Short Stories » Abraham


BEFORE the death of Pres. Brigham Young, there lived in Utah an orphan youth named Abraham. His opportunities for education had b.een limited, but he strove to learn all he could by observation, and listened to the conversations of those whom he knew to be wiser than himself. He was industrious and rigidly abstained from the use of tea, coffee, tobacco and spirituous drinks, believing them to be injurious to the system.

It was a rule with him to consider before speaking, and to avoid all contentions, consequently his name was never associated with any quarrel or provocative speech, and, although his acquaintances could never draw him into any mischievous raids or pranks, they always had a good word for him. Before he was nineteen, he had made two trips to California and back with freighters, and one to Nevada. At the latter place he was offered good wages by a dairyman, and accepted the situation. With his first money he obtained from Salt Lake City a set of church-books and one year's subscription to the Deseret News, wishing to inform himself upon his religion and keep up with events as they transpired among our people, so as not to appear as a stranger when he should return. Abraham never read trifling books or papers, his little leisure was too precious. He was the only Mormon on the ranch, and they began teasing him, but he treated them with such quiet dignity that they soon changed their course, and if they asked any questions they were respectful ones, which he answered to the best of his ability. At the end of the first year he sent his money with a letter to Pres. George Q. Cannon, asking him to invest it for him in what he considered the best way. That gracious and kind-hearted gentleman accepted the responsibility and purchased shares in Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution, and sent certificates of the same to his young acquaintance.

For Abraham's second year's labor he received, beside some money, two fine mares with colts, beside them a new wagon and harness. "That means travel," thought he, and told his employer, who, with all his men, now liked the steady youth so well that he offered increase of wages if he would stay. " I'm going home," said Abraham, smiling. Highwaymen were common in that region. The Indians also were troublesome sometimes. When Abraham expressed his intention of going the old, unfrequented road, fears were declared, but he smiled as he bade them good-by. One day he observed Indians following him, and when at night they came to his camp, he treated them kindly, sharing his supper with them, and then preached to them upon the history of their ancestors, as learned from the Book of Mormon. They traveled with him three days and nights. Next day, as he was descending an old dugway, his team was blockaded by a deep snow-drift. With his ax he cleared the way for several rods, then went on without further trouble. Arriving in Salt Lake City in August, 1871, he repaired to the office of Pres. Brigham Young, where he found Pres. George Q. Cannon, and reported himself. That gentleman was so pleased he led him into an inner room and said : " President Young, I would like you to hear this young brother's experience." Abraham answered many questions, all of which proved him to be no idle student of theology or current events. "Well, Brother Abraham, what are you going to do next?" " I have no plans of my own, sir. I was going to ask counsel." " Are you willing to go on a mission?" " Yes, sir." "Would you prefer going to your kindred in New Hampshire or assist in colonizing Arizona?" " Your choice, President Young, will be my preference." Our leader reflected a moment. " What does your property amount to? and what is it?" Abraham made the statement. " Brother Abraham, are you willing to take counsel if I ask you to go on a mission and give your property into the United Order? " " Yes, sir."

" That's the right spirit," said he reflectively. Abraham arose to go. " Where shall I deliver my team. President Young?" "Are you quite sure you are willing, Brother Abraham?"

" Yes, sir," said he, smiling. " I want to be of use in this church, and any way that is acceptable to it is acceptable to me." President Young arose, took the young man by the hand, and said solemnly : " Brother Abraham, take your team where it suits you best; you are the most proper person I know to possess it. I give you a mission to find a good wife and make you a home wherever you wish in this Territory. If you choose to remain here, employment will be given you. I wish we had more men like you, and I say, God bless you ! "

Such was the spirit and counsel of the man whom many judge unjustly; such was ever his fatherly spirit to the faithful.

His counsel was followed, and the hero of my story still lives and holds the confidence and esteem of all good men wherever he goes. When his boys and girls read this, I hope it will give them as much pride and pleasure as it has given me in recording it.

International Short Story Writing Contest for School Children