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A Girl's Song

July 2009

     At the time of the terrible accident years ago at the coal mines near Scranton, Penn., several men were buried for three days, and all efforts to rescue them proved unsuccessful.
     The majority of the miners were Germans. They were in a state of intense excitement. Sympathy for the wives and children of the buried men, and despair at their own fruitless efforts, had rendered them almost frantic.
     A great mob of ignorant men and women assembled at the mouth of the mine on the evening of the third day, in a condition of high nervous tension which fitted them for any mad act. A sullen murmur arose that it was folly to dig farther - that the men were dead. And this was followed by cries of rage at the rich mine owners.
     A hasty word or gesture might have produced an outbreak of fury. Standing near me was a little German girl, perhaps eleven years old. Her pale face and frightened glances from side to side showed that she fully understood the danger of the moment.
     Suddenly, with a great effort, she began to sing in a hoarse whisper which could not be heard. Then she gained courage, and her sweet, childish voice rang out in Luther's grand old hymn, familiar to every German from his cradle, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."
     There was silence like death. Then one voice joined the girl's, and presently another and another, until from the whole great multitude rose the solemn cry: -

"With force of arms we nothing can,
Full soon are we o'erridden.
But for us fights the godly Man,
Whom God Himself hath bidden.
Ask ye His name?
Christ Jesus is His name."

     A great quiet seemed to fall upon their hearts. They resumed their work with fresh zeal, and before morning, the joyful cry came up from the pit that the men were found - alive. Never was a word more in season than that child's hymn.

The Story "A Girl's Song"
is public domain.