|photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com|
Behind me the prison doors chinked locked. In front of me, a long, narrow hall with no windows. In the distance men ran past the arch to the prison court. Sounds enchoed in the hall like a powerful thunderstorm. I had not choice but to step toward the court.
Several men lay dead throughout the patchy grass. Prisoners fought off to the sides. One had an axe. He eyed the crowd of men then chose one to chase. He held up his axe and screamed like a mad man ready to kill. The runner steered himself toward the hall. As he neared me, he quickly sidestepped.
The man with the axe saw me at the last second and stopped. Boy, was I thankful. He breathed like a bull chasing a matador then lowered his axe. I closed my eyes and told my heart to slow down.
The prisoner stood, staring at me. I had to say something before he decided to use the axe on me. "Put down the axe." He looked down as if he didn't realize he had anything in his hands then he handed me the axe. "Good."
I called out to the other prisoners. "Come here at once. Make a line. All of you. Now." I'm sure I sounded like a mean mother. I didn't care. I needed to leave the prison court alive.
The men showed signs of hunger, their cheeks sank into the bone, their arms and legs were like sticks making their bellies stand out. They looked at the ground and waited for me to speak. "This place is a mess. Go to the corner over there to appoint a spokesman then clean up this court."
A few moments later one prisoner walked toward me. "My name is Feng."
He smiled when I bowed politely. "What do the prisoners do all day?"
"We do nothing. We have no work or duties. Many prisoners are hungry. If family or friends don't bring food, we don't eat. It's difficult to watch when one eats while others starve. The warden gives the axe for one hour each day to chop food."
His eyes cried a deep sadness. "Tell the men I will speak to the governor about finding work. If they stop rioting, the governor said he would not punish the men."
Feng eyes softened. He bowed. "Thank you, Ai-we-deh"
At that moment, I realized the governor and his soldiers stood behind me. He bowed. "You have done well."
"Governor, these men need work. They can't be expected to do nothing. Let them work. They could grow a garden, make clothing, or do other projects to earn money for food."
He looked at the prisoners. "The committee will discuss your suggestion."
I looked back at Feng. "I will come back to visit all of you and help in any way I can."
He bowed. "Thank you, Ai-we-deh."
I went home and asked the helper from the mission what "Ai-we-deh " meant. He said, "It mean virtuous one."
My heart laughed with happiness.
Come back next week to read about Ninepence.
The photo above is a Chinese tapestry. Since photo's of Glady's life are difficult to find, I thought you would like to see other images from China. Mary Vee
Photo courtesy from Bible Visual Images