“Oh! good man, the mountain view was so grand, I fain would have lingered to gaze; but, longing to lay the blossom in thy hand, I hastened back.”
“Thou shalt behold all the grandeur thy toil has earned thee. Unto those who climb to the mountain summit, who mind not the sharp rocks and loose, rough grass beneath their tread,—unto such shall all the views be given; for they shall some day be lifted in vision, without aid of feet, to grander heights than their weary limbs have reached.”
The old man lay back and died.
They buried him, with the flower on his breast, one day just as the sun was setting. Ere the winter snows fell, many of the laborers, both men and women, went up the mountain to its very top, and brought back the white blossoms to deck his grave.
* * * * *
The summit only has the view, and the white flower of purity grows upon it. Shall we ascend and gather it? or, like the youth, climb but half the distance, and cheat our eyes and souls of the view from the height?
One sultry summer day a youthful pilgrim sat by the roadside, weary and dispirited, saying, “I cannot see why I was ordered to tarry beside this hard, unsightly rock, after journeying as many days as I have. Something better should have been given me to rest upon after walking so far. If it were only beside some shady tree, I could wait the appearance of the guide. My lot is hard indeed. I do not see any pilgrim here. Others are probably resting beneath green trees and by running brooks. I will look at my directions once more;” and she drew the paper from her girdle and read slowly these words: “Tarry at the rock, and do not go on till the guide appears to conduct you to your journey’s end.” She folded and replaced the paper with a sigh, while the murmur still went on: “It’s very hard, when beyond I see beautiful green trees, whose long branches would shelter me from the burning sun. How thirsty I am, too! My bread is no longer sweet, for want of water. Oh, that I could search for a spring! I am sure I could find one if permitted to go on my journey. If the rock was not so hard I could pillow my head upon it. Ah me! I have been so often told that the guide had great wisdom, and knew what was good and best for us pilgrims; but this surely looks very dark.”
Here weariness overcame the pilgrim, and involuntarily she laid her head upon the rock; when, lo! a sudden spring was touched, and the waters leaped, pure and sparkling, from the hard, unsightly spot. This was the guide’s provision for his pilgrim. It was no longer mystical why he had ordered her to tarry there.
When she had drank, and the parched throat was cool and the whole being refreshed, the guide appeared rounding a gentle curve of the road, and bade her follow him through a dense forest which lay between the rock and the journey’s end. The steps of the pilgrim now were more firm, for trust was begotten within her, and the light of hope gleamed on her brow—as it will at last upon us all, when the waters have gushed from the bare rocks which lie in the pathways of our lives.