paper. With special joy we noticed how many of the
gifts could be profitably used in our mission work. How could the donors
conceive so well just what we needed?

Here were books enough to make the beginning of a mission library. We saw
that our dear native Christians, so poor and needy, who had never seen
anything so beautiful as the wonderful things coming out of those boxes,
could share largely with us in our precious gifts. How rapidly were they
learning the object-lesson of Christian love in their experiences of that
evening.

[Illustration -- The Mary Love Chapel]

By midnight the floor, chairs, bed--everything was covered with a
Christmas glory. Under a hallowed spell of God's loving care we slept,
only to awake to a new surprise in the morning; for the largest of the
three cases greeted us as we came from our rooms. In this was the
wonderful Christmas cake from a church in New York. It had travelled its
long journey without a break, so carefully was it packed. Its large,
brown face, with the motto across its forehead, smiled at us a Merry
Christmas of its own. Again we reviewed our gifts before a great crowd of
natives. Again we took note of how for many days the native Christians
could be blessed with this surplus of gifts; for there were many things
among them which met their needs, as if the donors had distinctly
foreseen them. In fact, in the days following, it was pleasing to see the
efforts at clean faces and hands, and the unsnarling of tangled hair,
never before acquainted with comb or brush. Company after company came
from distant villages to see this strange and unheard-of exhibition. What
new views of Christian fellowship were awakened in the minds and hearts
of these native Christians, as they listened with open mouth to the story
of the gifts, together with the love of the givers for Christ's work
among the heathen. Especially did the timing of the arrival of the gifts,
by the guiding hand of Providence, appeal to them and draw them towards a
God so mindful of His children's happiness.

But this list of the donors--as I scan it today, it awakens in my
heart the most hallowed memories. Here are friends who have been helpers
in our mission work for thirty years and more. Some of them have finished
their work and have gone to their reward; some have ripened in age and
yet dwell in the Beulah land, waiting the passage of the river; while
others are in the prime of their usefulness. Dear brothers and sisters,
do you think your missionaries can ever forget the years of help in
loving gifts and helpful messages received by them through all these
years? Much less, can God forget? Here their names are all recorded. They
are from all over New England, and the Middle and Western States. Even
the capital city of the nation has sent its token of interest.

But we must not fail to notice the sweet and cheering messages enclosed
in almost every package and book. There was never a sweeter exhibition of
love and loyalty to Jesus than these contained--love for His cause
everywhere, and specially for the lost heathen. How gladly we regarded it
as an offering to our adorable Lord, and thankfully did we ascribe to Him
the glory and praise.

While we read over again with quickened heart-beats this now sacred list,
our mind turns instinctively toward that devoted worker whom God used in
this exhibition of his loving care. Her loyal heart, under God's
direction, we believe, inspired this gracious act. Her hands packed those
three cases so closely that not a thing was broken. She it was who sent
them on their way, timed to reach us to the day and almost the hour. May
our Father bless her, and all who shared in this glad Christmas in
Loikaw, as do we and scores of native Christians.

Such was the first Christmas celebration ever held in the Loikaw Mission
of Burma. May this evidence of God's love be repeated in this mission
many times to His own glory.



V - STORIES OF KAREN CHILD-LIFE


When, puffed up by the pride of race, we begin to think ourselves far
above the less favoured, we need to be reminded of the fact that God
"hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face
of the earth," and that differences of race often result from
environment. If the mental and moral characteristics of the uncivilised
exhibit a wide variety, it should not be forgotten that the highest
civilisation has not obliterated similar varieties. Facts show that the
white nations by no means monopolise the gifts of God's grace. Each
nationality contributes some excellences of its own to the ultimate
typical man. The term heathen is a misnomer. In the thought of the more
intelligent natives of the East, where the gospel of Christ has been
proclaimed, mankind is composed of only two classes--heathen and
Christian, the former rejecting Christ and His gospel, while the latter
humbly accept both.

Having occasion to cross the Shan plateau, where the gospel had never
been preached, we reached a village made up of Shans, Burmans, and
Karens. There was a deserted kyoung (rest-house) near the bank of the
stream up which we were going, and, being weary, I sat on its steps. It
was early morning, and the scene before me reminded me of New England.
The grass-plot gently sloped toward the stream of clear, sparkling water,
flowing from a lake whither we were going. The kyoung was in the
foreground and the village extended backward up the slope. It was like
the usual native villages, with many dilapidated bamboo houses. On the
right was a wretched hovel of the usual style, of two stories, where the
native children had gathered for play. The upper story had a veranda
around it, which was reached by a bamboo ladder. As I sat listlessly
watching the children, being very ill, a large dog began to bark at me.
Directly one of the children, a little girl of eight or ten years, came
down the ladder, picked up a stick, and drove the dog away. She was a
heathen girl, absolutely ignorant of the God we worship. I acknowledged
her service with a bow. She seemed pleased, ran up the ladder, and again
joined her companions in their sports.

As my attention had been drawn to her by her kind act, I continued
watching the sports of the children with renewed interest. She seemed a
bit restless and frequently came to the edge of the veranda to look at
the stranger. Soon she took her younger sister by the hand, came down the
ladder, and slowly approached me. This act specially impressed me. I was
a stranger from a race she had seldom met, if ever, and it was inspiring
to note her fearlessness. As she drew near, I thanked her in her own
language for driving away the dog. I also took from my pocket a small
Burman coin, and gave it to her. And lest her little sister should feel
offended, that being my only coin, I have her a banana. These slight
presents filled them with joy. Turning about, they held them up for the
inspection, as I supposed, of their mother; and immediately the whole
village ran together about me. I entered into conversation with the
elders. "Have you any schools? Have you any teachers? Does a Buddhist
priest live in your village?" To all these questions they replied in the
negative. When I asked them if they knew anything of the great God, who
created the heavens and the earth, again a negative answer was given. And
then they asked: "Who is He? Where does He live?" And as I tried to tell
them of His love, and the coming of His Son, they plied me with questions
which my limited knowledge of their language left me unable to answer
satisfactorily.

Meanwhile, I had cultivated the acquaintance of my two young friends, who
seemed to have assumed the proprietorship of the stranger, about whom
they hung. In my efforts to explain the great question of God and His
Son, I took out my watch, which excited much surprise among them. One, on
listening to its ticking, looked up with wide-eyed amazement, and asked
in bated breath, "Is this your God?" Unclasping the chain, I handed it to
my little friend. An American child, most likely, would have reached out
her hand for the treasure, and would have taken it, perhaps, with a
"Thank you." Not so this little heathen girl. She stepped back, bowed
very low, as an act of homage, and opened her little hand before me,
signifying by the gesture that I might place the watch upon her open
palm. Apparently, in her view, it would be impolite to take the watch
directly from my hand. Her pleasure on receiving the watch was very
marked, and her people crowded about her to inspect it and to listen to
its "talk." She would not allow it to pass from her hands, but readily
exhibited her treasure for inspection. In a few moments she returned the
watch, in the act holding it in her clasped hands and touching her
forehead with them, another sign of homage, after which she bowed low and
opened her hands for me to take the watch. It was all so neatly and
gracefully done as to quite win my heart, and to awaken the wish that
such heathen customs might be introduced among children of my own land.

We continued our conversation with the villagers, who were polite and
respectful, still noticing the two little girls, who kept hovering about
us. Soon the older one came near and sat at my feet, looking up into my
face to see if I approved her act. This surprised me, but her next move
was more surprising; for she arose and seated herself at my side before
all the people. This was as strange a thing to do, in the mind of the
people, as it was for Queen Esther to enter into the presence of King
Ahasuerus. The people looked on with alarm, as if expecting my anger at
such boldness. I recognised her confidence by putting my arm around her
and drawing her to my side, thus making a place for her sister, which she
took. The whole company of villagers seemed immensely pleased with this
treatment of the children. Now consider that there was not a Christian
among them, nor any one who had probably ever heard of Jehovah until I
had proclaimed Him in their hearing; yet their fellowship and approval
were most marked; and directly, as my boat and followers came up the
river to the landing, they further manifested their fellowship by
following me to the boat, and by smiling upon me as I embarked. It was a
covered boat, and after waving them a farewell, I withdrew from their
sight, involved in deep thought.

This pleasing experience had shown me the heart of the heathen. Somehow a
refinement had grown up among them. These little children showed this
refinement in their training. By nature they were as beautiful as any
children I ever saw. They were clean and well dressed, their hair was
neatly arranged, and they showed a gentleness in movement and speech
which was winsome. There was life and light in every action, and yet they
knew not even the name of the Lord of life and light. Glancing over this
company, it was easy to mark the dividing-line between the innocence of
childhood and the spiritual blindness of the adults. And this thought
suggests the condition of the densely populated East, with its multitudes
of children, as engaging and interesting as these, lacking only a
knowledge of the Lord of glory to insure the transfer of their loveliness
to old age, and so to fit them for the heavenly land.

My boatmen pushed on up the river, and, as we were about to make a turn
which would shut my new friends from view, I glanced back for a final
sight of them. The villagers were slowly filing away from the river's
bank, but my two little friends had followed after my boat a short
distance, and soon they passed from sight. I know not whether any
missionary has since reached them, or they ever again heard the blessed
name of Jesus, the lover of children. Seeing before them the awful future
of a heathen education and life, I said to myself: "Can it be possible
that so many children in this land, so engaging, so graceful, so easily
won as these, must continue to grow up, pass under the dense cloud of
ignorance and superstition, and be lost forever?" And many times since
have I prayed that God would move His stewards in Christian lands to such
liberality in the support of foreign missions that these millions of
heathen children may not be left to perish in their spiritual night.

One of the best ways to learn the inner life of any people is by the
study of their children. They are usually a reproduction of their
parents--little men and women. This is as true among wild peoples as
among the civilised. Journeying over the great military road, constructed
across the Shan country by the government of Burma, we had an instructive
adventure illustrating the above fact. Riding a bicycle, I had left the
carts on the road, and had reached a little settlement about noon. Here I
awaited the arrival of our company. This settlement represented a group
of poor pigstys. A clump of large bamboos offered an attractive shade. I
had no sooner thrown myself down for a little rest, than some dozen or
more children swarmed around me. They were unusually dirty, yet
attractive. Most of them were from six to ten years of age. Few wore any
clothes, while the rest had merely an apology for rags. After looking me
over, they continued their play. In course of time my followers came up,
and, spreading my tent, I settled myself for a good rest, while dinner
was preparing. Getting out my last magazines, the little folks, with whom
I had become quite well acquainted, were keenly interested in all I did
and had. The pictures in the advertising pages particularly attracted
them. Though they had probably never seen a book, they were able to
distinguish not a few of the pictures, especially those of animals; and I
found their remarks more entertaining than the stories in the magazines.

[Illustration -- School Children]
[Illustration -- A Karen Village in the Hills]

In my study of these little folks, I noted that one, a dirty girl of
about eleven years, clothed in rags, the merest apology for covering,
seemed to be the leading character in all their plays. A happy
inspiration led me to propose, a feast for them. So calling this girl,
and announcing my purpose, she was directed to take the food, prepare the
table, and see that each one behaved properly at the feast. This greatly
pleased her, and her bright eyes twinkled; for really, had she been
washed and clothed, she would have been a remarkably attractive child.
Taking a large plate and placing it on a paper upon the ground, I poured
on it a cup of white sugar, first giving the hostess a taste, so she
might know it was not salt. Then I turned over matters to the hostess. A
comical scene ensued. Like a born leader, she marshalled her little
companions about the table, and gave them their orders. They were to seat
themselves with their right side to the plate, and to eat with the right
hand. They were not to talk, and must eat slowly and a little at a time.
These directions were carefully obeyed. The combination of rags and
tatters and good manners, and the dignity of the hostess, were very
amusing.

While meditating on the discovery of so rare a jewel among a bunch of
rags and dirt, my reveries were suddenly interrupted by seeing my little
lady grasp a handful of sugar and, like a humming-bird, dart away among
the huts. But this puzzling act was explained by her immediate return,
followed by her mother. Apparently, she could not fully enjoy the feast
without her mother sharing it with her. Here was an instance of unselfish
child-love not always met in Christian lands.

It is interesting to note how closely children of all races resemble each
other. In all their social relations heathen children do not differ from
those born in Christian lands. It is only as they begin to think and plan
for themselves that they learn the ways of their elders, or diverge from
the common innocence of childhood to the adoption of heathen
superstitions and practices.

This unity of childhood marks the unity of the human race, and the saying
that "human nature is the same in all the world" gains new emphasis when
studied from the standpoint of the child. Accordingly, the missionary
finds at this point of his new work that he is dealing with familiar
problems. These characteristics, which mark the unity of childhood among
all races, sometimes appear to be accentuated among less intelligent
peoples; so that, before the fogs of sin and ignorance have blurred the
image of God in which they were created, they show a strength and
brightness more marked than in their more favoured brothers and sisters
in enlightened lands. This fact has not received due attention in
ethnological studies.

On our first tour of exploration to Karenni, before narrated, we met a
case in point which was instructive. In our company were a number of
schoolboys, who were sweet singers and otherwise bright pupils in our
Toungoo school. In their association with Red Karen children, they
quickly formed acquaintances and proved themselves to be good
missionaries. The children they were visiting had never seen the white
book, nor heard intelligent singing. Our boys soon had a class in the
Karen alphabet and in singing. With surprising quickness they learned
both the songs and alphabet. Our youthful teachers were in great demand,
and enthusiasm ran high. Among others, a young girl perhaps of fourteen
years, was quite carried away with the idea of learning to read the white
book. In their conferences their relation to the Living God was
explained, and Naw De-moo, the little girl referred to, was fired with
the desire to learn more of this wonderful Being.

The question of Naw De-moo returning with us to Toungoo for study arose,
and was carefully discussed. She would be the only female in the party,
and the journey would require ten or twelve days, and be over high ranges
of mountains and through forests abounding in wild beasts. As De-moo
expressed her desire strongly and repeatedly, the proposition took form.
That she might be fully prepared for the hard journey, the difficulties
of the way were carefully set before her. One Red Karen boy was to return
with us, so that communication would be easy. As she stood before us, she
appeared much excited. The difficulties of the journey were again
explained. But she was told that, on reaching Toungoo, she would be
heartily welcomed by the missionary women, and that we would provide all
her needs while engaged in study. Then she could learn to worship the
Living God to her fullest satisfaction.

It was a scene long to be remembered. This little child was contemplating
the long and dangerous journey to a distant land, where none of her
people dwelt, to learn the mysteries of the white book, and of the
worship of a new-found God. Her excitement was intense. As she stood
before us trembling, we said to her: "De-moo, think well of what you are
doing. Make up your mind firmly. If you decide to go with us, well. We
will care for you as for an own child." She still hesitated; but,
summoning a strength and determination altogether beyond our accepted
ideas of heathen children, she exclaimed, "I will go and learn to worship
the Living God, live or die."

She was told to prepare herself for the journey, as we would leave early
in the morning. As our company filed out from the village the next day,
she appeared among us with a small basket of food and clothes held by a
strap against her forehead, ready for the journey. A number of her
friends also were escorting her. Not once during the long journey did she
exhibit signs of homesickness, but patiently tramped along with the
caravan, up and down the mountains, and across rivers, until she reached
the city of Toungoo. On the way, our Karen boys and the whole company
treated her with the utmost politeness, even as though she had been the
queen of the Karens. At even-time they made a little booth for her
lodging-place, and eagerly helped her as beset they could through every
difficulty.

Never have we seen a better exhibition of kindly feeling among civilised
races than was shown toward De-moo on this her triumphant journey from
darkness to light, from the city of destruction to the city of life. She
reached Toungoo in safety, and was most cordially received into the
school, as the first Red Karen girl who had dared to make such a long
journey in search of a nobler life. She acquired the Sgaw Karen dialect
with remarkable quickness. In about a year from her entrance into the
school she applied for baptism, and subsequently she married a native
Karen pastor, with whom she led a life of remarkable usefulness till the
day of her death. Few white children would have shown such courage,
faith, and patience in pursuit of a better life. She was, indeed, one of
the choice fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Many instances arise in missionary experience to show that God exercises
His providential care over heathen children as well as over those of
Christian birth. The following incident is given to illustrate this fact.
In a village perched on a mountain-side far away in the jungle, a teacher
had begun his work of preaching the gospel. Down the mountain-side was a
spring which supplied the village with water. According to the usual
custom, the young children collected the wood and brought the water for
family use. One of the elders of the village had discovered tracks of
some wild animals around this spring, and, with visions of a venison
dinner, he had planted bamboo spikes about it. This act was called
"do-mer" (spike-planting). The spikes were made of the toughest part of
the bamboo, were about four feet long, the points sharpened and made hard
in fire, and made a very formidable weapon for attack or defence. One
morning Naw Paw-Gay, five or six years old, took her bamboo for water. It
was longer than herself. She put the strap across her forehead and
trotted down the hill to get water for the morning rice. As she stooped
to dip the bamboo into the spring, a dark shadow fell upon her and a
rushing sound passed over her. Instantly she awoke to her peril, as,
looking up, she saw a frightful beast. It was a man-eating tiger which
had secreted itself in the grass near the spring to watch for its
breakfast. The moment the little girl stooped to dip up the water, the
tiger sprang for her head. Missing it, he went over her and fell upon the
spikes and was securely impaled upon them. Her terrified screams quickly
brought the villagers to her rescue, and they shortly despatched the
tiger. Henceforth, the name of Naw Paw-Gay was changed to Ke-Rou-po, or
"the tiger-child." The sceptic may call this an accident; but the
believer in God's loving care will regard it as a special interposition
of Providence.



VI - K'SURDO


"K'SURDO"--this word has been a song of joy to many missionaries
during the last half of the nineteenth century. It is a lone mountain
about twenty miles southeast from Toungoo City. It is oblong, and rises
fifteen hundred feet from the plain on the eastern bank of the Toungoo
River. It is so situated as to catch the dry-season winds from both north
and south. Throughout the hot season the temperature at the mountaintop
is from ten to fifteen degrees lower than on the plains. This affords
great relief from the oppressive heat that elsewhere prevails. The
mountain was a fortunate discovery for the foreign whites who reside in
this part of Burma.

A small Karen village had sought the cool shade of K'surdo, and a
conference of churches was appointed to meet there. This drew the
attention of the missionaries to the great change of climate between its
summit and the plains; and further exploration of the mountain settled
the question of K'surdo as a possible sanitarium for the mission.

The mountain's surface is much broken. Deep ravines, starting from the
summit, cut its sides in every direction. These ravines are filled with a
growth of rattan, numerous dwarf palms, arums, and other tropical plants
of richly coloured foliage, which afford constant surprises and pleasure
to the lover of nature. The mountain is also covered with large boulders,
as though some giant iceberg in past ages had stranded here and dumped
its load of rocks. In some places granite boulders of immense size are
piled upon each other. These groups of rocks were a constant source of
interests, and some of them were named to distinguish them from each
other. Prominent among these was the "Treasure-rock," composed of several
huge granite blocks, forming a sort of cave, and out of the centre grew a
large jack-fruit tree. Native tradition here located the valuables of an
ancient village, whose inhabitants were driven away by their enemies.
There was also the "Table-rock," a level shelf of the mountain, which
afforded a charming place for picnics, as it was densely shaded by
bamboos and creepers. The "Fern-rock" was another pile, carpeted with
beautiful ferns. Then "Lookout-rock" was situated on the verge of the
mountain slope, and the missionary children used to climb it to watch the
coming of messengers from the city. Distant from the camp was another
immense pile of rocks containing a cave, which was called the "Bear-den,"
suggested by the fact that bears were often seen there. It did not
require a vivid imagination to surround some of these formations with
stories of ancient ruined castles and battlements, the scenes of once
bitter strifes. An, in fact, the mountain abounded in native traditions
of ancient peoples who chose it for their stronghold.

Primeval forests covered the mountain, the lofty trees of which were
bound together at their tops by creepers, thereby forming a grateful
shade. Here, also, was the home of the banyan tree, whose fantastic
rootlets, climbing over the boulders, or falling from the lower branches
and forming new trunks, afforded much interest. Each tree constituted a
grove in itself, and made beautiful playhouses for the children.

Fruit-trees also abounded, some of them proving the place to have been
formerly inhabited. Among the kinds most prized was one having fruit
hanging from its trunk, like bunches of grapes. They were of yellow and
crimson colours, and had a delicious acid flavour. The natives and
monkeys had no little rivalry in gathering this fruit. Then there was a
giant tree covered in its season with a fruit similar to the strawberry
in shape and colour, which was of delicious flavour.

Any attempt to describe K'surdo must needs be unsatisfactory, so varied
and unique are its attractions. In addition to what has been mentioned,
perhaps the crowning scene remains to be noticed. It is the "Betel-nut
Orchard." It was situated in a bowl-like depression of the mountain,
intertwined with vines. Here a rich soil had produced a variety of
flowering shrubs and trees, the most conspicuous of them being Areca
palms, which furnish the prized betel-nut of the country. In the centre
of the depression were these beautiful palms, tall and slender, crowned
with heavy plumes of dark, glossy green leaves, and golden fruit. They
contrasted strongly with the surrounding jungle, and presented a scene of
surpassing beauty, of which the beholder could never tire.

In the shade of these trees, cool even at noon-day, one could always find
a grateful retreat, which was made still more inviting by a stream of
clear water that flowed through the orchard, causing the flowering shrubs
that lined its banks to flourish with an Eden luxuriance. There were also
other shady nooks scattered here and there, inviting both the weary and
the studious to their repose. Indeed, the whole mountaintop was like a
well-ordered park, its atmosphere perfumed with flowers, and the whole
made vocal by the songs of insects and birds. And only they who have
experienced the bird-and-insect life of the tropics can appreciate the
peculiar charm of their morning and evening concerts.

K'surdo is also the haunt of various wild animals and reptiles. The
fierce heat of the plains in the dry season, with the failure of water,
drives the animals to this cooler climate with its water supply. Among
the more harmless animals were the black and brown bear, several kinds of
deer, the elk, and occasionally the bison. Of the deer there was a small,
graceful little fellow called the "barking-deer," so named from the
peculiar noise it makes when startled. The dreaded tiger and leopard were
also occasionally met, drawn thither in pursuit of deer. Moreover, wild
hogs roamed through the forests in search of fruit, while troops of
monkeys formed a constant source of amusement to the visitors. They
seemed to possess almost human discernment: for their curiosity led them
to gather about our camp to watch the children at play, and, finding they
were disturbed on week-days, they selected Sundays for their visits.
Baboons also were sometimes seen, and they looked strangely human at a
distance as they ran over the ground. Thus K'surdo furnished abundant
entertainment as well as rest.

It was found practicable to take classes of natives to this resort for
instruction, or literary work; so that, while resting, there would be no
interruption in our missionary work. At first our encampment consisted of
bamboo huts; but later, as this proved so good a missionary sanitarium,
more permanent dwellings were erected.

Amid such surroundings adventures were daily occurring which prevented
all monotony. And what glorious evenings were those when we gathered in
the open square of our encampment under the great banyan tree, which
spread over us its gently swaying branches and glossy leaves, and all
illuminated by our campfire, while the gentle breeze, which always
prevailed in the evening, added to our comfort and enjoyment.

Surprises, however, were liable at any time, and some of them were
decidedly ludicrous. For instance, a family of civet cats once discovered
our chicken coops, and made several attacks upon them. They came through
the tree-tops in the evening, and announced their approach by a series of
calls. A plan was made for their destruction. The natives were directed
to gather heaps of leaves and fire them when the cats began to call. This
was to reveal the intruders in the tree-tops, so that we could despatch
them. No little excitement was thus aroused, and when one of the largest
cats appeared in the banyan tree, directly over the house of one of the
missionaries, a well-aimed rifle-shot brought him down. He was much
larger than an ordinary cat, and fell like a stone, passing through the
grass roof of the house below. It so happened that the housewife was
sitting with her feet on a basket of clothes, hushing her little son to
sleep, when the cat came through the roof into the basket, spitting and
scratching furiously. The affrighted woman naturally fled to the bed for
refuge, but was quickly relieved by the removal of the intruder.



VII - ENCOUNTERS WITH WILD BEASTS AND SERPENTS


During my boyhood in Maine, I became ambitious to shoot a bear, but an
opportunity never occurred to do this there. And although frequently
seeing them about our encampment on K'surdo, my ambition was slow in
being gratified. One day a Karen girl was lost in her rambles. This was
discovered when she failed to appear at sunset. Parties were at once sent
out in every direction, but no trace of her was discovered. Early in the
morning, calling a Karen boy to carry an extra gun, I set out for an
extended search around the waist of the mountain. Approaching a deep
ravine, down which ran a small brook filled with boulders, and its banks
lined with small palms and rattans, I heard a noise like the scratching
of a fowl. While reaching back to the boy for my shot-gun, I saw what
appeared to my excited vision to be a small elephant rushing out of the
ravine up the mountain-side. Though not skilful with a rifle, a snap-shot
at the fleeing monster went true and stopped his flight. Turning
suddenly, he charged directly toward us. Having a repeating rifle, I
fired shot after shot at him, perhaps none taking effect. To my great
relief, he stopped in the ravine. His loud and laboured breathing showed
that he was badly wounded. Looking back for my Karen boy, I saw him
calmly loading the double-barrelled shot-gun with bullets. Gathering up
my scattered wits, I drew near the wounded bear to get a good sight of
him, well supported by my Karen lad. In fact, his bravery rather shamed
me, and I pressed forward to get the first shot. That shot pierced the
brute's brain and ended his distress. The bear was a monster. It took six
strong men to lift him, and they were unable to carry him to camp. This
event greatly excited the camp, especially the natives, who esteemed bear
steal as the choicest food.

About noon the next day the lost girl walked into camp as calmly as
though being lost were with her a common experience.

There is doubtless a strong attraction for adventure to all lovers of the
"wild," especially when mixed with a spice of danger. It may be that this
is stronger after than before the event; but to look a fierce beast in
the face, which is able to crush you in a moment, without afterward
trembling with fear, gives one a comfortable feeling of confidence.

One evening, a little before sundown, I set out on my evening stroll in
search of some venison for the camp. Our servant, who was cook and
man-of-all-work, thought he would like to follow the "master." After
crossing several ridges, we drew near a spot where, a few days before, I
had seen deer feeding. I had a double-barrelled shot-gun loaded with a
heavy charge of buck-shot. The servant was a little in the rear with my
rifle. I was walking quietly, and had passed a deep ravine and was
climbing a ridge that made down from the mountaintop. I had nearly
reached the summit, when a slight noise on my left made me look up; and
there was a sight to stir one's blood. Two very large bears were coming
slowly down the ridge, swinging their heads from side to side, as is
their custom. They were only several rods distant, and yet they had not
heard my approach. In such circumstances one thinks quickly. If I had had
my rifle, my anxiety would have been less. The first thought was, how to
escape. To turn and run would invite pursuit. The next thought was, to
climb a tree; but none was near. So, making a virtue of necessity, I was
obliged to face the beasts. Slipping an ounce bullet into my gun over the
shot, I prepared for what might come.

Meantime they had drawn nearer, and aiming carefully at the head of the
larger bear, thinking the smaller one would flee, I fired. The result was
the most awful "mix-up" of bruin and bushes I ever saw. He was evidently
very uncomfortable; for his roar was full of pain and rage. Fearing he
might get straightened out and turn upon us, I hastened back to the
servant for my rifle; and with this in hand the battle was soon ended.

Among the varied incidents which contributed to our entertainment, there
were some which did not result so happily. Not far from our camp was a
beautiful banyan tree of immense size. It bore abundant fruit, about the
size of a cherry, which was much sought after by the birds and beasts of
the forest. In strolling through the jungle one day, I observed this tree
was shedding its fruit, and that large animals were resorting here daily.
This promised a comfortable adventure. Burnishing my new Remington rifle,
and taking a good supply of cartridges, I went out to the banyan tree
early in the evening to get well settled before the animals came to feed.
I selected a large rock within easy shooting distance from the tree; and,
arranging my blind, I kept a sharp lookout for the coming game. Soon I
was surprised to see three large black animals coming over the ridge
toward me. Thinking that I had three bears on my hands, I prepared for
battle. The leader was very large. They came rapidly over the hill,
evidently looking for food, and the leader, a boar of great size, stopped
a half-gunshot from me, presenting a beautiful side shot. Resting my
rifle on the rock, and taking careful aim at the vital spot on the
shoulder, I fired. But I made a mistake, and lost one of the largest wild
boars I ever saw. His tusks appeared to be fully six inches in length.
Forgetting that a rifle, heavily loaded, will overshoot within the first
hundred yards, and is liable to bound when rested on a rock, I did not
make the necessary allowance, and so the bullet only cut the bristles on
his back. With a savage cry of alarm he threw up his head, and looked for
his enemy. Failing to discover me, he took up a slow and dignified trot,
as though scorning such an attack, and passed over the hill out of sight.
Of the other two, one sprang aside into a thick clump of bushes, leaving
in sight only a small black spot. Somewhat chagrined at my first shot, I
stood erect in my shelter, and at arm's-length fired a snap-shot at the
black spot in the bushes. The wild boar fell dead a few rods from the
place where he was hit. The third one had disappeared. The natives
declare that the wild boar is more dangerous to meet than even a tiger.
Possibly it was better that I had no closer acquaintance with the first
than the cutting of a few bristles from his back.

But our experiences were not always agreeable. Harmless as well as
dangerous snakes are abhorrent to most persons. These were our chief
discomfort; for they were numerous, and formed no small part of our
K'surdo life. In our first encampment our house consisted of a two-roomed
bamboo bungalow--a dining- and a sleeping-room. One night as we were
finishing our evening meal, the mail from America arrived, and as we were
reading the letters in the sleeping-room, we heard an unusual noise among
the dishes on the table. Looking up to discover the cause, what was our
horror to see an enormous snake reaching down from the rafters to help
himself to the butter. In doing this he disturbed a spoon in a cup, which
gave us the warning. Seizing a rattan cane, I advanced to the attack. The
snake evidently did not like my appearance, for he put his head over the
edge of the table to look for a place of escape. This enabled me to
strike a fatal blow. He was about fourteen feet long, but was not a
poisonous kind.

This incident quite upset our faith in the absence of danger in the
house, and, as snakes appeared so often in our house, we changed our
encampment to a less dangerous locality. Yet here also, in the course of
time, we were disturbed by the appearance of reptiles. We had made a more
substantial bungalow, building it well up from the ground. Yet one day
the house-mother, stepping into the sleeping-room, where the children
were playing on the bed, saw hanging from the rafters a large green
snake, which was seemingly fascinated by the singing of the children; for
he was swaying back and forth, his glittering eyes fixed upon them. The
mother had sufficient presence of mind to quietly call the children
outside, when the snake was despatched by the Karen boys.

The cooking for the family was partly done on an oil-stove, which was in
a corner of the room. One day the mistress of the house saw what she
supposed was a roll of cloth, left by the maid, behind the stove.
Stooping to remove it, she saw two bright eyes, and thinking it was a
frog, she sought a stick to drive it out, when suddenly the "frog" spread
out into a snake six or seven feet long. It proved to be a poisonous
kind. A few such warnings kept us alert.

The following accounts will show the character of the more dangerous
serpents.

Several narrow escapes from a horrible death from serpents have befallen
me in my missionary life, which have deeply impressed me with the
providential care of our Heavenly Father. One of these was from a python,
and a second from a giant cobra. The python, or as sometimes called, the
rock snake, is a variety of the boa family, and is often found in Asia,
especially in Burma. The bite of this snake is not poisonous. He captures
his prey in his strong coils and crushes it, when he swallows it,
beginning with the head. He can easily dispose thus of a small deer or
pig. They are sometimes found thirty feed in length and are attractively
coloured in rhomboidal figures. I once saw one running down a ravine,
which could not have been less than twenty-five feet in length. The
python is very fierce, and also quick in movement when darting for prey.

This serpent was captured one morning about a mile from the place where
it was photographed. Two Karen lads were travelling with me over a
mountain covered with old jungle, or that which had been left undisturbed
for centuries. It was during the hot season, and the plains were very
dry, so the animals had fled into the mountains for cool shade and water.
There were in this forest a variety of large and small deer, wild hogs,
bears, and other beasts. The forest through which we were going was very
dense, some of the trees being from one hundred and fifty to two hundred
feet in height. Rattans, small palms, bamboos, and many long-leafed
tropical plants grew in rank profusion. The air was heavy with the
fragrance of flowering trees and creeping plants, mingled with the rank
odour of living creatures. We were expecting at every turn of the brook,
along which we were cautiously proceeding, to see some wild animal. We
were not looking for serpents, though knowing we were passing through
their haunts. I was stepping from rock to rock in the brook, so as to
avoid noise which would frighten away game, and my two Karen boys were
following at some distance along the bank of the brook. As I put my foot
upon a large rock, I noticed a sudden movement among the dry leaves
between that rock and a larger one about three feet from it; and at the
same time I caught sight of the brilliant colours of this great serpent
through the leaves. Quick as thought I sprang to the bank of the brook,
but only a few seconds before the enormous folds of this serpent swept
over the place on which I had stood. In fact, we had sprang nearly
together; though I was, most fortunately, slightly ahead of the snake.
Immediately I put a fatal shot through his neck.

The wisdom of the serpent was here clearly shown; for he had coiled
himself closely between the rocks, and covered himself with dry leaves,
so that he could easily capture any animal passing up or down the brook.
For such an animal would naturally step over either of the rocks, and so
into the coils of the monster. And he surely would have caught me, if I
had not seen him as quickly as I did. My two Karen boys were greatly
excited, and most joyous over the escape of their teacher. Their joy was
also heightened by the thought of the coming feast; for they declared the
flesh of the python was like that of the chicken. They coiled him on a
long bamboo, and it required their united strength, with frequent rests,
to carry him to camp.

There is only one serpent in all India, so far as I know, which will
pursue human beings for the purpose of attack. The family of adders,
which are very poisonous, strike only when disturbed, and then in
self-defence. So with the cobra, of the hooded family of snakes. The
family of the cobra de capello, the individuals of which sometimes attain
a length of six feet, is very numerous, but very seldom attack a person.
Usually, when suddenly disturbed, they lift their head, spread the hood,
which is an enlargement of the skin of the neck, and utter a sharp
hissing sound, which serves as a warning; though a strike often follows
closely after the hiss.

Once I nearly stepped on one of these snakes, but, warned by the hiss, I
saw the reptile at my feet with uplifted head and spread hood, ready to
strike me. A quick side jump saved me from the bite. I should not have
seen him, as I was walking in thick brush, but for the warning hiss.

There is, however, no snake in the hooded family so dangerous, and
greatly to be dreaded, as the giant cobra, or hamadryad. This serpent
sometimes attains the length of thirteen feet. It is very quick in its
motions, can swim, and also climb trees. The natives declare it can glide
along on level ground as fast as a horse can run. As it cannot hold on to
sloping ground, the natives, when pursued by this serpent, take to the
hill-sides for escape. Fortunately, the giant cobra is not very common in
India, and his marking is so like a "jail-bird" that he is readily
distinguished from his surroundings. This marking, in the case I am about
to relate, consisted of dark-brown and dirty-grey bands of about one and
a half inches in width, alternating from head to tail.

One morning I was travelling alone through the forest, hunting wild
chickens. Flocks of jungle fowl, like the Brahma fowl seen in this
country, as well as pheasants of gay plumage, were often met, scratching
among the leaves under clumps of bamboos for bamboo seed. Every morning
the cocks would be heard challenging each other with their vigorous
crowing. I had previously seen a flock of these fowls in that locality.
It was near the close of the dry season, when the dry leaves of the trees
had fallen on the ground, and any movement among them could be easily
heard for some distance. As I strolled along, listening for any jungle
noise, I heard a rustling of the leaves, as if a hen were scratching for
her breakfast; and I stopped at once to locate its direction. When I
stopped the noise ceased, and I moved a gain. Again I heard the rustling
sound, and turned to locate it. The third time I was somewhat startled:
for it seemed that whatever was making the noise was timing its motions
with my own. This caused me to look back along the way over which I had
come, and there, indeed, was the source of the sound that had startled
me. It was a giant cobra, the hamadryad, of which I had been told so many
frightful stories by the natives, and he was after me. I had no time to
study the serpent, for he was only a few feet distant, and had evidently
been stalking me, to get near enough for attack before being seen. When
he saw that he was observed, he raised his great head about three feet
from the ground and spread his great hood, his challenge for a battle. A
quick shot hit him as he sprang at me, and his swift contortions were for
the moment frightful to behold. A second shot reached a vital spot, and
he dropped dead at my feet. Then, as I realised how near I had come to a
sudden and frightful death, a cold chill swept over me. Again the
providential care of the Heavenly Father had delivered me from an awful
death, and a feeling of deep gratitude filled my heart. Had I not been
prompt to look backward over my path, I should have lost my life. The
serpent was ten and a half feet long.



VIII - STORY OF THE YAHDO CHAPEL


Northeast from Toungoo, in Burma, four hard days' journey through jungle
and over mountain trails, lies the large Karen village of Yahdo; which
has become historic in the Toungoo Mission. When our missionary work was
first planned, this part of the country was quite unknown. It was located
on the boundary line between English and independent territory. Here the
dividing mountain range towered six thousand feet above the sea. At the
point where Yahdo was situated these mountains branched southward, as the
fore-finger and thumb of the left hand, and the Yahdo valley nestled
between them.

This lovely valley was about three miles long and one mile wide. A
laughing mountain stream runs through the centre of the valley, its banks
fringed with willows and flowers of the temperate zone. In passing from
the lower ranges into this valley, the change from tropical into
temperate-zone scenery was so sudden as to be startling. The bounding
mountain ranges also greatly differed from the surrounding ones. Those
answering to the thumb had rounded tops and graceful slopes, while those
answering to the forefinger were ragged, precipitous, and broken. Their
sharp, towering peaks, and their precipitous crags, from eight hundred to
a thousand feet in height, formed a scene of imposing grandeur.

When the plans for our missionary work were prepared, we aimed to reach
the frontier in our evangelistic tours as soon as possible; yet it took
many years to explore and occupy the intervening territory. At that time,
1866, the frontier church was named Shwaynangyee, which was gathered by
Dr. M. H. Bixby, afterwards pastor of Cranston Street Baptist Church,
Providence, R. I. It was situated in a tribe which proved to be of the
Karen race, called Gaicho Karens, though at the time it was gathered, it
was thought to belong to another race.

The first work of the new missionary, who succeeded Dr. Bixby, was to
visit this church. It was found to be admirably located for our advance
to the northeast. We strengthened the school and the hands of the pastor,
who proved to be a wise pioneer and faithful preacher of the gospel. In a
few years there was a call for an advance from this point. Several
villages had been won for Christ by this teacher at Shwaynangyee, and
among them was one a long day's journey to the northeast, named Prehso.
This in turn was made a frontier station, or centre from which teachers
and evangelists were sent forth, and it grew to be one of the strongest
churches in the Toungoo district. It was situated at the foot of the
great dividing range on which Yahdo was located.

While subsequently visiting this church on a tour of inspection, a
delegation came over the mountains to ask us for teachers to go to the
Yahdo valley. That was a glad morning for us, for though we had never
visited that valley, we had often cast our eyes on those towering
mountains, and longed to plant the flag of the gospel on their heights.
As these two valleys were more or less at enmity with each mother, the
trail over the mountains had fallen into disuse, and the natives thought
it doubtful if I could get my pony over the hills. But with a good
company of followers, provided with long knives, we set out on the climb.
The trail was of the worst kind. Fallen trees had to be cut and moved;
railings were placed along the precipitous sides of the mountain to guard
the ponies from falling; and sometimes we could ascend only by clinging
with both hands and feet. After several hours of such effort, we came out
upon the ridge of the thumb, and there unrolled before us one of the most
beautiful scenes in all the Toungoo hills. A brook, flowing merrily
southward, invited us to follow its course. The three villages, two to
the north and one to the south, without a single Christian disciple, were
entreating us to come to their help.

As we stood on that ridge, studying the landscape before us, we were
deeply impressed by the importance of this valley as a strategic point
from which to advance the cause of Christ in these hills; and, feeling
that God's set time had come to begin this work, we registered in our
hearts a firm resolve to undertake it; though with slight conception of
the strong opposition the great enemy of Christ would rally against us.
How little did we realise that the coming of Christ's messenger would
rouse the demon of war in this seeming abode of peace. But such was our
destined experience. Already the opposing forces were beginning to
gather. And here we may remark that, in all our missionary life, every
endeavour to win a territory for Christ from the kingdom of darkness has
encountered the most strenuous and persistent opposition.

Passing over the ridge of the thumb, we descended into the valley. How
beautiful it was! And yet how marred by the life of heathenism. All men
went about with matchlocks, spears, and swords. We found the middle of
the valley covered with a dense swamp. Around the edges were beautiful
fields of rice, and the mountain stream lost none of its attractions on
nearer approach. Crossing the valley, we ascended the hill on which was
located the largest village, Yahdo, or Wahthaucho, the former meaning
"the big plantain-hill," and the latter "the crown of large bamboos."
Both names were equally applicable. The beautiful, large bamboo, which
grows in masses and to the height of one hundred or more feet, crowned
the whole hilltop with its wavy plumes. As we advanced through the avenue
formed by these graceful trees, the sight was entrancing. Though our
reception was cordial, we soon found that the old blood feuds were liable
to break out at any time. Roman Catholic priests were already using these
to influence the minds of the people against each other. The nominal
worship of Christ was only a counter-movement to the evil actions of the
priests.

In crossing the valley and ascending the hill to the village, we were
surrounded by a great concourse of wild men and women. The village was
encompassed by a stockade and ditch. Owing to the multitude of dogs and
pigs, and the curious people pressing about us, our camp was pitched just
outside the stockade. And, as tigers and other wild beasts infested the
country, it was thought unsafe to remain in camp alone, so a company of
young men came at dusk, built fires, and spread their mats on the ground
all around our camp. The week spent at this place was full of work. The
people cheerfully followed our lead. The three villages of the valley
were called together, and a covenant entered into for future mutual work
and help. A school was organised at once with children from two of the
villages. A more happy beginning of a new interest in the line of
Christian civilisation we never witnessed.

It seemed for once that the enemy of all righteousness had failed to take
notice of this entrance into his kingdom. But, no. A company of Roman
Catholic priests quickly followed us to the Yahdo valley, and, with the
skill of which they are masters, they scattered seeds of doubt, and
alienated two of the villages from their peace compact. While we clung to
the village of Yahdo, and kept up a flourishing school, the other two
villages were led into open hostility. Old blood feuds, long since
buried, were reopened and spurred into activity. These feuds involved not
only the villages in Yahdo valley, but some eight or more others across
the English frontier. The priests had formed an alliance with one of the
most notorious robbers and freebooters in all the mountains, named Murr.
In him they found a zealous instrument for carrying out their purpose,
which was evidently our expulsion from the Yahdo valley.

One morning nine persons from a neighbouring village, friendly to Yahdo,
were seized while passing the village to the City of Toungoo for trade,
and were carried off to a stronghold, where they were held for ransom.
Live stock belonging to Yahdo was frequently killed, or mutilated, and
all means known to the heathen for annoying the little band of Yahdo
disciples and their associates were used. The division among the Karens
had now assumed large proportions. The enemy grew bold and defiant,
because of the non-resistant attitude of the Yahdo people, and the
mistaken supposition that the valley was outside of English territory,
and that they were thus free to do whatever they liked.

In September, 1883, the trouble culminated in a pitched battle between
the friends of the Yahdo people and the party championed by the priests,
in which seven of that party were killed and their village burned to the
ground. This was loudly charged to the pastor of the Yahdo church by the
priests, and the whole question was now brought to the attention of the
English government. We were forced by circumstances to ask for an
official investigation. As the result, the judge, an English officer,
pronounced the Yahdo Christians and their pastor to be entirely innocent
of wrong-doing, and also deserving of great praise for the forbearance
and moderation they had exhibited. Hereupon the priests charged the judge
with being prejudiced by our people, and by false evidence on our part;
but he declared in unmistakable terms, "I form my decision on testimony
of your own people, which you have given me." On further evidence, the
chief of the party opposed to us was arrested, tried for murder and
dacoity, convicted, and sent into exile. A police guard was also placed
in Yahdo for the further protection of the people. This was necessary
from the fact that the official investigation showed that Yahdo was not
outside the British boundary, as we had supposed; for it lay between the
thumb and the forefinger of the mountain range, as already mentioned.
This was a crushing blow to the power of the priests in that quarter.

As no open violation of the law would now be safe, our enemies resorted
to petty annoyances. But, notwithstanding such persecutions, the village
grew to be very prosperous. The little chapel, which the people had
laboriously built, and the school of sixty pupils therein gathered, were
a crown of glory to the village. They loved their chapel with a love
grown large from the sacrifices they had made in building it. But the
time of sorest trial was at their door.

One bright but windy morning, the opposing village, now located on the
thumb of the mountain system, set their fields of felled trees on fire,
evidently with the intention of destroying Yahdo village on the opposite
side of the valley, and thus escaping all blame, charging it to the wind.
The southwest monsoon was strongly blowing; and as the flames mounted
into the air, brands were caught up by the wind, carried across the
valley, and rained upon the roofs of the houses in Yahdo. In less than
half an hour, more than eighty houses, with their shade-trees, stores of
food, everything, were reduced to ashes. The beautiful chapel, of which
they were so justly proud, was also utterly destroyed.

Said the teacher in a written statement: "Our chapel, which cost us so
much labour and money, our crown of delight, our glory, in which we
rejoiced, was utterly destroyed in a few minutes, together with the books
and school apparatus. The weeping women and the children were
heart-broken as they beheld this destruction of their chapel; and as I
saw their great sorrow, my throat filled, and I could not breathe, and
had to turn away from the sad sight for relief.... Therefore," the letter
concludes, "dear brothers in Christ, remember us, your youngest church,
in your prayers to Christ, in our affliction." Signed, "Your brother in
Christ, Tah Dee."

[Illustration -- Sau Lee, Brec Missionary]
[Illustration -- Tah Dee, Yahdo Pastor]

We hastened from Toungoo to the scene of the fire as soon as possible.
And as we stood looking over the charred hill-top, with its glory of
bamboo and tamarind trees in ashes, and saw our beloved disciples about
their brush huts, striving to get together something with which to begin
life anew, for the moment the shadow of the wing of the great tempter
fell across my vision. For fifteen years we had wrought incessantly to
capture this stronghold in the mountains for the Kingdom of our Lord.
Already the benign influence of this little church was felt among the
heathen in the north and northwest, even to distant Karenni. We had
dreamed of the time when the blood feuds of these many tribes would be
annihilated; when peace would reign over these mountains; when witchcraft
would be destroyed, and the songs of praise to God, would take the place
of all this discord. And here, in one short half-hour, these hopes were
reduced to ashes.

But the evil shadow of the wing quickly passed, as the promises of God
began to shine forth. The memory of Divine help in the past reassured us;
and, as the beloved disciples rallied around us, we found ourselves
cheerfully discussing ways and means for building a new chapel. We
planned a larger and more beautiful building than the former. It was to
be thirty-six by twenty-four feet, two stories, and having a tower, in
which we already by faith heard a bell calling the people to worship. In
a few days the plans took complete form. Nine hundred sticks of timber
must be cut and brought from the forest, about two miles distant. Eight
thousand shingles must be brought from Toungoo, besides nails, glass,
etc. Men must also be hired to saw the lumber. Then came the question of
individual work. The disciples were inclined to ask the heathen to help
them. But when we suggested that this ought to be a love offering unto
the Lord on the part of the disciples, and when they read what God said
to Zerubbabel in rebuilding the temple, that "it was not by might, nor by
power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord," they decided to do all the work
themselves.

There were in all about forty disciples. They had lost nearly everything;
but, after much consultation, they pledged one hundred and eighty-five
rupees towards the work, and in addition to this the men promised each
thirty days' labour, and the women fifteen days, in building the house of
God. They declared, "We wish to do this for Christ's sake." It was no
easy work to do all the work involved with their own hands; and yet they
undertook it with cheerfulness.

In the meantime there was rejoicing of another kind across the valley.
When the enemy saw the destruction of the village chapel, they were
filled with fiendish joy and exultation. They railingly asked the
stricken disciples: "Where now is your God? He has burned your village
and has left you nothing. He has scattered your people. Where is your
glory?" "But," said the disciples among themselves, "we will build a new
chapel, better than the last, to the glory of our God." So they bowed
their heads humbly to the reviling of their enemies, and went on with
their work. For a whole year they endured this reviling. But God was
pleased with their faith, and was preparing a great and glorious
deliverance.

Almost a year after the chapel was burned, a missionary wrote to a friend
in Philadelphia, mentioning in his letter the situation of this bereaved
church. The way still looked difficult, but with our little band of
zealous disciples we were struggling on by faith in God. This letter
reached its destination--the wife of a prominent pastor in
Philadelphia. She read it to a little mission band at the Second
Germantown Baptist Church, and her letter will best tell the story. I am
sure she will pardon its insertion here: "The children were deeply
interested, and wanted to do what they could to help. That evening, in
our home at the parsonage, little Rob, dear boy, came to me saying:
'Mother, here is something for you to help rebuild the chapel at Yahdo,
where Dr. Bunker is'; and, handing me a bright twenty-five-cent piece, he
ran out of the room. I called him back, and said, knowing what little
money he had was already spent, 'Why, Robbie, dear, where did you get
this money?' 'Sold my little Bunny, mother;' and he tried to look very
brave, for that rabbit was a great pet of his; it had not been sold
without a great deal of self-denial."

At a subsequent meeting of the Children's Missionary Band, one hundred
and seventy-five dollars were contributed. Then Dr. Wayland opened his
paper, _The National Baptist_, for a public appeal, which raised the sum
to five hundred dollars. Thus the marvellous goodness of God answered the
faith of these few disciples in Yahdo more bountifully than we could ask
or even think.

The chapel was finished, and in due time Dr. Bixby, of Cranston Street
Baptist Church, Providence, R. I., sent his bell for the tower. So this
new temple of worship, much more beautiful than the other one destroyed
by fire, was completed amidst great rejoicing, and was christened the
"Mary Love" Chapel of Yahdo.



IX - THIRTEEN WITCHES


Among the superstitions which curse the hill tribes of Burma, one of the
most cruel is witchcraft. No superstition of old New England could
surpass this work of the evil one in the hills of Burma. And the
strangest thing is that the crime is usually charged to old women. Among
tribes where there is no law, save that of the strongest, the victims of
this superstition have no redress. Wherever sickness has broken out, or a
series of misfortunes has befallen the people, it requires little effort
to start a cry of witchcraft as their cause. The slightest occasion for
directing the suspicion of those who suffer towards some old woman who
has passed her usefulness, or who has aroused enmity among her neighbours
by her sharp tongue, is enough to seal her fate.

The beginning of such strife results in charge and countercharge, until
not only families, but sometimes whole villages are broken up. If the
party that brings the charge against some old mother is the stronger, it
often results in the banishment of the victim from the village, or in her
condemnation and death, the whole family sometimes becoming involved. At
such times the condemned are driven outside the village and speared or
shot to death, and their bones are left to bleach in the sun. Such
gruesome sights have often been seen by missionaries in their tours among
these hills.

On the borders between English territory and the Independent States
eastward from Toungoo, there is one of the most fruitful churches of the
Bghai Karen Mission. It is located in a valley near the top of the
Poungloung mountain ranges, on one of the main roads to the interior, and
amid the most picturesque scenery. The fame of this church had spread
into all the surrounding region. The savage people were telling each
other how this village of Yahdo had given up its old customs, and had
chosen the new life, the life of Yuah (God). The reports were that they
had become women instead of men, who would no longer fight; that they
were kind to all strangers who came into their village, and especially
that they received and protected all refugees from other villages, who
had been charged with witchcraft and had been expelled from their homes.
So widespread had this last report become that many old women under this
charge of witchcraft sought refuge in Yahdo. They were given employment
in such domestic work as they were able to perform in exchange for their
food.

One hot season the missionaries went to Yahdo as a place of rest, where
they found thirteen of these poor women. Together they formed one of the
most pitiful sights seen among these hills. The condition of women among
the Toungoo heathen is one of great hardship and suffering at best; for
they are compelled not only to raise their large families of children,
and care for their households, but are also obliged to help cultivate the
fields. It is common among the heathen Karens to see the mother of the
family digging out weeds with a short-handled hoe, and at the same time
carrying a baby on her back, wrapped in a cotton blanket, while another
child drags at her skirts. At the age of twenty-five or thirty years she
looks to be sixty or seventy. Yet as long as she has the love of her
children and the savage love, it may be, of her husband, her life is not
wholly void of comfort. When, however, worn out with her hard life, her
hold on her husband's affections weakens, and her children have grown up
and left the home, her lot often sinks into utter wretchedness. If now,
through an enemy's malice, or her husband's desire for a new wife, the
cry of "witch" is raised against her, the bitterest possible cup is
pressed to her lips. She is compelled to flee from her home and people,
or perish by violence. Perhaps as you see her dull and stupid look, you
feel that the finer feelings of the mother do not vibrate with pain at
such a separation; but even a dog will leave home with reluctance. Bent
over by years of double labour, with a spear in her hand for a staff, as
well as for protection, she takes her weary way toward that Christian
village, of which she has heard the people talk, where they do not kill
old women under the charge of witchcraft. After days of toilsome
journeying, spending her nights either in the jungle or some village, she
reaches Yahdo, and we see her among the thirteen witches.

The two women missionaries of our party were strongly moved in their
sympathies for this company of outcasts. They commenced with peculiar
tact to cultivate their acquaintance, and in a short time won their
confidence. They took occasion to meet them when they were at their work,
feeding the pigs, or pounding out the family rice from its husks, or
preparing food for cooking. It was little they could do, bowed and broken
down by past sufferings, but they could appreciate the kindness these
women were showing them.

Finally they were gathered into the Sunday school and formed the "infant
class." This title caused some merriment among the Sunday-school
children. They occupied one corner of the chapel, sitting close together
on the floor. It was a picture, once seen, never to be forgotten. Their
delight at being numbered among the Sunday-school children was almost
pitiful. The missionary teacher wrote for them on a blackboard in large
letters, as some were nearly blind, a sentence of three words in Karen,
"Yuah me taheh" ("God is love"). They were urged to trace out the letters
and observe their form; and, by patient instruction, they were in time
able to distinguish them from anything else when put upon the board. As
it flashed upon them that they were able to read this sentence like other
scholars in the school, their delight was almost boundless. But the truth
contained in these words was more difficult to apprehend. They had some
basis in their traditions, on which to form their knowledge of Yuah, but
His character as an ever-present and all-wise Father was new to them.
This word mastered, however, they found it more difficult to understand
that He was "love." All their experience seemed to deny the thought.
"Why," said some of them, "how can Yuah, who made the bright sun, as you
say, love men?" But when they came to see the next lesson, "Yuah eh yah,"
which means, "God loves me," the struggle between a budding faith and
their life-long experience was wonderful to behold. "Why," said some of
them, "this says God loves me. I am only an old, worn-out woman. I can no
longer dig in the fields, nor cook food for my family. My husband no
longer loves me; for he joined others in driving me from my village as a
witch. If I had remained in the village, he would have joined others in
taking my life." "Yes," said another, "my children no longer love me. How
I wrought for them night and day, hoping they would care for me in my old
age; but they have helped to drive me from my home." "Oh," said another,
"there is no love!"

Their past sufferings were engraven on their faces. These had hardened
them beyond tears, and now obscured the bright light of that little
sentence which these messengers of God were trying to teach them--"God
loves me."

During the several weeks the missionaries were among them, these
so-called "witches" made real progress in the new life. Little by little
they apprehended the great love of God, even for them, and some of the
number manifestly came to apprehend the fact of their little
Sunday-school lesson--"God loves me."

No clearer proof of the Divine agency in the enlightenment of these old
women could be desired than the marvellous change which took place in
them as they came to realise God's love for them. They repeated the
lesson over and over to themselves and to each other; they regarded it as
one would good news, long desired, from a far country. A perceptible
change took place in their whole bearing; a new light came into their dim
eyes; and a cheerfulness, unknown before, enlivened them. The unanimous
verdict of the missionaries who saw them was, "This is the work of God."

At the close of the season, on the departure of the missionary women to
their work in town, an examination of the Sunday school at Yahdo was
held. It was a large and enthusiastic school, but no class displayed more
enthusiasm than the "infant class." The examination revealed that most of
them had completely mastered their two lessons, and what grew out of
them. No child in the school showed more pride than they in their
examination.

Some one conceived the idea of giving rewards of merit to the "infant
class." As there was nothing better at hand, little squares were cut out
of a biscuit tin and covered with white paper. Two holes were punched in
each, through which were run bright coloured threads, by which to suspend
them. On these tickets were written the two sentences, which were of such
moment to them. No class of Sunday-school children in any Christian land
were ever more pleased with their beautiful cards and costly books than
were these thirteen deserted grandmothers. When these tickets were placed
in their hands, no words can express the joy and praise that animated the
school at the sight. In conclusion, nine of the number soon applied for
admission to the church at Yahdo, and were baptised. And most of them
became active workers. And yet how hopeless was their case, if left to
mere human aid. Surely, their experience presents a bright comment on the
declaration made by Isaiah concerning the Christ and which He himself
adopted: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath
anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: He hath sent me to bind
up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the
opening of the prison to them that are bound."



X - PERILS AND PLEASURES


Early mission travel in Burma, either by water or by land, was far more
difficult than in these days of railways and government roads. Especially
was this true in the pioneer stations. At these stations missionary
journeys were undertaken on foot, or with a pony or elephant. The luggage
for the trip was carried by native bearers in baskets on their backs. The
roads for the most part were narrow, winding foot-paths, through the
dense jungle of the plains, and up the sides of steep mountains,
sometimes along the beds of brooks or on the ridges of the mountains,
subject to all the roughness of the country. If, occasionally, a part of
the journey could be made by boat, this was counted great gain. Our
supplies were of the most economical character, for the reason that it
was costly and inconvenient to employ a large number of bearers. Hence
the outfit for a missionary journey was usually reduced to the smallest
amount necessary for health and effective work. Among native Christians,
supplies of rice, some vegetables, eggs, and poultry could always be
found. But as the natives of Burma are quite as fond of "ripe" eggs as
fresh, these had always to be tested before cooking. Thus equipped with
cooking utensils and provisions, clothes, books, and medicines, more or
less according to the length of the journey, we undertook our missionary
tours. Camp was made wherever night overtook us. A small tent was
sufficient to shield from falling dew and night air.

As wood abounded, the natives built large fires, both for comfort and
protection. Wild beasts are sometimes numerous and aggressive. When
travelling through old jungle, venomous insects and serpents are
troublesome. Often times the missionary journey can be so arranged as to
pass each night in some Christian or heathen village. But many pleasant
nights will often be spent in the grand, primeval forest, where one is
lulled to sleep by the soft music of the graceful bamboo, or the heavier
music of the wind blowing through the tops of the giant trees. In the
early morning, after such a night, one is often wakened by the chattering
of monkeys in the tree-tops, the screaming flocks of paraquets seeking
their feeding-grounds, or the call of the cook to breakfast, and the new
day begins.

In this method of mission travel, however, one could not always forecast
the difficulties he must encounter, and so provide for them. Unlooked-for
hardships were often experienced.

In the early days the Association of the Karen churches of the Toungoo
country, on one occasion, was held in the extreme northern part of the
mission field, several days' journey from the city. A party of several
missionaries, with native assistants, was planned for the purpose of
attending this Association. The first two days could be made by boat, the
balance of the journey being through primitive forest and jungle. Owing
to exigencies of mission work at the time, it was necessary for me to
delay my departure for one day, and on the next, follow the party on
land. This necessitated taking two days' journey in one. My luggage went
with the main party by boat, the understanding being that we should
overtake them at the end of the second day's journey. The plan looked
simple enough, but the sequel justified the axiom, "In jungle travel
never separate from your supplies even for an hour."

It was nearly ten o'clock on the second day after the departure of the
party before I was able to continue my journey. Our little party
consisted of three Karens and two native ponies. The road was fairly good
all the way along the bank of the Sittang River. At noontime we hoped to
secure food at some native village, but could find only rice and a little
salt fish. During the afternoon we travelled rapidly, but failed to reach
the appointed stopping-place before ten o'clock. Our ponies were worn out
and unable to bear us. One who has been weary to the point of sinking can
easily imagine how eagerly we looked for our boat and supplies. As we
came into the village, we saw the boat moored at the bank, but how great
was our surprise to find it abandoned and empty. Through some
misunderstanding the party had taken their departure towards the
mountains without leaving any trace, save the broad path which led into
the great forest.

Owing to the danger of fever, and because we had no supplies, we took the
only course open to us--this path which led in the direction of the
village where the meetings were to be held. About three o'clock in the
morning, after an all-night's journey, we judged from the signs about us
that we were drawing near to a village; but the branch roads were so
confusing we signalled, in hope of reaching the ears of our friends.
Three guns were discharged in quick succession, and we listened for an
answering sound. The distant sound of a gong showed that our signal had
been heard, and we hastened on with renewed hope in the direction of the
sound. As we entered a thicker part of the forest, where the moonlight
was shut out by the overhanging tree-tops, we met with our greatest
surprise of the night. We were journeying along the territory between the
English possessions and those of the Independent States. As we were about
to enter a deep ravine, which lay across our path, a file of native
police suddenly arose, not more than six rods distant, and fired a volley
at us point-bank. I was in the lead when this firing took place. If they
had not been such poor shots, we should all have suffered. Our Karen
associates were terribly frightened, and shouted, "Come back, teacher,
run, we are all dead men!" The teacher did run--but the other way.
He dashed in among the police, before they could reload, and the waving
of an English "topee," or sun hat, and a few vigorous words in their own
tongue, quickly brought them to their knees. For, being policemen, they
had violated one of the government rules, which required them to
challenge before firing. With the guidance of this now very willing band,
we soon reached the village where the police force was stationed.

The weariness of the party can be better imagined than described. Here we
were again disappointed, not finding our friends; but our informants told
us that there were a party of white people at a village nearby. We were
able to find a few eggs for our refreshment, and an armful of straw to
sleep on. A messenger was sent off to find who these white men were, and
to inform our party, if it were they, of our arrival. In about an hour
messengers returned with a bottle of tea, and we all went to join the
main party. A whole day's sleep and a few doses of anti-fever medicine
enabled us to join the march for the place of our destination. Our
resolution, "to never be separated from our supplies even for an hour,"
was greatly strengthened by this experience.

[Illustration -- Red Karen Grandmother]
[Illustration -- Red Karen Woman]

But travel in pioneer work in mission life was by no means all hardship.
Our close touch with nature was a constant delight. Rare scenes of
mountain and plain frequently added to our enjoyment as we passed slowly
through the great forest or along the mountain ridges. There was a
wonderful variety of flowering trees, and on the mountaintops many large
trees were festooned with beautiful and fragrant orchids, which our
native followers gathered for us in great quantities. Often their
fragrance filled the air with rich perfume. Strange grasses and ferns
delighted us in every ravine; as well as dwarf palms, begonias, and other
flowering plants.

Naturally, some scenes would specially imprint themselves upon our
memory, of which the following is an example: We were crossing the Shan
hills in the month of December, when the dry season was well established.
Our course lay over the highest range of mountains between the Toungoo
and Salwen rivers. They were covered with beautiful pines and a
semi-tropical growth. Wild apple-trees, loaded with blossoms, filled the
air with a perfume familiar to our home-land. Our journey began early in
the morning. The air was clear and invigorating. As we reached the top of
the range, travelling eastward, we were greeted by the rising sun, and
our hearts were filled with joy and praise as we watched it flooding the
thousand hills with its golden rays. Passing beneath a dense pine grove,
and turning a headland on the eastern slope of the hills, we beheld a
scene of surpassing loveliness, which caused our whole party to halt. Pen
cannot describe the rare beauty unfolded before us.

Far below was a great amphitheatre surrounded by hills. A dark shadow
enfolded its depths, and around and above this was spread a thick mantle
of sparkling hoarfrost. The surrounding mountains were bathed in bright
sun-shine, and on the eastern side fell away, thus letting the light
shine in upon the amphitheatre. The mountains were covered with groups of
low pines, which made rich contrasts of colour with the grey of the rocks
and dried grasses, the jet black of a portion which had been burned by
recent fires, the sparkling frost in the amphitheatre, and the light
green of a large grove of giant bamboos in the background, in which there
nestled a native village with its straw-coloured roofs. Then this vivid
picture was intensified by a group of yellow-robed priests, who came into
view on the right, and passed along the middle ground toward a cluster of
white pagodas on the left. A large grove of blossoming cherry trees in
the immediate foreground added their delicate beauty to the scene. The
golden rays of the rising sun blended the whole picture into one
harmonious whole.

This scene remained with us for many years, and often gave us cheer, when
good-cheer was needed. Scenes like this are among the rich rewards with
which the pioneer missionary and lover of nature is often blessed.



XI - THE MIRACLE OF SENITE


There have been, and of necessity always will be, two distinct features
of missionary work, as viewed from a material or spiritual standpoint.
The root principle of all such work is of Divine origin. It has its birth
and rise in the heart and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Being
Divine, it cannot be subjected to human rules and reasoning. Nor can it
be understood in its working by those who do not thus receive it. Hence
we claim that all reasoning about the "Naturalisation of Religion" to
certain races, or its adaptation to the thought and customs of different
nations, is contrary to the very genius of Christianity, because they are
all "of the earth earthy." We have said that the root principle of the
religion of Jesus is Divine, and it is natural that the results of such
working should also be of a Divine character, and therefore miraculous.
When the Lord declared to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again," neither he
nor his followers during all the centuries have been able to understand
this declaration. Yet the missionary, having first experienced this
miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, has been permitted to gaze with
delight upon its repetition in the experiences of converted heathen. The
young missionary, however, who has witnessed this miracle in individual
cases in his own land, in his first missionary experience, may wonder if,
in the dark-minded and ignorant savage before him, he can ever hope to
see a like miracle. Supporters of missions also have an abiding interest
in all exhibitions of the Holy Spirit's power as related in the reports
from mission fields. The following account of the regeneration of a
village of savages in the Toungoo hills of Burma has more than ordinary
interest in this connection.

The mountainous country between the Toungoo and Salwen rivers is
inhabited by a number of Karen tribes who are very wild and are a law
unto themselves. They are in almost constant feudal warfare, the stronger
preying upon the weaker. Or this was their condition when the events here
narrated took place.

Six days eastward from Toungoo City, in the heart of this country, a
large village named Senite had its stronghold. It was a veritable
fortress, consisting of a gigantic limestone cliff rising more than three
hundred feet above the surrounding country. Three sides of this cliff
were almost perpendicular, and could be ascended only by a very rough,
steep, and difficult path, which required the use of both hands and feet.
The people on the cliff numbered about four hundred, dwelling in rude
bamboo huts. They had taken refuge on the top of this rock because they
had made enemies in the surrounding country by their life of violence and
crime. Living in such a locality, wood and water were difficult to
obtain, and this work fell to the lot of the women and children.

When part way up the hill, the mission party became weary with the hard
climbing, and stopped in the mouth of a cave to rest. While there, some
of the village women came up the hill, bearing heavy loads of wood and
water. As they had never seen a white man before, they were overcome with
astonishment, and we were equally surprised at the strange appearance of
the women. Their ornaments of brass wire, worn about their necks and
limbs, made them most extraordinary looking creatures. The wire was about
half an inch in diameter and was put on in regular coils, increasing in
number as the women grew older. This caused the neck to lengthen to an
unusual degree, and the pressing wire made the jaw-bone project, giving a
most repulsive effect, though regarded by them as a mark of great beauty.
Their gait also, because of the heavy coils around their legs, was very
awkward. Besides the wire, they were weighted by several pounds of
different coloured beads, and a variety of charms, metallic and
otherwise, were hung around their necks. Their hair was done up on top of
their heads in a pyramid form, and held in place by silver pins and
combs. How they could carry such heavy loads up that steep hillside, thus
hampered, was a marvel to us; and the marvel was increased when we found
it was difficult to lift one of their loads from the ground.

When they first saw us, fear sent them rushing back, but a few kind words
in their own tongue, from a native pastor, reassured them, and they soon
passed on up the cliff to the village. We followed, using our hands to
help us up the rough way, and came shortly to the level top of the cliff,
where we were met by the villagers. The excitement among them was very
great, for this was the first time a white man had visited them. Soon two
tents were pitched, and the little organ opened. Our Karen school-boys
and girls now sang their beautiful hymns, to the delight of the
listeners.

At first, the many pigs and dogs, and the excitement of the people caused
great confusion. Soon, however, the music had a quieting effect, and
those who sat on the platform with the singers were able to look about
them and study the scene. We saw before us the result of years of
savagery, ignorance, and superstition. On every hand were signs of fetish
worship. Skulls of various animals were hung on bamboos in every
available place, to ward off evil spirits, which the people feared might
cause accident or sickness among them. Small baskets of bamboo filled
with eggs (very old), and other articles of food, were placed at all the
entrances of the village for a like purpose. Bamboo altars were also
placed about the village with rice beer for the entertainment of spirits,
which were supposed to be hovering about.

While the children were singing, all the villagers came together, forming
a semicircle around the little company of Christians. Fear had given
place to the keenest curiosity on their faces. The small children formed
the lower circle, those of larger growth above them, while the men and
women were above all, forming a wall of black eyes and savage faces,
presenting a sight never to be forgotten. It would not be strange if some
messenger of the gospel, looking upon such a scene of hopelessness and
stupidity, should question the ability of the gospel to lift such human
beings into the beauty and glory of the Christ-life. Certainly no ground
could be more utterly laid waste by the evil one for the experiment. This
experiment was now to be made, and the work had already begun.

After the confusion had been somewhat quieted by the music, a young
native preacher, familiar with their language, stepped forward, and
announced the good news from Jesus our Lord, which we had come to give
them. He told them of the greatness and goodness of Jehovah, whom they
knew in their tradition as "Yuah," and of the forgiveness of sin,
concerning which they had never heard, and thought to be impossible; how
the Son of God had come from heaven to earth, and had borne their sins
away, because of His great love for them.

The people were at once interested. No story can so quickly lay hold of
the savage mind and rivet attention as this story of the glad tidings.
And this fact was here emphasised. For the young man had experienced the
truth of the story, and he spoke with such emotion as to commend his
message to his hearers.

It was most interesting to watch the play of emotion upon their stolid
faces, stepped as the people were in sin, ignorance, and violence. For
the first time they were hearing a voice from heaven. No other voice
could possibly awaken in their souls such a Divine response. It was
another miracle of grace, which we watched through subsequent years with
the keenest interest. Could the love of Jesus of Nazareth, as displayed
upon the cross, reach the hearts of such as these, and change them into
Christian children?

It was evident that the young preacher had made a favourable impression
upon his audience; for when he finished, a lively discussion broke out
among the people. Some said: "We want this God for our God. If He loves
men, let Him come and live among us." Others objected: "If He dwells
among us, we can make no more raids for plunder among other villages, and
our enemies will come and devour us." Others said, "Yes, and we are told
if we worship God we cannot drink whiskey"; while another clinched their
objections by saying, "We would have to treat our women as ourselves;
and, if we do, then how can we control them?" "But," interposed another,
"we should have peace with our neighbours. We have no rest on the top of
this rock, nor have we half enough to eat."

So the discussion went on, conducted by the villagers on the one hand,
and by the little band of native converts on the other. The old battle
between good and evil was again to be fought out on this hill-top. The
debate thus begun lasted through the night. As the contestants grew
earnest or excited, from time to time, those in the tents, seeking sleep,
took anxious note, for they realised how much was at stake. Such as
desired Jesus to come and reign over them, an increasing number during
the night, together with the native preachers, urged the great benefits
that would come to the villagers, if the worship of Yuah should be
accepted. The opponents, however, brought forward the arguments, as old
as time, against a reformed life. Early in the morning one of the native
workers reported that a notable victory for the Lord of glory had been
won; and that the whole village had joined in a covenant to receive the
worship of Yuah. This consisted in slaying a pig, the flesh of which was
divided among all who joined in the covenant. The partaking of the flesh
was regarding by them a binding act.

The work of the new life began at once and in earnest. The young man who
preached the previous night volunteered to commence evangelistic work
immediately. How great a sacrifice this was for him may be judged when it
is stated that he was pastor of a prosperous church on the other side of
the mountains, where he had a beautiful home. His cheerful change from
such a happy environment to this desolation argued well for his loyalty
to his Master.

A small bamboo hut was made for him, which was to serve as a dwelling,
schoolroom, and chapel. Thus situated, he began his work for the
salvation of the village. A school and regular public worship were at
once started. It was soon evident, however, that a minority of the
villagers would not keep their covenant, or did not intend to do so when
they made it, for they drew off. Real Christian converts, however, soon
appeared, and after two years' labour the first applicants for baptism
presented themselves. Nothing was said to them about a change of dress;
yet the new life, begotten in them by the Holy Spirit, was manifested in
their earnest desire to be rid of their heathen ornaments, and for a more
modest dress. The feeling ran high at this time, and when they determined
to take off the wire from their necks and limbs, violence and even death
were threatened by the parents of some of the children. But the good life
made rapid progress under the devoted ministry of this young man and it
was marked by the special power of the Holy Spirit.

After seven years, the missionary party again visited Senite. Reports of
the wonderful change that had taken place had reached us from time to
time; but we were hardly prepared for the miracle of grace which had been
wrought among this people. As we came in view of the former site of the
village on the rock, we saw no trace of it. At an expression of our
surprise, our guide, the pastor of the church, said, "A little further on
you will see the new village." Our advance revealed marvellous changes.
In place of the former barbarous and superstitious people, whom we have
visited in fear and doubt, we now saw a prosperous Christian community,
who united in extending to us a royal welcome. Repeatedly a song broke
out from some one in the multitude, which, taken up by others, was echoed
back by the overhanging cliffs.

Turning in the path around a projecting mountain spur, we came in sight
of the well-ordered and comfortable dwellings of the villagers. They were
located on the sloping bank of a sparkling mountain brook, singing its
way to the sea. Our mission party stopped and gazed with wonder at the
sight before them. Said the missionary to the pastor in charge, "Tee-O,
have all the villagers become disciples of Christ?" "No," he replied,
"only sixty have joined the church, and last week thirteen more presented
themselves for baptism." "What became of the rest?" asked the missionary,
recalling the many who made the pledge seven years before. "Most of them
remained in the village and have lived a quiet life," answered the
pastor, "though they have not yet expressed faith in Christ. A small
number of the worst characters have gone away and built a village for
themselves. They loved their old life more than the promised blessing,"
continued Tee-O, "and they went their own way."

The object of this assembling of the Christians was the meeting of the
Association of thirty five churches in annual conference, by invitation
of the church in Senite. It is impossible to describe the extraordinary
jubilation of the native Christians over the wonderful events wrought by
our Lord that made it possible to have the meetings at this place.

For two days the church and village entertained nearly seven hundred
delegates and visitors. These days were full of the most joyous meetings
for business, praise, and prayer. As we entered the village and greeted
the bands of glad disciples from far and near, we found the Senite people
rejoicing as they welcomed their guests. Their faces were radiant as they
crowded around the missionary party with expressions of Thanksgiving and
praise, mingled with tears of joy. The difference between the two visits,
in the appearance of the people, is beyond description. The horrid
heathen ornaments, together with the coils of wire, had disappeared, and
neat clothes had taken their place. True, they could not shorten their
elongated necks; but scarfs, neatly thrown around the neck, relieved the
deformity.

Reaching the place assigned to the missionaries, we found every
convenience and comfort at hand which the people could possibly provide.
The ground had been swept clean, neat booths had been built, and tables
and benches had been conveniently placed; but the crowning feature of the
joyful occasion appeared when we saw a great bunch of roses placed on one
of the tables for our special enjoyment. How different from the first
visit! Yet we saw not so much the beautiful flowers as we did the
wonderful transformation in this once savage people. The regenerated men
and women crowded about us with overflowing joy in their new life.

Observing a woman who seemed specially happy, we said to her: "Sister,
you seem very happy. What is the reason?" "Oh," she replied, "we worship
Yuah! When the teacher came to visit us years ago we knew neither Yuah
nor the teachers. Whether they had white hearts or black, we could not
tell. Now we know that the teachers have white hearts." "But, sister, you
have lost the ornaments you used to wear. Do you not miss them?" She
replied: "Oh, teacher, we were in bondage then. Now Jesus Christ has set
us free; and there is only one woman in the village who will wear the
brass wire." Then straightening herself, she exclaimed with emphasis, and
not a little disgust; "But she is a heathen." Her appreciation of the
awfulness of her former condition could not have been better expressed.

Lifting the roses, we gazed into their wonderful depth of colour, and the
prediction of Isaiah seemed fulfilled before us: "The wilderness and the
solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and
blossom as the rose." And there was even more love and Christian
fellowship exhibited in this gift when we learned that the rosebushes had
been secured a year before for this very occasion by a two days' journey
over the mountain. The happy faces about us again declared with
increasing emphasis, "The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose."

This is the miracle of Senite. Only the power of Divine love could so
change the heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Their love for Christ
and faith in Him were simple and childlike, such as the Saviour specially
commended.

Many young men went from this village to become teachers in other
villages. Their schools flourished greatly, and ten years later Senite
was still on its upward course, preaching, teaching, and living the
Christ-life.



XII - PROVIDENTIAL CARE


Whenever a child of God, pleading for special blessings, receives direct
answers from his Heavenly Father, this is indeed a foretaste of heavenly
bliss. Such records of God's dealings with His children are so numerous
that, were they all recorded in books, the world would not be able to
contain them. Happy he who, by stress of discipline, is driven to God for
help. And what missionary, relying solely upon God's guidance and
deliverance in crises of his experience, has found His ear deaf to his
petitions? Experiences illustrating this fact are here recorded.

A few years ago a fire broke out at midnight in the village of Kerway, in
the Toungoo hills. It was a large village, having a church of nearly two
hundred members. This fire occurred at the close of the dry season, when
everything was parched, so that the entire village, including food
supplies gathered for the rainy season, was quickly destroyed. The
families of five or six native pastors were also involved in this
disaster, as they had been left in the village while these pastors were
pursuing evangelistic work in neighbouring places. Moreover, as Kerway
occupied a central position in the hills, a large supply of school books
and medicines had been stored there, and so were lost.

The rainy season in Burma corresponds to winter in the temperate zones,
and greatly restricts travel and labour. So our situation was made more
trying. Our plans for school work had been frustrated, and our
evangelistic work was greatly impeded. Such a calamity threw a gloom over
the whole mission; and the more so as its resources for the year had
already been exhausted. How this necessity could be met was a problem we
could not solve. In a few days teacher Kah Baw, the pastor of the church,
with a delegation of its members, appeared at the missionary headquarters
in Toungoo. They were half-clad, for they had escaped from the fire with
only the clothes they had on, and having lost everything, they were
greatly depressed. They seated themselves on the floor, and, looking up
into the face of their missionary, Kah Baw said: "Teacher, we have lost
everything. Not even a Bible or hymn-book is left. What shall we do?"
Then he added: "My children, who live in a neighbouring village, have
asked me to come to them, promising to give me food and clothes. But,"
added the dear old man, without the least thought he was doing a heroic
act, "I cannot leave my people. The worship of God will be destroyed in
my village, if I leave. I shall build me a little bamboo hut, and give
them what strength and care I can. But, teacher, can you help us?"

The teacher replied: "There is no money in the treasury, and already, to
meet the needs of our evangelists, all the money we dare borrow has been
advanced. We have therefore, dear brothers, no other source of help than
our God. But He is sufficient." Many times we have bowed in prayer with
Kah Baw in days past, when working together in building up this great
mission: and so we began to rehearse these deliverances for the
encouragement of this disheartened band. "Yes," replied Kah Baw, "the God
of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, who never failed His ancient people, has
certainly never failed us. We will take our case to Him."

So we all bowed in prayer to God. The native Christians, as usual,
prostrated themselves with their faces on the floor, and their petitions
were remarkable for their simplicity and trust. They were like little
children pleading with their loving father. This is characteristic of
converts from heathenism. We felt completely dependent upon God's
providential help, the most blessed necessity into which a child of God
can come. There were few dry eyes in the little company when we arose
from our knees. "Now, brothers," said the teacher, "we must wait for
God's answer."

[Illustration -- La Quai, Karen Evangelist]
[Illustration -- A Buddhist Pongyi]

A small sum was given to Kah Baw to purchase rice; for they had fasted a
long time. A weekly foreign mail was expected to reach Toungoo in two
days. We were confidently looking for help in answer to our prayers, and
thought it might come from America; though it was not the season to
expect help from this source. In two days the mail from America arrived,
and was unusually large. The first question suggested to us was, "Has God
sent us help?" The very first letter we opened disclosed a bright German
_stater_. It came from an old school friend, from whom we had not heard
for years. This glad surprise, which should not have been a surprise to
unfaltering faith, may be understood by some, though difficult to
describe. It was as if a voice from heaven had said, "O thou of little
faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Old Kah Baw and his friends were
summoned; but before they reached us another letter was found containing
a check for ten pounds, sent by a life-long helper in Providence, R. I.
"There," said the teacher to Kah Baw, "is God's answer to our prayers;
enough to supply you and the other five teachers with food for the rains,
and also Bibles, hymn-books, and necessary clothes. Let us thank God for
His gifts."

There was a clear note of joy and victory in their Thanksgiving. It is
safe to say that Kah Baw and his followers, and as many as heard of this
wonderful answer, and were partakers of its blessing, were confirmed
believers in prayer to Yuah, and of His faithfulness as a prayer-hearing
and prayer-answering God.

The next mail brought another check for twelve additional pounds to meet
any "incidental needs." And the strange thing about it was that the
donors of these gifts had sent them under the strong impression that God
was directing them in their offerings.

But answers to prayer are not always as direct as in the above instance.
God often veils Himself in His providences, so that His answers to prayer
are at times hidden, and may not be realised by the petitioner until the
lapse of years. An experience came to us in our early missionary life
which illustrates this fact.

Our mission station was then located about a mile from the town of
Toungoo in the jungle. We were beyond police protection, and had no white
neighbours nearer than the town. Only the school children and frequent
Karen visitors were with us. Robbers, called dacoits in Burma, were
roaming about the country, singly and in companies, and were merciless in
their deeds of violence. We had bestowed only a passing thought on these
perils. We bowed in prayer morning and evening, committing the care of
ourselves and our mission to our Heavenly Father. We had firearms in the
house, but had no thought of using them for defence. Our youngest child
was about six months old, and she had formed the habit of awaking about
one or two o'clock at night for a drink of water. So habitual was this
that her mother was accustomed to place a glass of water on a stand by
her bed. The servant was also requested to fill the earthen cooler on the
sideboard every day, and this he usually did. On the night in question
the child awoke as usual, but by some oversight the glass of water was
absent. I was asked to go to the cooler on the sideboard to supply the
lack. There also I found no water. This was a surprise, and necessitated
my going around the house on the veranda (we lived on the second story)
to a filter. It was light enough to see clearly all objects near at hand.
At the back of the house all ell projected, which was used for a
bathroom. All the windows of the house were protected by wooden shutters,
which we carefully barred at night.

As I stooped to dip water from the filter, I happened (if anything
happens by chance) to look across to the window in the ell, which I had
barred that night. There I saw a Burman stark naked, hanging across the
window-sill, with knife in hand, on the point of entering. He had pried
open the window in some way, and the whole house was open to his will. It
was, of course, impossible to know how many accomplices he might have.
There was nothing to hinder him and his fellows, if he had any, from
reaching every room in the house. Only this discovery at the crucial
moment, occasioned by the circumstances above narrated, enabled us to
defend our house and family.

This providential interposition in our behalf made a strong impression
upon our hearts in all subsequent years. If it can be proved that God
watches over His children carefully at all times, what rest should come
to the faith of those who trust in Him! We could not, in considering the
events of that night, doubt that a loving intelligence had truly
interposed for our protection. If we were to consider the doctrine of
chances, there could not have been, in our conception, a combination of
chance events to provide such definite results.

Here are the events that combined to give us the necessary warning.
First, the awakening of the little child at the fixed time; second, the
forgetting to place the water on the stand as usual; third, the failure
of the servant to put water into the cooler, and hence the necessity of
going to the filter on the back veranda; and these all so timed as to
bring me to the danger-spot just when needed. A minute earlier or later,
and the robber would not have been discovered. Such a combination of
events argued beyond reasonable doubt that a wise and benevolent mind had
our welfare in charge. God does not vacillate or change, like men, in His
treatment of His children. One clear case like the above guarantees His
constant care. So we felt, and thus was our faith confirmed for days to
come. One can realise with what gratitude we rested in the care of the
loving Father ever after. Many can recall like providences in their
lives. The foot-steps of God are discerned only by the eye of faith; and
how blessed is he who learns how to trace them.

The outcome of this adventure also shows God's interposition. I looked
for some weapon to attack the robber, as he was balanced on the
window-sill, but even the brick, which had been for months beside the
filter, had been removed, and nothing else presented itself. Seeing that
the robber had become alarmed, I called to my wife in English, to bring
my rifle, which stood at the head of my bed. She replied that she could
not find it. In cleaning it, I had changed its position. Thus was I kept
from shedding human blood. I then darted back through the house, finding
my gun on the way. Passing through the rear door, I fired into the air to
convince any armed men that we were prepared for defence. The robber
escaped, and we were left unharmed. Though we continued to live in the
same place for many years, this was the only attempt at robbery that we
experienced.

Such manifest interpositions of God afford His devout children
encouragement and trust beyond human estimate. These are experiences to
be carefully treasured for help in the future battles of faith.

A very notable experience of this kind comes to mind at this point worthy
of record. The rainy season had passed, and the travelling season had
arrived. There was great need that year for travel, since among the score
of churches under the missionary's care there were some that sadly needed
discipline. It cannot be expected that the best of churches organised
from recent converts from heathenism will be better or more advanced than
the average church in America. Divisions and misunderstandings will arise
even in the home churches. How much more are they to be anticipated in a
new mission field. These divisions were a heavy burden on the heart of
the missionary, and he hastened his tour of investigation. His bearers
had assembled at his home, from the mountains, goods were packed in their
baskets, and all was ready for a start in the morning. That night our
little girl fell ill with a severe fever; and, being no better in the
morning, how could we leave her for a month or more, carrying with us
this additional load of anxiety?

So I decided to send on the bearers, while I waited for a favourable
change in the health of the child. In a day or so she had so much
improved that we set out for the mountains, taking with us three Karens
and two saddle-ponies. I led the party through the thick jungle grass,
which covered the whole plain, to the mountains, twenty miles distant.
The jungle-path which we followed through the grass had been the haunt,
through the rains, of a man-eating tiger, which was said to have killed
more than a score of native people. These tigers are peculiarly fierce;
for, having lost their claws and teeth from old age, they are no longer
able to pull down the jungle animals that form their usual food. They,
therefore, beset some jungle trail and prey on human beings, whom they
easily capture. Being full of care and anxiety about the sick child I had
left, and also about the state of my churches, I quite forgot the tiger,
and tramped alone ahead of my attendants. After travelling six or eight
miles through the dense grass, which was eight or ten feet in height, I
came to a jungle stream flowing across the path. As I approached the bank
a hornbill arose from the bushes on the opposite side and flew into the
top of a small tree. This surprised me, as the bird is seldom seen save
on the highest trees. As the Karens are specially fond of its flesh, I
shot the bird. And that shot not only killed the bird, but apparently
saved my own life, for the tiger had been stalking me through the jungle,
as a cat does a mouse, seeking a good chance to pounce upon me. This he
certainly would have had at this ford. I heard his leaps into the jungle
very near me; and the ponies, scenting the beast, as they are quick to
do, were so frightened, together with the three Karens who were leading
them, that the latter began to shout to me: "Oh, teacher, we are all dead
men, for there is a tiger about! The ponies will break away from us!" I
shouted back "The tiger has gone! Fear not! Come on! Surely God has
delivered us!"

We crossed the brook, and joyfully continued our journey. The manifest
interposition of God in our behalf had taught us to put our trust
implicitly in Him. And we felt rebuked, as well as comforted; for God,
who could so easily protect us from the wild beast, could as easily heal
our little child and care for the churches which Christ had bought with
His own blood.



XIII - THE MAGIC DOUGHNUT


For those who have eyes to see there are many beautiful flowers in the
Lord's spiritual garden. These are often found in obscure and unexpected
places among men, but always bear the mark of their heavenly origin. What
rose or pink can match the marvellous beauty of Divine love, or
self-denial, or thoughtfulness for others' good? Their fragrance is
sweeter far than that of the most fragrant orchid of the tropics; and
when we suddenly come within their range, our souls are delighted, and we
give thanks.

One travelling season in the Burman mountains, while on a tour among the
churches, I came to a large village on a mountain-top, and, having
completed my inspection of the church and school, I retired to my tent
for the night. A feeling of loneliness came over me, caused, it may be,
by long absence from my native land and weeks of separation from the
society of our mission headquarters. For relief, I settled down to read,
when some one outside the tent-door began calling "Tharah! Tharah!" which
means "Teacher! Teacher!"

With a slight impatience I laid down my book, thinking it to be another
application for medicine, and opened the tent-door. There stood a Karen
woman with a large lacquered tray, on which was placed what seemed to me,
in such a place, almost a miracle. When one is told that there was not an
ounce of wheat flour in all those mountains, he may be able to share my
surprise at seeing a tray of New England doughnuts, having the right
colour and shape, and the regulation hole in the centre.

Questioning the woman, I found that, when she learned of the coming of
the missionary, her kind and thoughtful Christian heart moved her to
prepare a glad surprise for him. She had spent the previous afternoon in
pounding rice in a wooden mortar and sifting it through a piece of gauze,
to obtain rice flour for the coveted doughnuts. She fashioned them into
the required form, and cooked them in lard. "But," I asked, "how did you
know how to make them?" "Oh," she replied, "years ago, when at school in
the city, I used to help the Mama about her cooking, and sometimes, when
another missionary would visit her, she would make these strange cakes,
and the visitors always seemed very happy to see them. I thought they
must have some magic about them, so when I heard that you were coming to
our village, I planned to make some to surprise you."

Then we understood the magic of the cakes. For occasionally, when
missionaries met for a brief season, they endeavoured to secure some
article of food which would bring back memories of earlier home-days, and
this often took the form of the New England doughnut.

No heathen woman would thus have remembered us. It was as the ripe fruit
of the Spirit of Christ, or a flower from the heavenly garden, blooming
on the hill-top among the Toungoo jungles. It is true, when we came to
sample the cakes, that they were hard and indigestible; but, being mixed
with Christian love, nothing could have delighted the palate more than
these. They proved truly to be the "magic doughnut."



XIV - A NOTABLE MISSIONARY JOURNEY


In the cold season of 1882, it was decided in family counsel that we all
should attend the annual Association. The two women missionaries of the
station were also to accompany us. Our party numbered six, including our
two girls of eight and five years respectively. Some of the native school
children also accompanied us. The plan was to spend two months on the
mountains among the churches, and also to make an extended tour among the
heathen Brecs. This was no slight understanding; for it involved
travelling over broad plains and up steep, rugged mountains, with the
fording of rapid mountain streams. The problem was how to transport the
little folks, and how to take supplies for so long a journey. We would
need everything in the line of food, except chickens, eggs, and rice.
These we could obtain along our way. We would also need to take clothing
and bedding, and medicines for the sick. For transportation we had the
native pony, a hardy beast, small but strong, and well adapted for such a
journey. We also had twenty-nine native bearers to carry the goods.

During the first days of the new year our twenty-nine packs were ready
for the bearers, and by eleven o'clock on Friday morning we had crossed
the river and entered the great forest. Thus began one of the most
momentous jungle tours in our missionary life of forty years.

The first night found us ten miles on our journey, and encamped in a
beautiful grove of bamboos by a stream of clear, running water. It was a
charming, moonlight evening, and our company was buoyant in spirit,
including the school children, just freed from their year's confinement
at study. As we had few cooking utensils, the preparation of food was
carried on by the native disciples through the night. The hum of
conversation, with the stirring about of the busy natives, disturbed our
sleep, yet before sunrise we were again on the march.

At first the little girls were carried in woven bamboo hammocks, made by
the natives. When the way became steep and crooked, these were discarded,
and the native pastors carried the children on their backs, much to the
little girls' delight. Their carriers also pleased them by climbing trees
to get beautiful and fragrant orchids for them. But the greater part of
the journey was made by the little folks on foot.

Our second days' journey was through dense forests, along the bed of a
mountain stream. Tropical plants everywhere abounded, and with these were
some that we have loved in the homeland; while over all towered the
majestic forest trees, interlaced with large creepers, whose flowering
festoons lent a unique charm to our journey. Before night we had crossed
the first range of mountains and reached a Christian village, where we
prepared to spend the Lord's Day. A plat of ground had been cleared by
the native disciples for our tent. They had also provided wood, water,
and everything possible for our comfort.

Monday morning we were off again for the Association. Between us and the
Association grounds lay a deep gulf, at the bottom of which ran a swift
mountain stream. This stream for untold ages had been cutting its way
through the mountain ranges, in some places to a depth of more than a
thousand feet. In some places it could not be forded, and suspension
bridges of swinging or floating bamboo had been made for the
accommodation of travellers. We reached the edge of this deep gulf about
nine o'clock in the morning; and, while making the descent, we observed
above the river another river of fog, which seemed to be flowing parallel
with it. Penetrating this, we quickly passed out of the bright sunshine
into twilight. The women of the party found much discomfort in walking
through the jungle bushes, drenched with the mist, and on reaching the
river at the bottom of the gulf, all were in a bedraggled condition.

A narrow, floating bridge had been made for our crossing. It would
support only two at a time, and even then sank several inches, requiring
some nerve to cross it in safety. But we all went over barefooted, shoes
in hand and heart in mouth. The sun at last having dissipated the fog, we
began the steep ascent. For this work the mountain ponies and barefooted
Karens were admirably fitted. That night we reached the Association
grounds and went into camp.

[Illustration -- Heathen Visitors, Mountain Karens]

Early the following day the clans began to gather; and, as we stood on
the elevated ground occupied by our camp, the scene about us was most
inspiring. Groups of delegates and school children in their bright
holiday dress were coming from every quarter to the camp. As the
companies wound round the hill-tops, and over the mountain ridges through
the forests of bamboos, all intent upon the service of the one blessed
Lord, our hearts were filled with gratitude and praise. The scene was
well calculated to suggest those happy days in the history of God's
ancient people, when from every quarter of their holy land they wended
their way to Jerusalem to observe the annual feast of the passover, and,
reaching the hill-tops overlooking the sacred city with its magnificent
temple, their voices broke forth in jubilant songs of praise to the great
Jehovah.

The exercises occupied two days, including the regular business of the
Association, interspersed with gospel songs by the numerous schools that
were represented. And all this took place in a country only a few years
before swept by tribal wars and the horrible practices of heathenism.

The site of the Association was on the range of mountains next to the
watershed. This range towered thousands of feet above us, yet seemed very
near. As we stood looking over the scene, there suddenly burst upon our
ears the report of guns and the discordant beating of drums. All the
villagers rushed forward to see what this might mean. We saw approaching
in the distance a large band of armed men. They were coming from the land
of the dreaded Brecs. Immediately fear fell upon the assembled host; for,
said they, "These men are coming to fulfil their threat to break up our
meetings."

Meanwhile, the Brecs were rapidly approaching, their discordant music
echoing among the hills. Their leaders were known to our native
missionaries, and were quickly introduced to us. The chief was a giant,
and looked to be anything but a savage. His name was Howee (The
"Blessed"). We welcomed them so cordially that they soon appeared to feel
quite at home, and declared they had come to secure teachers of the "new
religion" for their people. The change of feeling among the assembled
clans, on hearing this good news, was very great. The gong sounded for
the assembling of the people, and the service became one of earnest
praise for this direct answer to their prayers, for God had given them an
open door into this savage tribe. Howee and his wild men watched the
proceedings with intense interest, and later he declared that, if the
white missionaries would visit his people, he believed they would turn to
the worship of the living God.

Our mission party subsequently determined to divide. One part was to
travel on the western side of the watershed, while the other would follow
the lead of Howee and his savage band back to their country. This was a
great undertaking, for that towering range of mountains before us must be
crossed, and what awaited us beyond them none could foretell.

From our camp the distance to the foot of the high range seemed short;
yet it required two days' march to reach it. We were now in a very wild
country, seldom, if ever, traversed by a white man. We were told that the
road up the mountain was impossible to ascend; but an intelligent Karen
preceded us and cut a passable path around the obstacles, while our
nimble bearers climbed the face of the almost impassable cliff to the
road beyond. We camped at night, after passing the first difficulties of
the journey, on a narrow ridge, with the giant forests about us, while
above the tree-tops towered the mountains we must yet cross. Our party
consisted of the missionary, his wife and children, and native
evangelists, led by Howee and more than thirty of his men, besides a
throng of savages from the surrounding villages, attracted by curiosity.

Our native Christians had built bonfires, which we found very acceptable
in the crisp evening air. The cook and the natives were soon all busy
preparing the evening meal. Later all the company gathered for a meeting
of prayer and praise, at which many of the savages heard the gospel for
the first time. They could not grasp its meaning, yet showed an attentive
and friendly spirit. Then followed a season of conversation between the
missionaries and the natives, in which many questions were asked and
answered. This was followed on the part of the natives by an exhibition
of their skill in throwing the spear, in which they greatly excelled. We
in turn showed them an unloaded revolver, which excited their wonder.
When told it was a weapon for shooting, some handled it with undisguised
contempt, seemingly thinking that so small a thing was not to be feared.
But when we slipped several cartridges into place, selected a mark in a
safe position, and rapidly discharged the "baby gun," their astonishment
was beyond description. The loudness of the report and the effect of so
small a gun upon the mark were so great that the more savage among them
were ready to fall down and worship it. It served as a good warning for
those who were unfriendly or disposed to look with greed upon our
luggage, which was to them of untold wealth. In all our future
journeyings on this tour, though often separated from our luggage, which
was carried by these same or similar savages, nothing was lost.

The night was spent by the native preachers telling the story of the
cross, and in answering numerous questions asked by the wild men camping
with us. Two o'clock found all the natives astir, cooking their breakfast
in order to make an early start for the next mountain's climb. Our camp
being a little removed from the main encampment, refreshing sleep was
secured till the morning star appeared. Then we awoke, and, after
breakfast in the early dawn under the trees, we started on our day's
journey. Our large company, in single file, now began the hardest climb
of the trip. The mountain was so steep in places that we were obliged to
use both hands and feet in making the ascent. As no water could be
secured along the way, all had provided themselves with bamboo bottles
filled with water and food. Looking back at our large company winding in
and out among the trees, it presented an impressive scene. The sun was
just shooting its yellow rays across the landscape, the air was crisp and
invigorating, and the Christians of our party, full of good cheer, caused
the mountain-tops to echo with their hymns of praise; while the heathen
of the company, bearing their heavy loads, tramped silently and stolidly
on and up. During the ascent we were often obliged to stop for a rest,
and how like a beautiful dream the landscape below unrolled before us.
Each stop brought out new and wonderful views.

By eleven o'clock we drew near the top of the range, and what we had
thought to be rock proved to be brown grass, which the frost had killed.
Stunted trees grew to the very crown of the range, and to our New England
eyes took the form of an orchard of apple-trees. We were soon among them,
and found ourselves in the habitat of a great variety of choice orchids.
The air was loaded with their sweetness. Our school-boys cast down their
burdens, and were soon climbing the trees and gathering armfuls of these
wonders of the tropics. Our little girls for once had all the flowers
they could desire; and as each boy brought in his contribution and cast
it down at their feet, they were almost covered with the blossoms.

We were now near the summit. One more climb and the long company filed
out upon the ridge of the mountain. We had agreed not to look back until
the top was reached; and here, upon a rock floor over six thousand feet
above the sea, we gazed with bewildered delight upon the most magnificent
mountain scenery we had ever beheld.

Looking westward, over our long pathway, we were first attracted by the
four ranges running north and south, over which we had so laboriously
climbed. The farthest range, almost absorbed in the distant blue, marked
the line between the mountain system and the plains of Toungoo. The
mountains were broken into sharp peaks and cragged precipices, and yet
they were beautifully symmetrical in their disorder. The line marking the
river we had crossed, and its gulf, stretched from extreme north to
extreme south, and looked like a ribbon of burnished silver where the
waters reflected the sunlight.

Some one has said, "How like a cauldron of violently boiling water
suddenly congealed, the mountain ranges appear." The truth of this simile
was there impressed upon me. As we gazed, new surprises sprang up from
every quarter. Trees near at hand covered with brilliant flowers, and the
shadows from clouds floating across the landscape in swift flight, gave
us a scene of surpassing beauty. The calls of baboons, sounding like a
company of boys just out of school, the chatter of monkeys in the distant
groves, the screaming of flocks of bright paraquets, the call of strange
birds, and the hum of bees surrounded us. A more careful observation of
the plants and trees in the immediate neighbourhood moved us to almost
tearful delight as we discovered grasses, poverty weed, motherwort,
wandering Jew, everlasting, and bright patches of red coxcomb, all of
which we knew in the dear home-land. Then there was a variety of tropical
trees and plants, including the giant fern, the dwarf palms, their
feathery leaves loaded with seeds, and the wild gooseberry of the tropics
growing on trees ten to fifteen feet in height.

[Illustration -- Native Carriers with Missionary Outfit]

As we stood contemplating these physical wonders we recalled the fact
that this vast mountain region, only a few years before, was filled with
the gloom of absolute savagery--village at war with village, and
clan with clan, the hills resounding with the confusion of battle and the
discordant cries of heathen. But now, while gazing on the enchanting
scene, we could justly add to it the glory of a redeemed land. Within the
sphere of our vision there were now seventy-five fully organised churches
of Christ, fifty schools filled with boys and girls of vigorous minds and
a consuming thirst for knowledge, and ninety-one teachers, ordained and
un-ordained, ministering to these churches, and preaching among the
villages yet in heathenism. The little brown spots in the vivid green of
the forests, and the columns of smoke in the distant blue, marked the
sites of these villages. How many journeys filled with anxiety had been
made back and forth among these mountain ranges in the past. Standing on
our high lookout, with supreme exultation in the love and power of Christ
to save the lost, we girded ourselves anew to look upon the dark scenes
in the east; for, in a certain sense, this mountain range marked the
boundary between the past years of conquest and the victories yet to be
won for our Prince Emmanuel.

Then looking eastward we saw a duplicate view of the western prospect,
yet in many respects dissimilar. There was the same view of mountains,
though these were more precipitous, range beyond range of north and south
trend, vanishing in the far horizon. We had, however, reached a
semi-tropical climate. There were groves of stately pines, and even at
our feet stood a friend from our home-land--the graceful birch,
fraternising with the bamboo. But we knew that the brown spots in the
vivid green no longer marked places where God was worshipped. No white
missionary had ever visited this field. Very few native pastors had
ventured into this country. Only Soo Thah and his companions had passed
over the road, and preached the gospel in any village. As a result of Soo
Thah's work we were on our journey, at the invitation of Howee, to visit
the heart of the country now spread out before us. How gloomy and dark it
appeared to us in contrast with the western side. The same sun was
shining brightly upon these ragged mountain peaks, but not a single
disciple of Christ was there. Neither chapel nor school, harbingers of a
Christian civilisation, had yet been established in all this region.

In our meditations at that hour, there came to us the inspiring words of
Isaiah, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that
bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings
of good, that publisheth salvation"; and our hearts were cheered by the
prospect presented to our faith, that we should see the time in the near
future when these mountains would break forth in songs of praise to the
great Redeemer.

Gathering up our baggage, we started down the eastern side of the
mountain. We were now on the border of Howee's country, the land of the
dreaded Brecs; and what was our surprise to find, instead of tangled
paths, a broad road cleared for us of all underbrush. And in many places
these dear heathen had swept the road clear of twigs and leaves. This
token of kind reception put our party in the best of spirits, and the
little girls scampered down the mountain like lambs at play, and the
disciples broke forth in hymns of praise. We found too, that these
thoughtful heathen had brought bamboo buckets of clear, cool water from
some spring, and had put them in convenient places for our refreshment.
Then further down we came upon bamboo buckets filled with steaming rice,
which the young heathen women had prepared for the party.

Coming out in a little opening of the pines, we saw the village of our
quest, nestling in the curve of a precipitous hill, rising before us. It
was apparently nearby, yet for two hours or more we tramped steadily on,
so crooked was the road, winding in and out among the hills. Passing
round a projecting spur, we came suddenly upon the village; yet not
unexpectedly, for we had noticed runners at different points, who
suddenly disappeared, doubtless to announce our approach. Our appearance
was a signal for an outbreak of intense excitement. Few of the people had
ever seen a white person, or even a pony. They seemed to think that the
riders were a part of the ponies! Some screamed out in terror, and others
were too frightened to flee.

Some women were dipping water from the brook we had to cross, and one old
mother, who had just filled her bucket with water, pounded it upon the
ground, exclaiming, "Ah-wee! Ah-wee"--an expression of supreme
surprise. Soon our company had dismounted, and, the first fright of the
people having passed, we all began making friends. They had heard
something about shaking hands, as a sign of fellowship; so some,
observing the handshaking, approached with the offer of their own hands.
The amphitheatre was crowded with houses, leaving no space for pitching
our tent; so a shelf on the rocks above the village was prepared for this
purpose.

We tarried among this people for a week, preaching the good news and
seeking to persuade them to turn from their heathen practices to the
worship and service of the true God. They were apparently tired and sick
of the lives they had been leading, and were especially groaning under
their galling bondage to the "nats," or evil spirits, which they imagined
were swarming about them, and ever seeking their ruin. For this cause
they seemed the more willing to consider our message and follow our
counsels. As the particulars of this missionary work are given in our
book, "Soo Thah," we will not repeat them here. Suffice it to say that
the people generally turned away from their old superstitions and
honestly sought to walk in the Christian way, as their evangelist
teachers should guide them.

Thus were we led to hope that the gospel of Christ would win its way
among these wild people, who had been the terror of our adjoining mission
outposts; and this hope did not fail of blessed fruition.

At the time of our departure the natives crowded about us in the best of
feeling to shake hands; for they said, "We are all now in the worship of
Jehovah, and we are so glad." They showed their gladness by their happy
looks and hearty handshakes. We parted, with their joyous cries in our
ears: "Now we worship Jehovah! Now we worship Jehovah!" And so we filed
away down the path on our day's journey.

During the next two or three weeks, we were constantly travelling from
village to village through some of the grandest mountain scenery. Our
course took us back among the disciples on the watershed range, and our
time was spent in strengthening weak churches, and in founding new
interests. The delight of the rich scenery and the fragrant pine woods
through which we passed far outweighed all weariness and gave us constant
joy.

And yet our pleasures were not without some annoying interruptions. For
instance, one day, after climbing a very steep mountain, we came to a
deserted village. Our followers had gone ahead with the little girls,
while we followed. Stopping a moment to look at the spot occupied by the
village, we were suddenly attacked by myriads of fleas, which drove us to
a precipitous flight. This revealed the reason why the Karens often
desert their villages. The ever-increasing vermin drive them to new
localities. The ground of this deserted village was so covered with the
fleas that it took their colour.

Our remaining journey for the day was through a dense jungle up the
mountain-side and along its towering ridge, from which we caught
wonderful views on either side. At night we camped on the top of the
range at the head of a deep ravine that ran down to the foot of the
mountain. It had been threatening rain all the afternoon, and now from
our encampment, where the sun was shining brightly, we looked down upon
the black clouds, heaving like a ragging sea, while through them darted
shafts of blinding lightning. As the clouds were slowly rising towards
us, no little uneasiness was felt about the possible effect of the
tempest. Tent ropes were tightened, and ditches dug around our tents.

The natives had cut paths into the high grass, and prepared neat shelters
for dry weather, but they were no protection against a rainstorm. When
the night began to shut in the clouds swept upwards like the rushing
charge of an army, the main part, however, passing up a neighbouring
ravine, much to our relief. Yet a part of the tempest struck our
encampment. The downpour of rain, mingled with the roar of the wind and
the reverberation of the thunder claps from the surrounding
mountain-peaks, was almost terrifying in its grandeur. Our natives could
hardly be expected to appreciate this grandeur, as their frail shelters
were torn down by the wind, and the rain deluged them. The cook had
prepared a nice shelter for his pots and kettles, which the wind
scattered, and his dumb wife, greatly frightened, added to the general
confusion by her efforts to express her dismay. This caused much
merriment among the people. The storm passed as speedily as it had risen,
but the memory of the thunder reverberating among the mountain-tops
remained with us a long time.

The next morning we arose early, much refreshed, and ready for our
northward journey. It was along the boundary between the English
territory and the independent tribes to the eastward. The travelling was
hard, yet relieved by the grandeur of the scenery. After several days'
journeying amid the marvels of nature, we reached the extreme northern
limit of our mission field--Yahdo valley, which we have already
described. The change from mountain travel to that of the broad, open
pathway of the valley was grateful to us all.

On our arrival in Yahdo, the numerous Christians extended to us a very
hearty greeting. Many willing hands made the work of pitching our tents
easy, and we were soon at rest. How delightful, after spending so long a
time among the unsympathising heathen, to enjoy the close and warm
fellowship of our Christian brethren. Here we spent a week of strenuous
work. We found five candidates for baptism awaiting our arrival. On
Saturday their examination took place, and the baptism was appointed for
the morrow. The news spread quickly through the surrounding villages that
a baptism among the Christians was to take place.

So early Sunday morning people began to gather from all quarters to the
appointed place. This was a beautiful, clear pool in the mountain stream,
overshadowed by willows. The sun shone brightly, and all nature seemed at
peace. Yet what a strange company had gathered to witness this Christian
ordinance--for the most part savages, wild-eyed, armed with spears
and swords. They said, among themselves, that the teacher was going to
put some men and women under the water to see "Yuah." Where they got this
idea no one could tell. The five candidates, three of them women, stood
beside the pool. The young men and women of the church stood near,
hymn-books in hand. The missionary also was there. The Holy Spirit seemed
to overshadow the little assembly of disciples, and all felt His
presence. The multitude of heathen also seemed to be under some spell,
for they ceased their conversation, and the whole company appeared
reverent. One of the candidates had waited two years for baptism, hoping
that his wife would join him in this public confession of faith in
Christ. She now stood by his side for this purpose, and his happiness was
complete. The simple Scriptural ceremony of burial with Christ and
resurrection to newness of life, with the accompaniment of prayer and
singing, was vastly more impressive than when observed in the most
stately sanctuary. The native pastor administered the baptism, the
benediction was pronounced, and the vast and strangely constituted
assembly scattered without confusion to their homes.

In the afternoon the right hand of fellowship was given to the new
members of the church, and the Lord's Supper observed. Monday and
Tuesday, meetings were held in the interests of the mission, and
everything was set in order. Wednesday we turned homeward for the City of
Toungoo. After five days of wearisome travel, we reached our own home
again. The journey of two months had been made largely on foot, even by
the little girls. No happier missionary tour could have been devised and
experienced, and, in view of the amount of work accomplished, it would
hardly have been more useful. We could but recognise in it the good hand
of our God, and we ascribed to Him all the glory.



XV - THE GOSPEL AND THE SAVAGE BRECS


This people, as shown in the previous chapter, were located beyond the
great range of mountains which form the eastern watershed, and also the
boundary between English territory and the independent tribes. On the
western side of this watershed the gospel had been introduced and
churches established. In 1865, when we entered this mission field, there
were nine organised churches. Hundreds of villages were yet groping in
heathen darkness. But year by year the gospel extended its peaceful
conquests, until this highest mountain barrier was reached.

Oftentimes the missionary, amidst his slow conquests, would cast wistful
eyes to the distant, mysterious east, wondering what kind of people dwelt
there. It was to him a _terra incognita_. Frequent raids were made by
these savages into the English territory, burning villages and
slaughtering the inhabitants; but little was known of these hostile
people, save that they were reported to be exceedingly savage and cruel.
This fact was clearly shown by their murderous raids.

In course of time the conquests of the gospel among the eastern mountains
had pushed the line of light up to the borders of this unknown land.
Often the native pastors and evangelists considered the question of
visiting this land. But the reports of the savage cruelties of the Brecs
were rehearsed as a serious objection to any attempt to evangelise them.
There were many reports of traders who had visited the country and never
returned; and of others who had returned stripped of everything, even to
their clothes. To enter such a territory, it was urged, would be to
challenge death. Spies had been sent into the land to discover if
evangelists could safely enter, but they brought no encouragement.
However, the interest in these tribes among the native Christians was
steadily increasing.

At last, in one of the annual meetings of the churches, the question of a
mission to the Brec Karens was brought forward and earnestly discussed.
It was easy to see that something ought to be done for these savage
people, but by what agency it was difficult to determine. Finally it was
decided that it must be undertaken as in apostolic times. Accordingly,
volunteers were sought to go across the mountains.

Young men were soon found who were willing to attempt this hazardous
work. Their reception in the Brec country was at first most hostile. They
were accused of being spies, and were surrounded by armed and threatening
men. But, filled with apostolic zeal and courage, they overcame all
opposition by the book they carried (the "white book" in the traditions
of the people), and by their sweet singing. Thus hostility was changed
into a friendly greeting.

The settlement into which these messengers entered was one of the most
savage in the whole Brec country. It consisted of a series of villages
located in a broad amphitheatre, formed by horseshoe-curved cliffs three
or four hundred feet in height, thus making a natural stronghold. Here
the first messengers of the gospel were received, and the confidence of
the people won. In succeeding years other young men joined this mission,
and a small school was begun. The difficulties that confronted them in
this pioneer work are indescribable. But the declaration of the
gospel--the love of God, the coming of His Son, His life, teaching,
sacrificial death, and resurrection--applied to the hearts of the
people by the Holy Spirit, gradually wrought its work here as elsewhere,
bringing souls to repentance and to the beginning of a new life.

On the first visit of a white missionary, the villagers assembled and
asked him to destroy for them their symbols of heathen worship. This was
a great step, and marked their sincerity in asking for a teacher to tell
them of Yuah. At first it seemed as if the whole village had turned to
God; but it was far otherwise. Yet never was the Spirit's work in
connection with the preaching of the gospel made more manifest. One might
expect that the more intelligent would first show signs of a new life;
but it was not uncommon for the less intelligent among them to be first
in giving abiding evidence that they had truly passed from death into
life.

The reformation of this village was slow, and only as the people grasped
the idea that God's son had come to earth, and borne their sins upon the
cross. They readily understood the substitution of the innocent for the
guilty, and humbly accepted Christ's redemptive work in their behalf.
This thought wrought mightily in the hearts of even the most
simple-minded, in awakening love to Christ as an incentive to right
living. Nor was this reformation confined, in its effects, to those who
came to trust in Christ. It changed the life of the whole village, and
seemed to awaken in the hearts of all a new sense of propriety and of
upright living.

From the first, even among the most degraded, there seemed to be a clear
sense of the principles of right and wrong. We never needed to convince
them of personal sin and guilt. They recognised these facts, and, because
of them, they declared that "Yuah had forsaken them." To them the good
news was the declaration of a new fact: namely, that Jesus Christ came to
save them from their sins, and to make it possible, through their
repentance and trust in Him, to become the sons of God. These truths were
ever foremost in our dealing with these savage races. Other villages saw
the prosperity which had come to this leading village, after they had
adopted the worship of God, and so called for teachers that they might
follow in this way.

An incident that added vitally in leading the people to this change
occurred most fortunately at a time when it would accomplish most for the
good cause. One of the most prominent of the Brec chiefs, Tee Peh, with a
large body of his followers, stood out in opposition to the regeneration
of his tribe; and after a number of years; when several villages had
become settled in their new worship, his opposition broke out into open
violence. There being no law among these tribes, the weak were
unprotected. From the beginning of the preaching of the gospel among
these villages, the return of "Yuah" (the God of their traditions), to a
beneficent care of His children, had been prominent in the faith of the
new disciples.

A council was held at Tee Peh's village to consider the question of an
attack upon the Christian villages. Tee Peh and his followers, who were
suffering from pressure of famine, seeing Christian villages well
supplied with food, became envious of their prosperity. Having heard that
the Yuah of the Christians had returned to them, and had made them the
object of His care, they were doubtful of the success of such an attack.
Some of his people opposed, on the ground that Yuah was a living God and
lived among His children, and that their prosperity proved this. Tee Peh,
however, urged that they did not really know that Yuah was a living God
till they should put Him to proof. Like the cunning old heathen that he
was, he proposed that a test case be made. They would make a raid upon a
Christian village, seize some of the children, if possible, and hold them
for ransom. If Yuah came for them, they would deliver them up, and so
escape punishment; if He did not come, they would know surely that Yuah
was like the dead gods of the Burmans, and they would then have nothing
to fear from Him.

The majority of Tee Peh's followers were enthusiastic over this plan of
their leader, and were ready to execute it. The Christians, having heard
of this council, and the plans of Tee Peh, were filled with alarm. Their
faith, yet in its infancy, was small in proportion to the crisis
presented to them. Their teachers consulted over the situation with the
missionary, and were urged to meet the test with prayer and faith.
Examples of conquering faith in similar circumstances in the Old
Testament times were freely discussed.

During the following rainy season, Tee Peh, with a band of his followers,
carried out his threat. He attacked one of the Christian villages and got
away with two captive children. Runners came at once to the mission
headquarters, in the city of Toungoo, with letters informing us of what
had occurred. We saw that the old chief had thrown down the gage of
battle to the Christians in his tribe, and that they must take it up, or
acknowledge a defeat. Such a defeat filled us with dread. It would stop
all further advance of spiritual work among the Brec tribe, if it did not
break up the churches already gathered. It would strengthen doubt among
the many churches on the west side of the watershed and paralyse the work
of the anti-evangelists in the whole field.

This was clearly a spiritual warfare. The native Christians so regarded
it. It was clear that we could not oppose force with force; nor was there
any possible help save in the almighty power of Jehovah Jireh, the God of
missions. We took the letter into our private room, and spread it before
the Lord of glory, and appealed to Him for help. He gave to us a
satisfying assurance of gracious succour.

Letters were sent to the churches, the case plainly stated, and prayer
asked. The elders and devout men were summoned to meet over the
mountains, near the seat of trouble in the Brec country, as soon as the
rains ceased, that we might seek a way of deliverance for the captive
children. In due time the elders and all who were interested, gathered
from all the churches at the village of Sau-pe-le-cho for this new kind
of warfare. During the time that elapsed from the capture of the children
to that of this assembling of the Christian workers, the excitement
greatly increased. It is true, said they, that God delivered His ancient
people many times from their enemies; but the Karens are a poor people,
and few in numbers. Perhaps He would deliver the white people, but will
He take pity on us Karens? It became for them a test question of
absorbing interest. At our place of meeting were assembled a great body
of disciples, and two days were spent in conference and prayer.

Repeated demands were made upon Tee Peh, in the name of the great Yuah,
for the deliverance of the captives, but were met by him with a curt
refusal, and also with threats, if the messengers should return without
the ransom. In the meetings, the burden of the prayers was that God would
put His fear in the hearts of these heathen, and that the children might
be so delivered that all the heathen, far and near, might be convinced
that it was the living God who had appeared in behalf of the Christians.

At the close of three days, during evening worship, messengers returned
with the captive children, their captors having surrendered them freely
through the impelling fear of God. The full and thrilling account of this
Divine interposition is given in "Soo Thah."

[Illustration -- Heathen Women]

The effect of this upon the native Christians, in strengthening their
faith and inspiring their zeal, was most happy. Said one aged pastor, as
the children arrived: "Behold what God has wrought for us. We never saw
captives delivered before without ransom. Our Yuah has, indeed, returned
to us, and wrought for us this wonderful work, as He did for His children
in olden times." Such prominence had been given this affair that the
whole country was aware of the contest between Tee Peh and the
Christians. Many openly declared, "This is, indeed, a struggle between
Tee Peh and Yuah, the God of the Christians." And so the public and free
surrender of the captives was heralded as a clear and complete victory
for Yuah. Indeed, the fear of the Lord fell upon the heathen generally
with great power. Applications for teacher poured in from all quarters.
"We want this God," said they, "who cares for His children, to be our
God." Chapels and houses for teachers were erected in many villages, and
captives from various towns were freely surrendered from fear of Yuah,
"the God of the Christians."

The excitement throughout the tribe also was great. How far the spiritual
element entered into the motives of the people in calling for teachers it
would be difficult to say; but, under the wise guidance of the native
pastors, many true converts to Christ were won from the heathen through
the influence of this event. Within four years about thirty villages had
called teachers and begun the worship of God. The self-sacrificing
devotion and zeal of these native pastors was exceedingly gratifying.
They could not have endured and accomplished what they did save by the
aid of the Holy Spirit.

Here again, in the winning of converts and in their subsequent spiritual
growth, was clearly manifested the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.
Persecution was common, and the whole atmosphere was impregnated with
their old heathen thoughts and customs. To break away from these
influences was no easy matter; but, in the course of time, intelligent
churches, manifesting the true spirit of Christ, sprang into existence.
Schools were established, and war and robbery ceased throughout the whole
tribe In comparison with the whole number of the tribe, few became true
disciples; but these were rare jewels in the Saviour's crown. And their
influence was most marked in transforming the morals of this great body
of savages.

Thus was wrought the miracle of the reformation of the Brec tribe, and
the regeneration of many of its members--at the beginning a most
unpromising people, hidden away in their mountain fastnesses, far from
the track of civilisation and of all Christian influences, sunken in the
lowest depths of savagery, at war with all good influences, completely
under the sway of the god of this world. To the all-conquering Jesus be
ascribed the glory!



XVI - HOW WE CAPTURED THE MYANGYOUNG PONGYI


Early in the year 1885, the English army marched from Lower Burma upon
Mandalay, the capital of the Burman Empire, then ruled by King Thee Baw.
When in 1878, Meng Done Meng, the most illustrious of the Burman kings,
died, the glory of that empire departed forever. After several years of
intrigue, Thee Baw, a man of doubtful parentage and character, an inmate
of the schools of the Buddhist priests, was brought to the throne. This
was accomplished by the cunning of his half-sister and her mother, the
former a princess by the name of Supi-yaw-lat, whom he subsequently
married. His coronation was the signal for the beginning of bloody
massacres. These were committed upon the king's own relatives, including
men, women, and children, who might be able to interfere with Thee Baw's
hold upon the throne. These massacres were of the most cruel character,
and awakened a thrill of horror throughout the civilised world.

As an example, the governor of Rangoon, a venerable Burman, highly
esteemed by the common people, was caught, and his mouth filled with
gunpowder, which was exploded. Others were covered with kerosene oil and
burned. At the first massacre, over eighty, with their friends and
relatives, were put to death; and at the second, several hundred were
reported to have met a like fate.

The English lion was hereby roused to action, and this wicked king was
swept from his throne, and the dynasty of the "Golden-footed Kings, Lords
of the White Elephant, Children of the Sun," came to an end forever; and
the Burman Empire became part of the great Indian Empire, under the
beneficent rule of her Majesty, Victoria, the Empress of India.

After the capture of Thee Baw's army, the commanding general of the
English army made the fatal mistake of allowing the disbanded soldiers to
retain their arms. As they were without support, they immediately formed
bands for the purpose of "dacoity," or robbery. They went about the
country pillaging, burning, and murdering their own people as well as
foreigners. The English troops, with few exceptions, had been sent from
Lower Burma into the upper country at the beginning of the war, so that
that province was very poorly garrisoned.

The dacoits, seeing this, entered Lower Burma and were there joined by
many of their countrymen, either through fear, or the belief that the
Burman king would yet drive the English out of the land. Moreover, the
emissaries of the king, commissioned by him before his dethronement,
aided much in inciting the people to revolt. They led them to believe
that the Burman king had already been victorious over the English armies,
and that soon all the Europeans would be "driven into the sea."

The chief leaders in this revolt were the Buddhist priests. Among them
was one called the Myangyoung Pongyi; taking the name of the Kyoung, or
priests' temple, where he lived, located on the east side of the Sittang
River, in the Tenasserim Province. He was a man of large stature, great
cunning, and gained great influence among the people. The Burmans are
naturally a very credulous race. They much more readily believe the most
improbable story than the truth; and the more marvellous the better for
them. This Pongyi took advantage of this fact, and pretended to have
miraculous powers. He caused a large number of charms to be made. These
consisted of cabalistic signs, figures, and sacred texts from the Betagat
(the Burmese sacred book), which were printed on cloth, and blessed by
the Tha-tha-na-being, or Buddhist high priest at Mandalay. These charms,
he declared, would render those possessing one invulnerable. The people
believed this implicitly, as was afterwards shown by the reckless way in
which they exposed their lives in encounters with the English soldiers.

On the 12th of December the English residents of Lower Burma were thrown
into great alarm by reports that the Myangyoung Pongyi, with several
thousand Shans and others, was devastating the country within less than a
hundred miles of Rangoon, the largest city of Burma. Immediately, as if
by magic, armed bands sprang up all over English territory. Before the
close of January of that year, more than a score of towns and villages
had been captured, pillaged, and wholly or in part burned. In many of
these towns the police had joined the rebels, taking their arms with
them. In some places the local Burmese governors also had gone over to
the insurgents. Much public, as well as private, property had been
destroyed. The great canals uniting the Irrawady and Sittang rivers had
been broken, and thousands of teak logs set adrift to the sea.

As the days of December and January wore slowly away, the feeling of
insecurity among the English, from the rulers down, increased. Like most
mountaineers, the Karens are an independent and brave people. Yet up to
this time they had been regarded by the English, as by their former
Burman masters, as base and cowardly, because of their naturally
peaceable and docile nature. On the other hand, the Burmans were regarded
as the noblemen of the country. But the events now transpiring were
rapidly reversing these opinions.

And now small bands of English soldiers were marching in hot haste
through the country, striving to check the uprising of the people.
Distracting reports filled the air. The destruction of the telegraph
lines added to the general confusion.

Toungoo is an inland city about one hundred and sixty miles north of
Rangoon, and had at that time a population of about twenty-four thousand
Burmans. The mission "compound" is on the bank of the Sittang River, in
the heart of the city. Rumours of a rising of the inhabitants of the
whole city began to fill the air. Every European was armed, and the
streets were patrolled night and day. The Karen Christians rallied around
us for our protection. One night an attempt was made to fire the mission
building, but was foiled by our Karen protectors. The missionaries were
the special objects of hatred on the part of the Burmans, because of the
help rendered by them in gathering news for the government through the
Karen Christians.

Meanwhile, the Myangyoung Pongyi was desolating the land. However, on the
19th of December, being repulsed from the large town of Shway-gyen, on
the Sittang River, he retreated with a thousand followers into the
mountains to the eastward. As soon as he reached the hills, the Karens
fell upon him, and greatly harassed him, impeding his progress. These
Burmans, accustomed as they were to despise the Karens as weaklings,
doubtless expected an easy conquest of their country. But now they were
being rudely awakened to their misconception of these people, and were
doomed to a still more painful surprise.

At this stage of the conflict, an appeal was made to the government by
the Karens all over Lower Burman for arms for their own protection. There
were then about twenty-seven thousand Christians of this race, and they
were proving themselves to be the most loyal and trustworthy of all the
Queen's native subjects in Burma. Moreover, they had met the rebels in
several pitched battles, and had shown remarkable bravery, which had
attracted the favourable notice of their rulers. Their appeal was at once
acceded to, and soon the despised Karens were in high favour with the
authorities, and they proved a large factor in reducing the province to
order.

In the Toungoo and Shway-gyen districts there were about seven thousand
of these Christian Karens, who were led by their brave native pastors. At
about this time an attack was made upon a Christian Karen village, in
which the chapel, schoolhouse, and most of the dwellings were utterly
destroyed. The pastor of the church hastily gathered his followers and
set out in pursuit of the dacoits. So sharp was the following that they
were surprised in their camp before noon, and the whole band captured.
That night the Karens returned to their burned village, and bound the
dacoits to the charred posts of their houses for safe-keeping. In their
attack upon their village the enemy declared to the Karens that their
Lord Jesus was dead, and could no longer help them. Now the victorious
Karen retorted, "Where is your god?"

The next day these prisoners were turned over to the nearest military
station, and the Karens received the thanks of the government. This
incident characterises the spirit of the Christian Karens among whom the
Myangyoung Pongyi had fallen. A few days after this occurrence, another
Christian village further in the mountains was surprised, while the
people were at worship, and the whole congregation captured. Having
possessed themselves of the chapel, a Pongyi took the pulpit, and, after
ordering the Bible and other books to be cut in pieces, he proclaimed,
"Jesus Christ is dead, and His worship is at an end." In this case, the
Karens had taken the precaution to hide their arms the preceding night,
as they would not think of fighting on the Sabbath; but on Monday morning
they quietly drew them forth from their concealment, and followed the
dacoits. Finding them at their evening encampment, the Karens boldly
attacked them, though greatly outnumbered. The pastor and several of his
flock were shot; but the dacoits suffered much, and were so terrified by
the boldness of the attack that they fled in confusion.

Previous to this the main band had been vigorously attacked by these
brave mountaineers, who had rallied from every village. They had also
fought them with fire; for the jungles at the time were very dry and
dense, and the flames burned fiercely; so that the dacoits were driven
from their hiding-places and scattered. They thus found a worse foe to
fight than the English soldiers on the plains.

Many of the Shans following the Myangyoung Pongyi had brought with them
their wives and children. These latter, by their frequent crying, became
a source of danger to them by attracting the attention of the Karens to
their places of concealment. Hence, whenever a child cried, the brutal
commander would order its immediate execution. In this way many children
among the dacoits perished.

Soon runners from our own villages came to Toungoo, bringing reports that
their towns and villages were being destroyed by the rebels. The
excitement became intense, and the fear of the natives was very great;
for they were as yet almost without arms for defence. We had made
repeated appeals to the government to supply our people with guns and
ammunition; for it was apparent that without these they would be
destroyed by their implacable foes. These were at last secured, though
with no little difficulty, as certain Burman officials, through their
jealousy of the Karens, were striving to defeat our plans. By this time a
large number of our Christian Karens had gathered on the mission
compound, waiting for help. Within a half-hour from the time the arms
were received they were distributed, luggage was packed on the backs of
bearers, and we were off on our march to the seat of trouble among the
blue hills to the eastward.

Once on the road, we had time to think of the novel position into which
we had been thrust. However, we determined it should be a mission of
peace and mercy as far as possible; and, indeed, we found ample
opportunity for saving life, and ministering to the wounded. We freely
confess, however, that we formed the purpose of capturing, if possible,
the Myangyoung Pongyi. We reasoned that, now having been battered and
bruised by the English troops, and subsequently by the Karens, and having
been much reduced in strength for want of food, both he and his followers
must be much demoralised. With this special object in view, we
distributed our armed men so as to guard every path by which the rebels
would seek to escape.

The second day of our march brought us into the disturbed country, and on
the third we were in the heart of the trouble. And now our trials begun.
We met a large band, and quickly dispersed them. Wounded men began to
arrive for medical treatment. Three native Christians had been shot. A
native pastor had secured a government gun and, while standing guard at
one of the approaches to his village, had met a party of thirteen of the
enemy, two of them with guns. The leader attempted to shoot him, but his
gun missed fire. The second dacoit then attempted to shoot him, but the
native pastor was too quick for him and shot him dead, at the same time
putting the whole band to flight. At night prisoners began to arrive, and
now we found our mission to be one of saving lives; for the Karens were
so exasperated by the killing and wounding of their comrades that, for
the time, their old savage instincts were likely to get control of them.
Doubtless, without restraint, they would, in some instances, at least,
have administered summary punishment to their prisoners.

The next morning we marched directly to the reported stronghold of the
Myangyoung Pongyi. Prisoners had assured us of his position, and that he
and his followers were much disheartened. Meanwhile, the Myooke, or local
governor, a Karen Christian, had joined us with a small body of Karen
police. We now numbered, with those guarding the villages and roads, over
a hundred armed men. Reaching the rendezvous of the dacoits, we found
they had left; but the dead bodies, with evidences of hasty departure,
showed us that they had again been successfully attacked by the hillmen
south of us. That night prisoners were brought in by scores--men,
women, and some children, the latter in great distress; and again we had
the privilege of saving life, and of relieving much suffering.

The next day a notable prisoner was brought in, or so his captors
claimed; "for," they said "he has gold, and must, therefore, be a great
man." Gold is rarely met with among these hillmen, and hence their
estimate of the importance of this captive. It appeared from their
account that the previous night, at one of the most distant Christian
villages, a man came to some Karen women, who were husking rice by
pounding it in a mortar, for their evening meal. Standing at a distance
and, as he could not speak the language of the people, making motions, he
indicated that he was hungry and wanted food. The women were alarmed and
shook their heads. He stepped forward and held out a handful of silver;
but, still fearing he was one of the dacoits, they shook their heads and
retreated. The stranger then held out a handful of gold, pointing to the
rice they had been cleaning.

It flashed upon them that, as he seemed to be alone, their men could
capture him; and that he might be a man of importance, as he had so much
wealth with him. So they nodded assent, and took him up into their house.
While one of the women proceeded to cook the rice, the other went rapidly
down the narrow path to call the men of the village, who were on guard,
having the one government gun which had been given them. They returned,
and two of them went into the house just as the stranger was sitting down
on the floor to eat.

The two men succeeded in throwing the stranger off his guard, his
famishing hunger doubtless helping to calm his fears. Before he had
finished eating, one of the men, having worked his way behind him, took a
woman's skirt; hanging near, and suddenly drew it over the head of the
stranger. The whole company now set upon him, reinforced by those waiting
outside, and, though fighting desperately, he was soon bound hand and
foot. When brought into camp the next day, besides having his hands tied,
he was led by three ropes, one around his neck, another fastened about
his waist, and a third secured to his bound hands. He had made desperate
attempts to escape, hence these precautions of his captors.

As soon as he was brought before the Myooke, that officer fastened his
eyes upon him, and exclaimed: "Ah-Mai-gyee! You have caught the
Myangyoung Pongyi himself, the leader of this rebellion! 'Tis he surely.
I know him well. There is a five-thousand-rupee reward for his capture"
(A rupee is equal to about thirty-five cents in our money.)

This so excited those who had suffered most at his hands, that it was
difficult to restrain them from killing him then and there. The next day
the march was begun towards the nearest military post. There was a long
train of prisoners, besides their recent leader. On the way the latter
called the Myooke, and said to him: "You are a great man, and so am I. I
have gold, silver, precious stones, and elephants. Let me escape, and all
these riches are yours." The Christian Myooke replied, "Were you able to
give me heaven and earth, I would not let you go."

The next day the captured chief acted as if he were weak, and pleaded
that his hands might be loosed while he was eating his rice. On this
being granted, he watched his opportunity, and, hurling aside several of
the guard, came very near escaping. But one of the guards clubbed him
down with the butt of his gun. After this he was more closely watched
than ever, and so he was securely brought to our mission compound, and
delivered up to the proper authorities. This capture excited special
excitement among the English residents throughout the country. And large
numbers of the native population, as well as of the English, came to see
him.

The disgust of those English officers, who had been hunting this Pongyi
for months, was naturally very great. Said one, as he stood looking at
the prisoners gathered in the mission compound, "Who captured these?"
"These Karen Christians," was the reply. "What! these Karens? (with a
slight sneer). Can they fight?" "Well, sir," was the reply, "they don't
like to, but they have made this attempt." Turning to a fellow officer,
he said, with supreme disgust: "See here, I have been hunting this Pongyi
for three months. If I had caught him, I should have secured the five
thousand rupees and a promotion; and now these Karens have got him and
the reward."

This capture broke the backbone of the rebellion; for all the Burmans
regarded the Myangyoung Pongyi as invincible. It also raised the despised
Karen Christians to a high plane in the esteem of all good men, and of
the rulers of the country. But their surprise knew no bounds, when these
honest Karens brought in with their prisoners the large sums of gold and
silver that had been captured with them, and laid the treasure at their
feet. In reply to their expressions of astonishment, the Karen Christians
said: "It is not ours. We bring it to you." Having received the reward of
five thousand rupees, they first helped those who had suffered loss by
the rebels, and then divided the remainder among their schools. This is
how we captured the Myangyoung Pongyi.


Printed in the United States of America.



THE END OF SKETCHES FROM THE KAREN HILLS


* * *


DETAILS OF OTHER BOOKS (PRINTED AT THE END OF 'SKETCHES FROM THE KAREN
HILLS')


-----------------------------------------------------
By Alonzo Bunker, D.D.
"The Making of a Nation"
SOO THAH
A Tale of the Karens. Introduction by Henry C. Mabie, D.D.
Illustrated, 12mo, cloth, $1.00 net.

"The Karens are a wonderful people, and their conversion to Christianity
has been one of the marvels of the nineteenth century. The style of the
book will make it a delight to read, and some people will get a
conception of Christian missions, as carried on not only by missionaries,
but by the native Christians also, such as they never had before."
--_Examiner._

"Here is a story of the conversion of the Karen people, told in a plain,
fascinating style by a missionary. How this came about is the burden of
the story. There is a charm to this bit of history that makes it read
like a romance, and no one can lay it aside without a strong desire to
read to the end."--_Reformed Church Messenger._

"Short, well written and interesting. Adventure, social life and
missionary work are each well treated. The author has done his work
well."--_Baltimore Sun_.

-----------------------------------------------------

MISSIONARY TRAVELS
-----------------------------------------------------
The Call of Korea
Illustrated, net, 75c.
H. G. UNDERWOOD

"Dr. Underwood knows Korea, its territory, its people, and its needs, and
his book has the special value that attaches to expert judgment. The
volume is packed with information, but it is written in so agreeable a
style that it is as attractive as a novel, and particularly well suited
to serve as a guide to our young people in the their study of missions."
_The Examiner._

-----------------------------------------------------
Things Korean
A Collection of Sketches and Anecdotes, Diplomatic and Missionary
Illustrated, net, $1.25.
HORACE N. ALLEN

Gathered from a twenty year's residence in Korea and neighboring
countries by the late Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of
the United States to Korea.

-----------------------------------------------------
Breaking Down Chinese Walls
From a Doctor's Viewpoint.
Illustrated, net, $1.00.
ELLIOTT I. OSGOOD

"Dr. Osgood was for eight years a physician at Chu Cheo, and conducted a
hospital and dispensary, visiting and preaching the Gospel in the village
round about. He writes from experience. The object is to show the
influence and power of the medical missionary service, and of the daily
lives of the missionaries upon the natives, told in a most interesting
manner by the record of the living examples."--_The United
Presbyterian._

-----------------------------------------------------
Present-Day Conditions in China
Boards, net, 50c.
MAPSHALL BROOMHALL

"This book is very impressive to those who do know something of
'present-day conditions in China,' and most startling to those who do
not. Maps, tables, and letterpress combine to give a marvelous
presentation of facts."--_Eugene Stock, Church Missionary Society._

-----------------------------------------------------
The New Horoscope of Missions
Net, $1.00.
JAMES S. DENNIS

"Dr. Dennis, who has long been a close student of foreign nations, and
speaks with authority, gives in this volume a broad general view of the
present aspects of the missionary situation, as foundation for 'the new
horoscope' which he aims to give. The book is made up of lectures
delivered at the McCormick Theological Society on The John H. Converse
Foundation."--_Examiner._

-----------------------------------------------------
In the Valley of the Nile
A Record of Missionary Enterprise in Egypt,
_Princeton Lectures._
Net, $1.00.
CHARLES R. WATSON

"The author carefully traces the early rapid spread of Christian faith
into ancient Egypt and the development of the Coptic church, and the
spread of Moslem faith over Christianized Egypt. The earlier and more
transient Moravian missionary efforts are described and then the American
Presbyterian work which has achieved such success. A map, index and
bibliography are appended. This is an excellent reference book as well as
informing traveler's handbook."--_Watchman._

-----------------------------------------------------
The Missionary Enterprise
A Concise History of Its Objects, Methods and Extension.
Net, $1.25.
EDWIN MUNSELL BLISS

As compiler of The Encyclopaedia of Missions and in his work as editor
and writer of special articles, the author stored up an immense amount of
valuable knowledge on the subject of Missions. The present work is not
merely a revision of the author's earlier work, "The Concise History of
Missions," but a thoroughly re-written work, considerably extended as to
scope and method of analysis, and including the latest data obtainable.

-----------------------------------------------------
Missionary Experiences During Nineteen Centuries
_Gay Lectures, 1907._
In press.
W. T. WHITLEY

The story of missions in five continents, differs from previous works of
this character in that it is written from a view point entirely
historical. The defeats are considered as fully as the victories;
pitfalls to be avoided as well as examples to be followed.

-----------------------------------------------------
Adventures With Four-Footed Folk
and Other Creatures of the Animal World.
Illustrated, $1.00.
BELLE M. BRAIN

The author has established a reputation through her popular missionary
readings. No one is able to detect an interesting story more quickly. In
her latest work she has selected some of the most thrilling stories from
the mission field, dealing with animals of all sort, from Egerton R.
Young's sledge dogs in the North West to the man-eating tiger in India.

-----------------------------------------------------


TRAVEL----RESEARCH
-----------------------------------------------------
The Jungle Folk of Africa
With Introduction by Robert Mackenzie, D.D., L.L.D
Illustrated, net, $1.50.
ROBERT H. MILLIGAN

Mr. Milligan has given us a book which has all the fascination of the
narratives of the famous travelers. The singular power of the book is to
make the black African seem a real human person. This book is written as
a personal narrative and the author gives his own experiences with the
natives of several tribes as he knew them. These experiences were tragic
and comic, sadly mingled and so human that the book is certain to take
rank as a standard. No casual traveler can ever recall it for close
information.

-----------------------------------------------------
The Continent of Opportunity
The South America Republics--Their History, Their resources, Their
Outlook.
Illustrated, net, $1.50.
FRANCIS E. CLARK, D.D.

"Dr. Clark's impressions are fresh and vivid, the scenic features, the
marvelous natural resources of this vast territory, and the social
characteristics of the people are presented in interesting and informing
fashion. Dr. Clark's journey, which occupied five months, was begun at
Panama, when he sailed for Valparaiso. He visited, after Panama, Ecuador,
Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentine, Uruguay and Brazil. A map and numerous
illustrations add to the value of the book."--_The Interior._

-----------------------------------------------------
Drugging a Nation
The Story of the Influence of Opium on the Chinese Nation
Illustrated. _In press._
SAMUEL MERWIN

Mr. Merwin has a well established reputation as a novelist, but recently
joined the editorial staff of "Success" and last year made a trip through
China for the purpose of discovering the effects of the use of opium upon
the Chinese. He here presents his findings and deductions, and shows a
startling condition for which the Chinese themselves are not primarily
responsible, and against which their governor is making a determined
fight.

-----------------------------------------------------
Twenty Years in Persia
A Narrative of Life under the Shadow of Three Shahs, with experience of
travel and observation and an account of recent changes in Iran, by the
Director of the American Presbyterian Hospital, Teheran.
Illustrated, net, $1.90.
JOHN G. WISHARD

It is stated that less than three hundred Americans have ever set foot
within the bounds of Iran. Recalling Persia's long and honorable history,
her learning and civilization dating back almost to the beginning of
time, yet hidden for centuries from the Western World, first-hand
information by this long-time resident physician will prove uniquely
interesting and be a revelation to most readers.

-----------------------------------------------------

MISSIONARY
-----------------------------------------------------
ROBERT E. SPEER--June
Christianity and the Nations
The Duff Lectures for 1910.
8vo, cloth, net $2.00.

Among the many notable volumes that have resulted from the well-known
Duff foundation Lectureship this new work embodying the series given by
Mr. Robert E. Speer in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, will rank among
the most important. The general theme, "The Reflex Influence of Missions
upon the Nations," suggests a large, important, and most interesting
work. The name of the lecturer is sufficient guarantee of the method of
treatment.

-----------------------------------------------------
HENRY H. JESSUP--March
Fifty-three Years in Syria
Introduction by James S. Dennis. Two volumes, illustrated.
8vo, cloth, boxed, net $5.00.

This autobiographical record of half a century's experience in the
mission field of Syria, is rich in color, narrative and insight. It is
also incidentally a history of the mission work for the period but told
with a personal touch and from the innermost standpoint. It is a
pioneer's story, and as such never lacks in interest.

-----------------------------------------------------
JULIUS RICHTER--March
A History of Protestant Missions in the Near East
8vo, cloth, net $2.50.

A companion volume to "A History of Missions in India" by this great
authority. The progress of the gospel is traced in Asia Minor, Persia,
Arabia, Syria and Egypt. Non-sectarian in spirit and thoroughly
comprehensive in scope. "It is truly a notable work and can be endorsed
in unqualified terms."--_John R. Mott._

-----------------------------------------------------
WILLIAM EDWARD GARDNER--February
Winners of the World During Twenty Centuries
Adapted for Boys and Girls.
A Story and a Study of Missionary Effort from the Time of Paul to the
Present Day.
Cloth, net 60c; paper, net 30c.

Brief sketches of great missionaries in chronological order, extending
down through Augustine and Boniface the apostles to England and Germany,
Xavier in Japan, and Brainerd among the Indians, to Carey, Moffat and
Livingstone and Missionaries of our own day. Intensely stimulating and
suggestive.

-----------------------------------------------------
The Foreign Missionary
An Incarnation of the World Movement
12mo, Cloth, $1.50 net.
ARTHUR J. BROWN

Dr. Brown, out of a long and intimate experience deals with such
questions as, Who is the Missionary? What are his motives, aims and
methods? His dealings with proud and ancient peoples. His relation to his
own and other governments? His real difficulties. Do results justify the
expenditures? How are the Mission Boards conducted? etc., etc. The book
is most intelligently informing.

-----------------------------------------------------
The Conquest of the Cross in China
With Chart and Illustrations.
12mo, Cloth, $1.50 net.
JACOB SPEICHER

The contents of this book were first delivered as lectures to the
students at Colgate University. Mr. Speicher has the true instinct of the
news bringer. He has lived in South China long enough to know it
thoroughly. He is distinguished by common sense in his judgments, made
palatable by a free literary style.

-----------------------------------------------------
China in Legend and Story
12mo, Cloth, $1.25 net.
C. CAMPBELL. BROWN

By one of the C. M. S. best known missionaries. It consists of seventeen
stories, true to legend or to fact, ten of them studies of the Chinese
people as they are when heathen, and seven of them of the same people
when they become Christians. The stories cover a wide range of social
life, representing every class in the community, from mandarins to
thieves and beggars. As Mr. Campbell Brown is a keen observer, and wields
a graceful pen, the book is unusually interesting and valuable.

-----------------------------------------------------
A Typical Mission in China
12mo, Cloth, $1.50 net.
W. E. SOOTHILL

"The book is comprehensive, illustrative, well written, interesting and
valuable in every way. Those who read it will get such a glimpse into
Chinese life and methods as they may never have had, and will certainly
be edified and stimulated to a new zeal in the work of missions."
--_Herald and Presbyter._

-----------------------------------------------------
Robert Clark of the Panjab
Pioneer and Missionary Statesman
8vo, Cloth, $1.75 net.
HENRY MARTYN CLARK

"The record of one of the makers of Christian India; as fascinating as a
novel, and immensely more profitable. The more widely this book is
circulated and read, the better it will be for the missionary enterprise.
A book of this character is the best-apologetic that can be written."--
_Missionary Intelligencer._

-----------------------------------------------------

IN OTHER LANDS
-----------------------------------------------------
Poland, the Knight Among Nations
With Introduction by Helena Modjeska.
Illustrated, Cloth, $1.50 net.
LOUIS E. VAN NORMAN

Poland is worth knowing--it is interesting. How could it be otherwise
when it gave us Copernicus, Kosciusko, Chopin, Paderewski and
Sienkiewicz. Not much has been known about the people because they have
been hard to get at. Mr. Van Norman went to Cracow, won the hearts of the
people, was treated like a guest of the nation and stayed till he knows
his hosts well, and he here conveys an extensive array of information.

-----------------------------------------------------
The Continent of Opportunity: South America
Profusely illustrated, $1.50 net.
FRANCIS E. CLARK

Dr. Clark writes from a thorough-going tour of examination, covering
practically every centre of importance in South American continent,
Panama, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Argentine, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Dr. Clark's prime object has bene to collect information of every sort
that will help to understand the problems facing Civilization in our
sister Continent.

-----------------------------------------------------
China and America To-day
12mo, Cloth, $1.25 net.
ARTHUR H. SMITH

Dr. Smith is one of America's ablest representatives at foreign courts.
He is not so accredited by the government of this country, but rather
chooses to be known as a missionary to China. In this capacity he has
learned much of China which in another relation might be denied him.
Being a statesman by instinct and genius, he has taken a broad survey of
conditions and opportunities and here presents his criticisms of
America's strength and weakness abroad.

-----------------------------------------------------
Ancient Jerusalem
Illustrated. In press.
HON. SELAH MERRILL

This work will immediately be recognised as authoritative and well nigh
final. Dr. Merrill, as the American Consul, has lived at Jerusalem for
many years, and has given thirty-five years of thorough, accurate study
and exploration to this exhaustive effort. It contains more than one
hundred maps, charts, and photographs.

-----------------------------------------------------
Palestine Through the Eyes of a Native
Illustrated, $1.00 net.
GAMAHLIEL WAD-EL-WARD

The author, a native of Palestine, has been heard and appreciated in many
parts of this country in his popular lectures upon the land in which so
large a part of his life was spent. His interpretation of many obscure
scriptural passages by means of native manners and customs and traditions
is particularly helpful and informing.

-----------------------------------------------------

TRAVEL, MISSIONARY
-----------------------------------------------------
H. G. UNDERWOOD
The Call of Korea
New Popular Edition. Paper, net 35c.
Regular Edition, Cloth, net 75c.

"As attractive as a novel--packed with information. Dr. Underwood knows
Korea, its territory, its people, and its needs, and his book has special
value which attaches to expert judgment. Particularly well suited to
serve as a guide to young people in the study of missions."--_Examiner._

-----------------------------------------------------
WILLIAM O. CARVER
Missions in the Plan of the Ages
Bible Studies and Missions. 12mo, cloth, net $1.25.

As Professor of Comparative Religion and Missions in the Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary at Louisville, Dr. Carver has prepared in these
chapters the fruit of many years' study. His aim is to show that the
foundation principles of the Christian task of world conquest are found
in the Bible not so much in the guise of a commanded duty as in the very
life of the Christian faith.

-----------------------------------------------------
ANNIE L. A. BAIRD
Daybreak in Korea
Illustrated, 16mo, cloth, net 60c.

There can be never be too many missionary books like this. A story
written with literary skill, the story of a girl's life in Korea, her
unhappy marriage and how the old, old story transformed her home. It
reads like a novel and most of all teaches one, on every page, just what
the Gospel means to the far eastern homes.

-----------------------------------------------------
ISABELLA RIGGS WILLIAMS
By the Great Wall
Selected Correspondence of Isabella Riggs Williams,
Missionary of the American Board to China, 1866-1897.
With an introduction by Arthur H. Smith.
Illustrated, 12mo, cloth, net $1.50.

"This volume is a little window opened into the life and work of an
exceptionally equipped missionary. It was at Kalgan, the northern gateway
of China, that a mission station was begun amid a people hard and
unimpressible. It was here that Mrs. Williams won the hearts of Chinese
women and girls; here that she showed what a Christian home may be, and
how the children of such a home can be trained for wide and unselfish
usefulness wherever their lot is cast. No object-lesson is more needed in
the Celestial Empire than this. Many glimpses of that patient and
tireless missionary activity which makes itself all things to all men are
given."--_Arthur H. Smith, Author of Chinese Characteristics, Etc._

-----------------------------------------------------
The Kingdom in India
With Introductory Biographical Sketch by Henry N. Cobb, D.D.
Net, $1.50.
JACOB CHAMBERLAIN

"This volume is Mr. Chamberlain's own account of what he did, saw and
felt. As a teacher, a preacher and a medical missionary, Dr. Chamberlain
stood in the front ranks. If, all who are abroad could have the ability,
the training, and the heart interest in the redemption of the endarkened
lands that Mr. Chamberlain's life reveals, and the support of carrying on
the gospel were adequately furnished, the future would be radiant, with
hope."--_Religious Telescope._

-----------------------------------------------------
The History of Protestant Missions in India
Illustrated, 8vo, cloth, net, $2.50.
JULIUS RICHTER

The author of this book is the authority in Germany on missionary
subjects. This, his latest work, has proven so valuable as to demand this
translation into English. India is a vast field and the missionary
operation there are carried on by many societies. This survey of the
field is broad and accurate, it reaches every part of the work and every
society in the field, and gives a splendid summary of what has actually
been accomplished. It has the unqualified approbation of the workers on
the field themselves.

-----------------------------------------------------
Overweights of Joy
A Story of Mission Work in Southern India.
Net, $1.00.
AMY WILSON CARMICHAEL.

Mission-loving men and women, if you would know India, and the glorious
uphill fighting of its missionaries, you _must_ read this book, hot with
actual experiences, and learn the truth.

"A priceless contribution to Missionary literature."--_Illustrated
Missionary News._

-----------------------------------------------------
Bishop Hannington and The Story of the Uganda Mission
Illustrated, net, $1.00.
W. GRINTON BERRY

The personality of Bishop Hannington was full of color and vigors and the
story of his work, particularly of his adventures in East Africa, ending
with his martyrdom on the shores of the Victoria Nyanza, is one of the
most fascinating in missionary annals. Hannington was himself a
picturesque writer, with a noteworthy of gift of producing dashing and
humorous descriptive sketches, and quite a third of the present volume
consists of Hannington's own narratives.

-----------------------------------------------------



THE END



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