Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
By Henry Morton
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
Rev. Arthur Smith and his young
wife stopped simultaneously, horri
fied in the market place of Travan
core. A crowd of Hindus had gath
ered about a man who lay, with a
placid look upon his face, on a bed
of sharp-pointed nails.
After stretching himself out as if
he were on a comfortable mattress,
the fakir rose up, smiling, and held
out his copper bowl for alms. The
pice of the populace clattered against
When the bowl was thrust out to
the missionary he turned away with
a frown and drew his wife's arm
"Sometimes, Mary, I doubt wheth
er these people can be civilized," he
said. "What a disgusting exhibition!
And they call that a holy man."
Mr. Smith was only a year out from
the theological college in Iowa. He
had felt a call to act as missionary
among the heathen. He was a young
man of ardent mind and intensely in
earnest, but a little narrow, a little
incapable of entering into the life of
the Indian. Nevertheless he had ac
complished a great deal of good in
Travancore and of the people whom
he was inclined to think unamena
ble there were many who spoke with
good will of him.
It was three days later when he
was surprised to see the fakir con
fronting him in his study. How the
man had gotten in he did not know,
for his native servant had not ad
"No," said the missionary sternly.
"You not give pice to poor fakir?"
asked the man, smiling.
"I am here to heal men's souls, not
to encourage such barbarous exhi
bitions Do you suppose you can do
any good to yourself or others by
those self-inflicted tortures?"
The fakir looked at him gravely.
"There are things you know nothing
of, young man," he answered. "The
time may come when you will be
glad of me."
"I shall always be glad of you, as
you call it, if I can get you to come
to our meetings and give up your
savage ways," said the missionary,
with feeling. "Don't you feel any
thing higher? Do you suppose lying
w v IffirH I
Smith Looked Up With a Start.
on a bed of nails leads to a better
"Yet your own prophet has taught
that the body must be crucified," re
sponded the fakir in excellent Eng
lish. Mr. Smith stared at him. "Then,
if you know that much you know
enough to reason," he said. "Come
to our meeting next Thursday week
and we'll have a talk together."
"I shall come to you next Thurs
day evening and we will have a talk
together," the fakir responded. "Sa
laam!" Mr. Smith, rubbed his eyes. The