Short Stories » Lost in the Canyon
Lost in the Canyon
Two little girls, neatly dressed as they should be for a pleasant walk, and pretty lunch-baskets filled with the nicest of things, started out for a walk up the canyon. There was a good road for a long distance, then it branched off right and left, the trees grew taller, the bushes thicker and more tangled, and they felt as if they were away off in a little world of their own. How nice it was ! Birds came close overhead, and they saw several live chipmunks. After gathering a great many flowers and eating lunch, and having had enough walking for awhile, they began telling certain fairy stories in which the parties all lived out in the woods; they also discussed " Robin- son Crusoe" and the "Swiss Family Robinson," finally agreeing that an outdoor life was the best and nicest, and that gypsies had a fine time traveling and seeing the sights of the world no house-work, no crowding of neighbors, all free and easy.
The day wore along until afternoon, when the" canyon began to grow dark very fast. All at once a thought struck Addie "bears ! " Gracie immediately remembered and related to her shuddering companion a horrible encounter that took place in "some canyon, may be this one," between a bear and a man. It was also remembered that some bears can travel as fast as a horse can run. In the remembered event nothing was left by the rapacious animal to identify the missing man excepting a tin dinner pail, which must have been overlooked by the bear, and which was recognized by relatives, by a place that had been soldered, also another place with a blue and white gingham string drawn through a hole. " For truth?" asked Addie. "That's just the way I remember hearing it told," replied Gracie, evasively. " Do you think we'd better start home ? " asked Addie indifferently (that is, as indifferently as she could speak under the circumstances). " I guess it's early yet, but if you wish we might walk slowly down a little way," said Gracie. With a show of some reluctance, Addie gathered her treasures together, and they started at a sauntering gait, which somehow was gradually accelerated without the apparent notice of either, at least it was not objected to as tiring.
These children had gone farther up the canyon than they had realized; the many charms had beguiled them along, their light and healthy forms feeling no fatigue for a long while. Suddenly, a low rumble was heard that increased and seemed to be rapidly coming in their direction.
"Oh, dear! Gracie, did you ever hear that canyons are awful places for storms?" " Yes, Addie, and for swollen streams, and cloud-bursts," replied Gracie. "It's raining! Are there any caves?" "Only way up on the side, down yonder." " Let's take hold of hands and run! " " We'd have to drop our flowers." " I don't care. Hurry ! "
Away they went, the wind driving the rain right in their faces; the pretty hats with daisy wreaths were dripping ; the pretty light print dresses hung straight down, and their shoes were sopping wet.
" Do you think our folks will come after us when they know it's storming up here ? "
Addie began to cry, and Gracie, instead of being able to console her, exclaimed : " We've come a long ways now and I believe we're lost ! " Looking around and not being able to see very far through the rain, Addie replied : " I believe so too. What shall we do ? "
Now these were both very good children and had been rightly raised, but in their hurry and flight had forgotten what that morning they would not have thought they could forget, and that was to remember how the heavenly Father is watching over us all and is able and willing to protect us. But, standing there in dismay, it came to them.
" Let's pray that we may get home! " " Oh, yes ! "
Then they knelt down in the mud, with the wind and rain roaring around them and the creek foaming and raging below, and asked God to please show them the way home, never doubting that He would hear them through all the storm.
As they rose from their knees, Addie said: " Now let's turn round and round, and when we stop, start right off in that direction." Just as they had begun to turn " round and round," a sound as of some large animal running towards them came nearer and nearer. They stopped, hand in hand, and waited its coming. How big it looked through the rain!
"Hallo! Who's here? How's this?" Explanations followed, and the man, who had started out to hunt a stray horse, changed his mind. He drew them up, one behind and the other before him, and \vent down the road as fast as he could. At one of the first houses (it was his own) he called and someone came out. "Take these children in and put dry things on them." It seems that fortunately he had little girls about the same age, and they were soon redressed and supplied with suitable refreshment to counteract the effects of the wetting. The storm cleared away before long, and while two anxious mothers were watching at their gates, they saw two little girls (but not dressed like theirs), with each a bundle, approaching.
Their story was soon told, and, oh, how thankful were those mothers to the solitary horseman who had brought their Sear-ones through three miles of storm and fear, and how proud too, and grateful that their children remembered to pray! " It was in answer to our prayers that the man came to our relief," said Addie. "And how quick He answered us ! " added Gracie. " Children, God always goes part way to his creatures. He knew your peril and sent his messenger. Remember always in your troubles, God is on the way to help you, and you have only to let your heart go out to receive him and he is there;" and this lesson was ended with four kisses.
You may think this story to be imaginary, but Gracie and Addie are now young ladies, and still live in Salt Lake City. Their own happy mothers told it all to me.