Dear Boys and Girls,
The Soldier (part 1)
I wonder, boys and girls, what comes into your mind when you think of a soldier? Guns, tanks, shooting, excitement, adventure? Well, I'm going to tell you a story about a soldier and mention none of these things. Here is how the story begins:
One day, many years ago, a man by the name of Mr McPhail, was waiting at Fort George for the ferry to take him over to the Black Isle. Just near the water's edge, was a kind of market, where the soldiers from the Fort used to buy their meat. As Mr McPhail waited, he saw a young soldier coming up to a meat stall and heard him asking the price of a quarter of mutton. The butcher named the price. But the soldier with a terrible oath – a swear word – refused to pay such a price. After a good deal of arguing, however, he eventually agreed to the butcher's price and took up the meat and walked away. Mr McPhail heard all this and was very sad to know how that young soldier had put his soul in terrible danger. He quickly went after the boy and started to speak to him.
“A fine day, soldier,” said Mr McPhail.
“A fine day, indeed,” replied the young man.
“What is your name?”
“Luke Heywood, sir.”
“That seems a fine piece of mutton you have there.”
“So it is, and cheap, too.”
“What did you pay for it may I ask?”
(The soldier told him the price).
“Oh my friend,” Mr McPhail replied, “you have given more than that!”
(Luke Heywood looked astonished.)
“No sir, I gave no more; ask the butcher, he will tell you.”
“Pardon me, friend, you have given your immortal soul for it!
You prayed that God might damn your soul if you gave the price you have just named.
And now, what is to become of you?”
With this Mr McPhail got on to the ferry boat, while Luke walked away with his piece of mutton. These words kept ringing in his ears - “You have given your immortal soul for it, and now, what is to become of you?” he remembered the swear words he had used; his heart was heavy and unhappy – he was convicted of his sin.
Well, boys and girls, I wonder what Luke Heywood did about his sin. You think about it, and perhaps you will come to the same conclusion as Luke did.
I will tell you the rest of the story in my next letter.