Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Excerpt #18 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Sir Wilfred Grenfell

Excerpt #18 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Wilfred Thomasen Grenfell

(N.B. It was in 1908 that Grenfell, a medical missionary in northern Newfoundland was traveling by dog team to treat a patient, became stranded on an ice pan and came close to perishing. The following excerpt is from Grenfell's account of this adventure.)


As the man in the bow leaped from the boat on to my ice raft and
grasped both my hands in his, not a word was uttered. I could see in
his face the strong emotions he was trying hard to force back, though
in spite of himself tears trickled down his cheeks. It was the same
with each of the others of my rescuers, nor was there any reason to be
ashamed of them. These were not the emblems of weak sentimentality,
but the evidences of the realization of the deepest and noblest
emotion of which the human heart is capable, the vision that God has
use for us his creatures, the sense of that supreme joy of the
Christ,--the joy of unselfish service. After the hand-shake and
swallowing a cup of warm tea that had been thoughtfully packed in a
bottle, we hoisted in my remaining dogs and started for home. To drive
the boat home there were not only five Newfoundland fishermen at the
oars, but five men with Newfoundland muscles in their backs, and five
as brave hearts as ever beat in the bodies of human beings.

To be continued.


The above excerpt is from Adrift on an Ice-Pan by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell. A true account of Grenfell's near death experience, the story was first published in 1909 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

The unabridged audio edition, narrated by Chris Brookes, Jay Roberts and Janis Spence, is available from Rattling Books.