Simple KRA'S 


SOME years ago, a pleasant custom prevailed in the girls' school at one of our mission stations in Africa; this was the bringing in of offerings on the first Monday of each month toward the support of their own native minister. These children, who were just learning to love Jesus, were thus beginning to experience that it is blessed to give as well as to receive. They had not got so far, I fear, as to realize that the giving is more blessed than the receiving. It takes real Christians to do that, and these poor girls were just groping their way out of the darkness of heathenism into the beautiful gospel light.

On one particular Monday morning the teacher entered the schoolroom. Rows of smiling dark faces turned toward her, and a chorus of "Nahivio's"(greeting to you) welcomed her to the day's work. A hymn was sung, the morning prayer uttered, and then the lady passed around the room accepting the various offerings for the Saviour's work. Some of the children owned small gardens, and these had brought cassavas and sweet potatoes; several had cocoa-nut-trees, and smilingly pointed to piles of the great nuts on the floor beside them cocoa-nuts still in their great green cases, which American children would hardly recognize, because these outside shells are generally stripped off before the fruit appears in our markets. Here and there a leaf of tobacco was laid upon the increasing hill of gifts, a yard of cloth, or a string of beads. The teacher's platform, upon which the things were piled, began to look like a fruit shop, or an agricultural fair on a small scale. 

Oranges and limes were not wanting, and how happy the teacher felt at seeing these proofs of willing self-denial on the part of her poor African children! When at last she reached the corner where the ABC class had their low seats, the excitement increased, for the little people all wanted to talk at once about what they had brought, and receive the well-deserved praise. There was meantime a steady pull at the teacher's dress.

"In a minute, Kra," said she. Now Kra was a boy, but he was a member of the girl's school because, being only six years old, and blind, he needed more gentle care than he would get among the big strong boys on the other side of the yard.

"Now, Kra, what have you to give the Lord Jesus today?" and the lady took one small brown hand in hers, that the little fellow might "see her," as he said.  Kra hung his head, and spoke low: 

"Kra no have cocoa-nut-tree; no have plantain, nor beads, nor cloth, nor nothing "the confession came very slowly "but Kra bring one pin to put in teacher's shawl."

Here the boy fumbled about his shirt till he found the precious big crooked pin, which he carefully laid in the hand he held. No one laughed. 

Indeed, to those children a pin was something precious; it was a foreign curiosity, and it made a fish-hook.  But the great thing was that, like the two mites of the widow in the gospel, that pin was Kra's all, and he gave it to Christ. None of us, dear children, can do more than that; who will do as much? 

Mrs. Emily Hartley.