|photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com|
One of the older children stooped down and spoke to all the little ones. "A police officer thinks we didn't cross the Yellow River."
"But, we did!"
I took their empty bowls and gave them to the cook. "I know, children. We need to tell the judge about the soldier who helped us cross the river."
One of my five-year-old boys ran to me and hugged my legs. "I want to lead. I'll tell the judge about our boat rides." Soon all the other children joined him.
"If you're ready, let's go." The children flocked out the door ahead of me and marched--not ran--marched like little soldiers to the Mandarin's office.
Police officers stood outside the door. "Your children can not go in this building."
I nodded. "All right, children. Stay here while I speak with the Mandarin."
They groaned and pouted. "We want to help." "Let us talk to the Mandarin." "Please let us go inside."
The police officer led me into the Mandarin's chambers. "Yes, Officer, what is her offense?"
The inspector bowed to the Mandarin. "Oh great Mandarin. This woman says she crossed the Yellow River. I say she did not."
I bowed t the Mandarin. "I crossed the river. How else could I have helped 100 children to get here from Yang Cheng?"
The inspector picked up a scroll and handed it to me. "Read this."
The document stated by order of the National Army no one could cross the Yellow River. The date showed five days before. "Oh, I see. Now I know why we couldn't find a boat back at the river. Well, I'm telling you we crossed the Yellow River. An officer called for a boat which took us across."
The inspector squinted and grabbed the scroll from my hands. "You see, Great Mandarin! She's guilty by her own words."
I pressed my hands on my hips. "The Japanese were coming! I had to get the children to safety!"
The children shouted through the windows, "Let her go." " Let Ai-weh-dah go." They repeated these words over and over.
The Mandarin nodded, which meant no one else could speak. "Inspector, I'd don't think this is a big crime. She wanted to help her children, and she did."
He turned to me. "If you can quiet your children I can tell you about my idea."
I bowed then ran outside. "Shhhhh children. Everything is fine. I need a few more minutes. Please wait over by that tree."
I hurried back to my place before the Mandarin and bowed. He lowered then raised his head. "Every morning, a train leaves our village and travels to Siam."
"Thank you , Mandarin. But, we have no tickets."
He smiled. "All seats on the train are for refugees. The trip is free."
My eyes must have grown three times wide. "Free?"
"Yes. tomorrow morning take your children to the train station. You may go."
I bowed. "Thank you, great Mandarin." I walked backward to the door as was the custom. Before reaching the door, I peeked at the Inspector. His mouth had fallen open and his eyes popped wide.
Once outside the building I gathered the children. "Guess what children. We're free! The Mandarin said we could go."
"Yeah! We love you Ai-weh-deh."
"I love all of you, too. Let's go. We have a big day tomorrow."
The children had never seen or heard a train before. I wonder how they will react.
Come next week to find out.
Picture compliment of Bible Visual Images