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- The Pilgrim's Progess in Words of One Syllable - 1/16 -
The Pilgrim's Progress In Words of One Syllable by Mary Godolphin
In offering to the public another volume on my plan of reducing popular tales into words of One Syllable exclusively, I wish it to be clearly understood that it is intended for Adult Beginners, no less than for Children. There is a large class of persons who do not begin to acquire the art of reading till somewhat late in life, and it is for such that I think a book of this Character is peculiarly applicable.
It may be objected that my system involves the use of words which, though short, are difficult to understand and might be made more intelligible in polysyllabic language. But I have endeavored as far as possible to avoid hard and technical expressions, and I cannot but think that the mere fact of the brevity of the words must be a great attraction to beginners of all ages. By this method the labor of dividing and accentuating words is avoided: a difficulty which pupils who have only attained to the knowledge of monosyllables cannot conquer by independent effort.
I take this opportunity of acknowledging the great favor with which my previous books of the same character have been received, and I am glad to hear that they have been found useful as Prizes in Schools.
I have thought it necessary to retain all the names of Persons and Places in their original form, but this is the only exception to my general rule.
As I went through the wild waste of this world, I came to a place where there was a den, and I lay down in it to sleep. While I slept I had a dream, and lo! I saw a man whose clothes were in rags and he stood with his face from his own house, with a book in his hand, and a great load on his back. I saw him read from the leaves of a book, and as he read, he wept and shook with fear; and at length he broke out with a loud cry, and said, What shall I do to save my soul?
So in this plight he went home, and as long as he could he held his peace, that his wife and babes should not see his grief. But at length he told them his mind, and thus he spoke, O my dear wife, and you my babes, I, your dear friend, am full of woe, for a load lies hard on me; and more than this, I have been told that our town will be burnt with fire, in which I, you my wife, and you my sweet babes, shall be lost, if means be not found to save us.
This sad tale struck all who heard him with awe, not that they thought what he said to them was true, but that they had fears that some weight must be on his mind; so, as night now drew near, they were in hopes that sleep might soothe his brain, and with all haste they got him to bed.
When the morn broke, they sought to know how he did? He told them, Worse and worse; and he set to talk once more in the same strain as he had done; but they took no heed of it. By and by, to drive off his fit, they spoke harsh words to him; at times they would laugh, at times they would chide, and then set him at nought. So he went to his room to pray for them, as well as to nurse his own grief. He would go, too, into the woods to read and muse, and thus for some weeks he spent his time.
Now I saw, in my dream, that one day as he took his walk in the fields with his book in his hand, he gave a groan,--for he felt as if a cloud were on his soul,--and he burst out as he was wont to do, and said, Who will save me? I saw, too, that he gave wild looks this way and that, as if he would rush off; yet he stood still, for he could not tell which way to go. At last, a man, whose name was Evangelist, came up to him and said, Why dost thou weep?
He said, Sir, I see by this book in my hand that I am to die, and that then God will judge me. Now I dread to die.
Evangelist.--Why do you fear to die, since this life is fraught with woe?
The man said, I fear lest a hard doom should wait me, and that this load on my back will make me sink down, till at last, I shall find I am in Tophet.
If this be your case, said Evangelist, why do you stand still?
But the man said, I know not where to go.
Then he gave him a scroll with these words on it, Fly from the wrath to come.
When the man read it he said, Which way must I fly?
Evangelist held out his hand to point to a gate in the wide field, and said, Do you see the Wicket Gate?
The man said, No.
Do you see that light?
He then said, I think I do.
Keep that light in your eye, quoth Evangelist, and go straight up to it; so shall you see the gate, at which, when you knock, it shall be told you what you are to do.
Then I saw in my dream that Christian--for that was his name--set off to run.
Now he had not gone far from his own door, when his wife and young ones, who saw him, gave a loud wail to beg of him to come back; but the man put his hands to his ears, and ran on with a cry of Life! Life! The friends of his wife, too, came out to see him run, and as he went, some were heard to mock him, some to use threats, and there were two who set off to fetch him back by force, the names of whom were Obstinate and Pliable. Now, by this time, the man had gone a good way off, but at last they came up to him.
Then said Christian, Friends, why are you come?
To bid you go back with us, said they.
But, quoth he, that can by no means be; you dwell in the City of Destruction, the place where I, too, was born. I know it to be so, and there you will die and sink down to a place which burns with fire; be wise, good friends, and come with me.
What! and leave our good, and all out kith and kin?
Yes, said Christian, for that all which you might leave is but a grain to that which I seek, and if you will go with me and hold it firm, you shall fare as well as I; for there, where I go, you will find all you want and to spare. Come with me, and prove my words.
Obstinate.--What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?
Christian.--I seek those joys that fade not, which are laid up in a place of bliss--safe there for those who go in search of them. Read it so, if you will, in my book.
Obstinate.--Tush! Off with your book. Will you go back with us or no?
Christian.--No, not I, for I have laid my hand to the plough.
Obstinate.--Come, friend Pliable, let us turn back and leave him; there is a troop of such fools who, when they take up with a whim by the end, are more wise in their own eyes than ten men who know how to think.
Pliable.--Nay, do not scorn him; if what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks to are of more worth than ours: my heart leans to what he says.
Obstinate.--What! more fools still! Go back, go back, and be wise.
Christian.--Nay, but do you come with your friend Pliable; there are such things to be had as those I just spoke of, and more too. If you give no heed to me, read here in this book which comes to us from God, who could not lie.
Pliable.--Well, friend Obstinate, I think now I have come to a point; and I mean to go with this good man, and to cast my lot in with his. Then said he to Christian, Do you know the way to the place you speak of?
Christian.--I am told by a man whose name is Evangelist, to do my best to reach a gate that is in front of us, where I shall be told how to find the way.
So they went on side by side.
Obstinate.--And I will go back to my place; I will not be one of such vain folk.
Now I saw in my dream, that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable set off to cross the plain, and they spoke thus as they went:--
Christian.--Well, Pliable, how do you do now? I am glad you have a mind to go with me.
Pliable.--Come, friend Christian, since there are none but we two here, tell me more of the things of which we go in search.
Christian.--I can find them in my heart, though I know not how to speak of them with my tongue; but yet, since you wish to know, this book tells us of a world that hast no bounds, and a life that has no end.
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