Heather and Snow and One who Lives

From one of my favourite books, George MacDonald’s “Heather and Snow,” which is slated for publication by Little Dozen Press in the none-too-distant future. It is the story of Kirsty Barclay and her half-witted brother Steenie, whose chief joy is to wander the Highland mountains at night in search of “the bonny man” and His angels.

Steenie darted forward, shot head-first into the hole as he had seen Kirsty do, and crept undismayed to the bottom of the slope. Kirsty followed close behind, but he was already on his feet when she joined him. He grasped her arm eagerly, his face turned from her, and his eyes gazing fixedly into the depth of the gallery, lighted so vaguely by the candle on the floor of its entrance.

‘I think I saw him!’ he said in a whisper full of awe and delight. ‘I think I did see him!—but, Kirsty, hoo am I to be sure ‘at I saw him?’

‘Maybe ye did and maybe ye didna see him,’ replied Kirsty; ‘but that disna metter sae muckle, for he’s aye seen you; and ye’ll see him, and be sure ‘at ye see him, whan the richt time comes.’

‘Ye div think that, Kirsty?’

‘Ay div I,’ returned Kirsty, confidently.

‘I s’ wait,’ answered Steenie, and in silence followed Kirsty along the gallery.

This was Steenie’s first, and all but his last descent into the earth-house, or Picts’ House, or weem, as a place of the sort is called: there are many such in the east of Scotland, their age and origin objects of merest conjecture. The moment he was out of it, he fled to the Horn.

The next Sunday he heard read at church the story of the burial and resurrection of the Lord, and… associated the chamber they had just discovered with the tomb in which ‘they laid him.’ The earth-house had no longer any attraction for Steenie: the bonny man was not there; he was risen! He was somewhere above the mountain-top haunted by Steenie, and that he sometimes descended upon it Steenie already knew, for had he not seen him there!

Happy Steenie! Happier than so many Christians who, more in their brain-senses, but far less in their heart-senses than he, haunt the sepulchre as if the dead Jesus lay there still, and forget to walk the world with him who dieth no more, the living one!







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