The Jewish Girl
Among the other children in the charity school was a little Jewish girl, clever and good-in fact, the brightest of them all. But there was one class she could not attend, the one where religion was taught, for she was in a Christian school.
During the hour of this class, she had her geography book before her to study, or did her arithmetic, but the lessons were quickly learned, and then, though the book might still be open before her, she did not read from it; she listened. And the teacher soon noticed that she listened more intently than any of the rest.
"Study your book," said the teacher, gently yet earnestly. But she looked back at him with her black, eager eyes, and when he put his questions to her as well as the rest he found she knew more than all the others. She had listened, understood, and kept his words.
Her father was a poor but honest man, and when he first brought her to the school he had given instructions that she should not be taught the Christian faith. But to send her from the room during the Scripture lesson might have given offense and raised various thoughts in the minds of the other children in the class, and so she remained. But this could not go on any longer.
So the teacher went to her father and explained that he must either take his daughter away from the school or consent to her becoming a Christian.
"I cannot bear to see those burning eyes, that sincere yearning thirst of the soul, so to speak, after the words of the Gospel," he said.
Then her father burst into tears. "I know very little myself of our own faith," he replied, "but her mother was a daughter of Israel, strong and steadfast in her faith, and on her deathbed I promised her that our child should never receive Christian baptism. That promise I must keep, for to me it is like a pact with God."
So the little Jewish girl was taken away from the Christian school.
Years had passed.
In a humble household, in one of the smallest provincial towns of Jutland there was a maidservant, a poor girl of the Jewish faith; this was Sarah.