The Joy of Working

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I thought that I was a husbandman whom God sent into a dreary world. I toiled breaking up the hard earth and clearing off the ground, but the more £ worked the rougher looked my plot; for where the briers were cut away stones showed through the sand. I was tired, and when I saw God I said to Him that the vines went astray faster than I could straighten them, and that where I planted my grapes wild grapes grew up instead. God said to me that there was strength in the wild grapes, and I said: "Aye, Lord, but look at the stones." God said: "Do not I need the stones?"

But when I saw that God watched me as I worked I said: "The toil is hard, but I shall see the fruit." God turned away, saying: "You shall not see the fruit." I cried after Him: "But there will be fruit, O Lord?" and God said: "Of all your labor there shall be no fruit."

I said, complainingly: "Lord, it were so much better to find wild flowers that might be trained to be more beautiful; but there are always thorns for me to cut." And God said: "If there were no thorns I had here no need o£ such a husbandman as thou."

I went on working, for then I knew that I labored in the garden of the Lord that was to be.—Bolton Hall, in The Outlook.

Source:The Public. I, 2 (April 16, 1898). 12.