The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 118 - 122

threw insults and expounded all kinds of pretty (?) names, then the servant would also have become rude. The farmer went into the kitchen at the moment when the maid dropped a dish. Now that will cause a problem, she thought. She came from a good family and when things didn't go her way she was ready for a fight with her hands on her hips. In the worst case she would bellow. "No," Michel said, "you feel bad about the pretty dish." Her hands fell. The maid bent down to get the pieces and said, "It costs money."

At night the neighbor Schmied came and asked the farmer's wife, "Where has your husband been all day?" She answered "Where should he be? He's been home." Neighbor Schmied said, "I didn't hear him throwing insults." She spoke. "He told me that he made an agreement with the savior that he wouldn't be angry anymore." "Lady Neighbor," Schmied said, "that is too bad. This is what follows from the many prayers and bible readings which have been put in his head."

When the farmer hadn't insulted anyone by Wednesday the village became quite unsettled. The bailiff brought over two bad boys to provoke Michel.

But Michel would not be brought out of his quietude. "Michel," said the bailiff, "I wouldn't have put up with that." Michel smiled and replied, "Too bad you weren't here last Saturday. Then I could have taken care of you but today I can't anymore."

It was now as though the whole village had sworn an oath against Michel. His windows were broken, the tails were cut off his pigs and similarly unholy events took place. Michel remained calm. On Saturday Schmied came. "Michel, I have known you since you were a little boy. We sat on the same bench at school. I know you have bad blood. Michel, be rude again. Talk as much as you want about your conversion and start insulting people again. I can't stand it anymore! But if you are right, then I must also be different." Then they began to read the bible to one another, to discuss what had been read and then they prayed together and as they got to the Amen a third voice said Amen too. This was the voice of his wife, who was standing at the open door. "Husband," she said, "how you have tormented me these many years; I have had hell on earth, but in the past week we have lived as if in paradise."

Now Michel gained the trust of his wife and that of his neighbor Schmied, and in a short time he gained the trust of the entire village so that a number converted to God.

Lesson: We should see to it that above all else we are right, then others will also be right.


47. An non-believing Banker is suddenly converted to God and later becomes a Preacher


There was a time in our beloved America that there was no train, no steamship and no regularly running postal wagon. What one called the West back them was unpenetrated primal forest, where one found no trace of civilization's ax and saw. The paths through these forests were in pitiful condition. It was at this time that an eastern banker was in business with a western bank. At this time is was customary to travel on a horse with a saddlebag. In the saddlebag money was hidden.

The above mentioned banker had to bring $20,000 out west. It was a dangerous and difficult journey but what wouldn't one risk to capture the almighty dollar. Everything was going just fine until he got to the forest path one afternoon. His plan was to go through the forest before it became too dark and then seek shelter in a certain house. When he was a few miles into the forest he noticed a crossroads. Which way should I take now? was the question. If a German guide had been standing there, he would have pointed him in the right direction. Thus he had to do as the frog sings: Chose, chose. And he chose. The good horse trotted lightly forward. He had put many miles behind him when it became pitch dark and he could travel no more. Now he developed cannon fever and thought of bands of robbers, who might live in this forest. He could not turn to the Lord in his distress. He was an educated non-believer and if an angel had come to him at that instant and said, "Man of the East, you are not far from the Kingdon of God," without a doubt the man would have said, "I do not believe in your message." Thus he rode

farther in fear for it was clear to him that he was on the wrong path.

Finally he believed he spotted a small light in the forest. And so it was. In a few minutes he knocked on the door of a simple hut and asked quite humbly whether he could stay there overnight. "My husband is not at home," answered the woman, "but he'll be here soon." Then she added he could sit for a while. He did this with his saddle containing the $20,000 — he placed it next to his chair.

When he looked around the room he had all kinds of thoughts. Perhaps you're in the robber band's headquarters, he thought and his fear increased with each moment awaiting what was to come. He felt for his two pistols, seeing that they were in working order. He was determined he would risk his life so as not to give up his $20,000 without a fight. There was a knock at the door. A wild-looking hunter entered. His coat was made of wolf pelts and his vest was made of deerskin. "The man there," the woman said, "would like to stay overnight. He lost his way in the dark woods!" "It's alright with me," he answered very brusquely

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Text provided by Lockwood Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, BX8080.B65

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks