Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Excerpt #22 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Sir Wilfred Grenfell

Excerpt #22 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.)


It is time to bring this egotistic narrative to an end. "Jack" lies
curled up by my feet while I write this short account. "Brin" is once
again leading and lording it over his fellows. "Doc" and the other
survivors are not forgotten, now that we have again returned to the
less romantic episodes of a mission hospital life. There stands in our
hallway a bronze tablet to the memory of three noble dogs, Moody,
Watch, and Spy, whose lives were given for mine on the ice. In my
home in England my brother has placed a duplicate tablet, and has
added these words, "Not one of them is forgotten before your Father
which is in heaven." And this I most fully believe to be true. The boy
whose life I was intent on saving was brought to the hospital a day or
two later in a boat, the ice having cleared off the coast not to
return for that season. He was operated on successfully, and is even
now on the high road to recovery. We all love life. I was glad to be
back once more with possibly a new lease of it before me. I had
learned on the pan many things, but chiefly that the one cause for
regret, when we look back on a life which we think is closed forever,
will be the fact that we have wasted its opportunities. As I went to
sleep that first night there still rang in my ears the same verse of
the old hymn which had been my companion on the ice, "Thy will, not
mine, O Lord."

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.