The Jewish Girl
This finally was collected, and he was delivered from slavery and disgrace. Sick and suffering, he returned home.
But soon there resounded over the countryside the summons to a crusade against the foe of Christianity. The sick man heard the call and could have neither peace nor rest any longer; they had to lift him on his war horse. Then the blood rushed again to his cheeks, his strength seemed to return, and he rode forth to victory. The very pasha who had made him suffer pain and humiliation yoked to the plow became his captive. He was taken home to the castle dungeon, but before he had been there an hour the knight came to him and asked his prisoner, "What do you think now awaits you?"
"I know," replied the Turk. "Retribution."
"Yes, the retribution of a Christian," said the knight. "The teachings of Christ tell us to forgive our enemies and love our fellow men. God is love! Go in peace to your home and loved ones, and be gentle and good to all who suffer."
Then the prisoner burst into tears. "How could I have believed such a thing possible?" he cried. "I was certain I would have to suffer shame and torture, hence I took poison, and within a few hours I shall die. There is no remedy. But before I die, teach me the faith which is so full of such love and mercy; it is great and divine! In that faith let me die; let me die a Christian!" And his request was granted him.
That was the legend, the story that was read to them. All listened to it with close attention, but it sank deepest into the heart of her who sat in the corner, the servantmaid, Sarah, the Jewess. Large tears stood in her sparkling coal-black eyes while she sat there, as years ago on the school bench, and felt the greatness of the Gospel. The tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Let not my child become a Christian!" Her mother's dying words rang through her soul with those of the law, "Honor thy father and thy mother!"
"Still I have not been baptized! They call me 'the Jewess'; the boys of the neighborhood mocked me last Sunday as I stood outside the church door and looked in at the burning altar lights and the singing congregation.