Four Blind Boys

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
THERE are not many homes or schools for blind children in India, but it is pleasant now and then to read of a few rescued little ones whose lives have been made brighter, happier and more useful to others than they could ever have been had they been left to grow up in the dark and cheerless surroundings of the homes in which they were born.
One of the first sightless little ones to become a regular pupil was a Mohammedan boy who, one morning, groped his way to a tent where a missionary lady-doctor was seeing patients and giving medicines, and feeling his way to the table where she sat, begged her to open his eyes and give him sight. It did not take long for her to feel sure that for him there was no hope of earthly sight, but might he not one day see the face of Jesus? Speaking kindly to the poor, neglected child, she soon drew from him his sorrowful story. His mother was dead; his father had turned him out because he was blind and useless; nobody wanted him; he belonged to nobody. How his new friend longed to claim him for the Lord! He was about five years old, he seemed all skin and bone; the hunger from which he had so often suffered had written its history upon his pale, pinched features. Taking his hand in hers, she told him that if he would go with her she would find him a home where he would have "several mothers.”
With a child's simple trust, he was quite ready to go, and when her morning's work was done, Miss Basu took him to the then newly-opened school for blind children at Amritsar. His looks soon improved under the loving care of "several mothers." In less than five years he was able to read the Bible (in the Braille system) in two languages, English and Hindustani, and write with ease in both languages, and having a good memory could repeat several chapters by heart. Hearing a question put at a Bible-reading, "What was the cause of the famine in the days of Elijah?" before any one else had time to answer, he replied, "I know; prayer was the cause; we are told in James 5:1717Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. (James 5:17) that Elijah prayed, and God shut up the heavens and there was no rain.”
Jacob, as he is now called, is, it is hoped, a truly Christian boy. His great desire is, when he grows up, to be a preacher of the gospel: he is fond of play, but good at lessons as well. Friends in England are writing history for him; and some raised maps lately sent from England have been a great delight to him. The school playground is the flat roof of the house, surrounded by a high railing, and being forty feet above the city street, forms a safe and healthy playground. And the blind boys do enjoy their play hour. It is not uncommon to hear one of them say, "Let's play blind man's bluff! but as I am blind there is no need to bandage my eyes." And their game is a very merry one.
Little Mitthra is a great friend of Jacob's. He was quite a tiny child when he was received into the home. His parents, who at one time professed to be Christians, but have gone back to their old heathen ways, never took the trouble to inquire after him, so he has been the pet of the household, his sweet, gentle disposition making him very dear to his teachers and playmates. He is a bright, clever boy, and can read and write Braille with ease. He has been taught how to make mats and baskets from a kind of rush that is very common in some parts of India. Like Jacob, he seems to love the Savior, and says that when he grows up, he, too, wants to be a preacher. Perhaps some day these boys may be messengers of "glad tidings" to some who, like themselves, will never look upon the bright and beautiful things of earth, but if saved by the precious blood of Christ, they shall one day "SEE HIS FACE.”
Joseph is another blind boy who was brought to the home by a missionary lady who devotes much of her time to village work. One day, as she was visiting in a large village in the Fathgahr district, a number of women and children gathered round her. She showed them Bible pictures, and spoke to them about the Lord Jesus. One little fellow attracted her notice. He was dirty, almost naked, and nearly blind; but he listened with great attention to all that was said, and when a hymn was sung, quickly caught up the tune and joined with all his heart in the singing. He was just a poor beggar child, homeless and friendless. His relations were all dead, and from day to day he begged his food, sleeping where he could. The missionaries began to show him kindness, and a little later he was admitted as a pupil to the blind school, as, though not quite blind, he had not sufficient sight to be taught to read printed books.
It was touching to see his delight when proper food was, for the first time, given to him; he trembled with joy, but only ate a portion of the plate of rice and curry placed before him. When asked why he did not eat more, as he must still be hungry, he said that when food was given to him he always kept part for the following day, as he was never sure of getting more. He also took kindly to school life, and gives his friends reason to hope that he will, if his life is spared, grow up a good and useful man. The fourth boy whose story I want to tell you is called Teddie.
One day a Christian man stood in the hall with a note in his hand and a dirty, ragged boy by his side. The boy was Teddie, and the note was from a missionary friend working at some distance. "Could Teddie be received as a free inmate of the blind school? He was so poor, so neglected, so friendless." The question was far from being an easy one to answer; funds were low, and the boy was too big to be put with the children, and yet not old enough for the men's class and workshop. Rachel, the children's nurse, passed with food on a tray. The hungry boy looked wistfully at it. Her remark was, "He'll cost a good deal for soap to begin with!" A little later she said, "Perhaps the Lord Jesus has sent him." Teddie was not turned away, for who could say "No" to the Lord. He proved a quiet boy, not quick, but willing and obedient. For a time he was looked after by a Christian man and his wife, and after some months placed in the men's workshop to learn a trade. There are many blind children in India; do we ever think of and pray for them?