THIS story is true. It tells the eternally new
tale of the matchless charm of our Lord Jesus
Christ. One look at that loveliness, and, though
the one who looked did not even remember His
name, she was His for ever.
The story came to us at a time of disappoint-
ment and temptation to downheartedness. And
mightily it cheered us. It spoke in a clear, glad
voice, and it said : " Fear not at all. Where your
hands cannot reach and your love cannot help,
His hands can reach and His love can help. So
why are you afraid?"
And it said that miles of space and solid walls
and locked doors are nothing to Love. Nothing
And it said-and we set it down with a great
hope that it may cheer some other, for it said it
very earnestly : " The seed is not your poor little
word. The seed is the Word of God."
| 2005/5/12 22:00||Profile|
| Re: Mimosa|
ONE day, about a year ago, two of us went to
Mimosa's village, and I stayed with her. I saw
then, for the first time, the room mentioned in
Chapter IX. It is narrow and low and airless,
and when the small, heavy door is shut it is quite
dark. It is the only place where Mimosa can be
Is her story true ? Although the foreword said
it was, some have wondered if it could be so.
When first I went into that room I stood aston-
ished. In the dark corners I could see the dim
shapes of huddled-up sacks and a pot or two. It
was unbelievably stuffy. I could hardly breathe.
Almost my heart questioned then the things that
I had heard. Can it be here, 0 Lord of life and
light and liberty, that Thou didst meet her so
often? Can such dinginess be indeed the place
of Thy Presence ?
She was out busy cooking in the verandah that
ran round the little courtyard at the time. She
thought I would like the door shut. "And when
thou hast shut thy door " has always been one of
her words, so she softly shut the door. Then not
a breath of air came in and not a ray of light. In
that hot darkness I stood, and thought of the
angels ascending and descending-not on some
ladder set up under the stars, but here, in this
strip of room. ..." Take off thy shoes from off
thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is
And a new insight, like the sudden flash that
sometimes lights the evening sky in these tropical
lands and shows kingdoms beyond the clouds,
was granted in that moment. I knew, not by faith
now, but as it were by sight, that our Lord Jesus
Christ can do anything, keep anyone, shine any-
where, succour in spite of all the forces of the
enemy, comfort in any circumstances. Verily,
circumstances are nothing to Him. He is King
of them all. The material is powerless to cramp
or to subdue. It is naught. The Spiritual con-
quers every time.
Many ask about her husband and children.
Her husband is still what he was, and she still
hopes; her boys are with us. A little daughter
has been given to her. Lately, because of her
:ourageous witness, her house roof was burned
down. She wrote on a post-card, covered with
crowded Tamil, a vivid account of the fire, ending
thus : " But through bitterness comes sweetness."
| 2005/5/13 18:26||Profile|
As this book, written over thirty years ago, goes
out once more it seems necessary to add to the
author's own forewords and bring the story up
to date, incorporating in this note details of
what she herself wrote when the sixth reprint
Mimosa had the joy of seeing her husband
turn to the Lord, and later receive baptism.
She continued to live in her village with him but
frequently visited us in Dohnavur. On one
occasion she arrived just at the time when
Golden, a leprosy patient, was longing to see her.
A Tamil version of Mimosa's life had been read
to Golden, and she was eager to see with her own
eyes the one who had held fast to her faith in
Christ for over twenty years, without human
help. Her face shone when Mimosa was brought
to her bedside, realizing that it was God Himself
who had made this meeting possible.
The translation of the book into various
languages, however, though it brought blessing
to many, was followed by sharp spiritual attack
upon Mimosa herself, attack which lasted for
over a year before she came through to peace
In 1938 she became seriously ill, and was
brought to our Hospital, where she rested in
peace until the trumpets sounded for her and
she went in to see the King.
Four of her sons are with us now, trusted and
loved fellow-workers. Her daughter, who is
married, is living elsewhere and so is her
youngest son, born after the book was written.
Her husband is spending his old age here in
Dohnavur. The eldest of their grandchildren
(Kinglet's son) has begun to take his share in the
work among the boys.
Star was called Home in May, 1939, only six
months after her sister. The story of her early
years has been written in the book, Ploughed
Under. God called her to serve Him in Dohna-
vur, chiefly among the young boys, but her love
reached out to all, so that her life is a radiant
memory to those who knew her. Though
sheltered from the physical hardship and care
that were Mimosa's lot, Star in her warfare for
souls knew the wounds and piercing sorrows
that such work brings.
For both sisters as they entered into Life the
words of Pilgrim's Progress were true: " You
must there receive the comfort of all your toil,
and have joy for all your sorrow; you must reap
what you have sown, even the fruit of all your
prayers and tears and sufferings for the King
by the way."
B. C. 0.
| 2005/5/14 21:49||Profile|
SHE was standing out in the sunshine when I
first saw her, a radiant thing in a crimson and
orange sari, and many bright bangles. She
looked like a bird from the woods in her colours
and her jewels, but her eyes were large and soft
and gentle, more like a fawn's than a bird's.
We welcomed her and her tall father, who
stood beside her; but there was always an in-
ward misgiving in our welcome to that father,
for his little daughter, Star, was with us, and
though he had consented to her staying with us,
he might at any time retrieve her.
How present the past may be: it is as if he
stood before me now, that upright, valiant Hindu,
with his clear-cut face and piercing eyes, every
line of him expressing a fixed determination.
I see the lyer (Walker of Tinnevelly) meeting
him with a friendly gesture of welcome (to shake
hands would have been pollution). I see the two
men, so apart yet so alike in certain traits of
character, walking through the living-room to the
side room used as a study.
Then after a little would come a call, and we
would go together to the other room, and with
what eagerness search the two men's faces as we
entered. And then would flame past a burning
half-hour, and at last-time after time this hap-
pened-the father would rise, and towering above
his daughter stretch out his hand to take her,
and down would fall his arm.
"What is it? What power is it? It is as if
a paralysis were upon me," he said once.
And we told him : " The Lord God of heaven
and earth has marked this child for His. It is His
will that she should learn of Him." And he
bowed to the word and allowed her to stay a little
But nothing could prevail upon him to leave
the younger one. We were keeping caste as
regarded Star, every scrupulous observance was
being kept; for we had not the right to allow
her to break the law of her family. We would
have done the same for Mimosa. But no, she
might not stay.
The child, who in that one afternoon had
heard what drew her very soul in passionate
longing to hear more, pleaded earnestly:
" Oh, father, just for a little while that I may
understand a little, only a very little, and I will
"Wouldst thou shame me, 0 foolish one?
Is not one shame enough?"
Again she pleaded, all her shyness of her stern
father and all fear of offence melted in the strong
fires of desire.
"Oh, father, father!"
But he turned on her indignant: "Look at thy
sister. Is not one shame enough, I say?" and
he withered her with his wrath.
There was silence for a moment. Then
Mimosa burst into tears.
The farewells were soon said. As they were
going away the child turned, and I saw the little
figure in its bird-breast raiment against the dark
green shadows of the mango-trees. Dashing the
tears from her eyes, she tried to smile to us; and
my last memory of her, and it has lived all these
twenty-two years, is of big, beautiful brown eyes
trying to smile through tears.
And we? We went back to the duty of the
day and tried not to be downcast; but the child
had been more than usually intelligent; and she
had listened with such a sweet and charmed
attention to the little we had time to tell her that
we could all but hear the Lover of children say:
"Suffer her to come unto Me." Would they
suffer her to come? If only we might have
taught her more of Him! How could she pos-
sibly remember what we had told her? It was
impossible to expect her to remember.
Impossible? Is there such a word where the
things of the Lord are concerned?
| 2005/5/16 19:36||Profile|
Edmonton Alberta Cda.
This heartwarming testimony of Gods love and faithfulness, in the most unusual circumstances, is wonderfull. The simple sincere way that Amy
Carmichael was able to tell the story is timeless.
(Hope I spelled the name right)
| 2005/5/16 21:03||Profile|
| 2005/5/17 21:52||Profile|
"SOMETHING has happened to the child. What
is the matter with her ?"
The speaker, Mimosa's mother, was angry.
And when that mother was angry the stick
" Look at her, not a vestige of the holy ashes
has she smeared on her forehead."
"What will the neighbours say?" It was an
aunt who was speaking now.
"Come, thou little ingrate, come here this
moment !" The child came, but she stood
Then the mother, the aunt, the older sisters,
and anyone who happened to be passing, talked
to her. They talked all at once, and they all
talked loudly. The house was full of their
clamour. They talked promiscuously to each
other and to her, and hurled proverbs like little
pellets at her head.
"The child is bewitched. Look at her! She
has drunk of the magic medicine of the white
*'Yea, she is charmed. There is a charm in the
white people's talk. Charmed? She is spoiled.
' The spoiled child fears not the word,' as the
saying is. Let her taste the rod."
" Like the help of the rod what help is there ?"
Then all together: "Will the child that fears
not the reproving eye fear the chastening hand ?
Nevertheless feel it she must."
" The twig unbent within five years, will it be
bent at fifty ?"
"The unbeaten bull, will it be broken to its
"The undisciplined and the untwirled mous-
tache, will they attain prosperity ?"
At last, exasperated by the child's silence, for
Mimosa did not know what to say, having already
said all she knew, the mother carried her off
and administered the correction so urgently re-
quired. And the little girl cried softly to herself
and wondered at the strangeness of everything.
She had tried to tell them, and they could not
What had she tried to tell them?
It is difficult to say, just because there was
not much to tell. But something had happened
on that afternoon when she heard for the first
time about a living, loving God, whom we had
called Father, who had made everything in the
world, and the sun and moon and stars. She had
understood that He loved her. And a strange
thing had happened. Though there was no time
to tell her much of the Lord Jesus Christ, some
sense as of seeing a Great Love, feeling it indeed,
as one does feel love without being able to ex-
plain it, had come upon her, so that she loved
this loving One, knew He loved her, though of
what had been done to reveal that love to man
she knew just nothing; there had not been time
to tell her. Only she knew somehow that just as
the blue air was round about her that afternoon ;
as she walked back with her father, so that when
she looked up she could see blue beyond blue,
so the love of this wonderful God was about her
and above her, and everywhere was love. Tell
it in terms of ordinary speech and you find your-
self floating off into shoreless, soundless, timeless
seas-what that child had seen that day was as
much as a child could see of the Eternal Love.
Charmed? Yes, they told the truth who said it.
This book is the tale of a soul that was charmed.
The question of rubbing Siva's ashes on her
forehead, or refusing to rub them, had, of course,
not been touched upon at all that afternoon. But
when she went home, and as usual the basket
containing them was handed to her in the morn-
ing as the family custom was, she shrank back,
feeling instinctively that she could not rub those
ashes on now. They meant allegiance to Siva.
Siva was not her God now. She had another
God, even the Loving One.
It was this unaccountable refusal which had
first perplexed, then enraged her family. The
basket, with the ashes which the father brought
once a month from the temple, was hung from
a beam in the living-room. Every morning the
father and his sons smeared the ashes on brow,
arms, and breast. And the mother and daughters
smeared them on their foreheads. To go out of
doors without that mark on was disgrace.
The family bore it for a day or two, then, in
the more tolerant father's absence, the women
determined to end it. Mimosa had struggled
through a lame little explanation, but she could
not show them what she had seen, and her falter-
ing words had failed. She had stood among
"Dumb to their scorn, and turning on their
Only the dominance of earnest eyes."
But that dominance was too spiritual to appeal
just then. The day came when it did. At that
moment it was sheer naughtiness or bewitchment,
or both mixed. Anyhow, there was only one
thing to do. "As the stick dances, the monkey
must dance. Let the stick dance." And it
| 2005/5/17 21:53||Profile|
I COULD BE CRUCIFIED ONCE
So passed several uncomfortable years. Mimosa
acquired a tiresome trick of shrugging her
shoulders, and "answering back"; for she did
not by any means grow into a sweet little saint
all at once, and the rather frequent and some-
times severe chastisements left her sometimes in
a very unsaintlike frame of mind. It was all so
bewildering. If God, the God to whom she
clung the more fiercely for these sharp smitings,
little limpet that she was, were indeed as she had
heard and believed, living and powerful and
loving, why did He not keep her mother's hands
off the whisk which was her favourite instrument
of correction? It was a question that found no
answer. Was the child forgotten by the Love
that had shone upon her?
Love never forgets. Gradually through her
troubles a gentle sense of still being loved stole
in upon her soul. She knew, though how she
could never have told, that the God she would
not forsake had not forsaken her. And all alone,
without a single friend who understood, or a
single touch of human compassion, she was com-
forted. And gradually she learned patience,
learned to accept her discipline.
"Then came the time when I went into
maraivu." This was not tyranny, it was only
the custom of the caste. The word means se-
clusion, and the custom springs from fear. For
when the Mahommedan conquests changed the
ways of the old Hindus, they felt the secluded
life safer for their growing-up girls, and to this
day, just when the mind in her is all one eager
question, the child is shut up within narrow
limits, and there that child stays till her marriage
" Didst thou ever break through and run out?"
"No, never; how could I? The Rule is to
"But how didst thou endure it?"
" There was no other way but to endure it."
"Does no girl ever break the Rule?"
"Never, never." And Mimosa added, what
translated into modern English would be : "It's
And she was such a vivid girl. Into her at her
creation her Maker had inspired a soul that
moveth to activity, and breathed a vital spirit.
But this activity of vitality displeased her elders,
who disapproved of "learned girls"; learning
was for boys. So Mimosa was cooped up in small
rooms and set to small tasks, and heard only the
smallest of small talk, and the inquiring mind
crowded with questions was treated as a freak.
" What is that to thee ? Art thou not a woman-
child?" Thus passed the dull, drab years.
She had much to endure. Sometimes it was as
if the winds that blew about her had blown out
the one little candle that stood unsheltered in
the midst of them. Several times she yielded
and bowed before the idols. These were her
darkest periods; but she was not forsaken, the
Love that followed found her. And then, all the
more because she had weakened, the full blast of
trial fell on her again.
"I could be crucified once," said Neesama
San of Japan, and he was a man at liberty,
strong, and with full knowledge. "But this daily.
crucifixion!" And now something hardly less
was appointed for this Indian girl who had heard
so little, and was to hear nothing for many years.
Is not the courage of the love of God amazing?
Could human love have asked it of a soul?
Fortitude based on knowledge so slender, death-
less, dauntless faith, who could have dared to ask
it but the Lord God Himself ? And what could
have held her but Love Omnipotent? We have
yet to prove more bravely the forces of that love.
| 2005/5/18 22:57||Profile|
" NAY, to this assembly I go not."
It was the father, head of the family and clan,
who spoke, and he spoke with decision; but
never a thought that he was bidden to another
assembly came to the daughters and relatives as
they donned their best and brightest attire and
set forth with crowds of caste folk from their
own village and numbers of others to attend the
great festival at the temple by the sea, one of the
chief pilgrimages of the year.
All his life he had thought of Siva as Lord of
the soul, he had thought of his soul as an animal
fettered in his flesh. His soul belonged to Siva
as an animal belongs to its master. But the
fetter of the flesh had bound it. All he had done
in the course of his religious life had, stated
simply, but one object. His business was to
loosen the fetters of this bound soul that it might
be restored to its owner.
And now that which would for ever free it from
this fetter of the flesh was upon him, and he
looked death in the face.
He had worshipped in scores of temples, given
alms, daily rubbed the sacred ashes, the Vibuthi,
on brow, breast, arms; traced, in so far as mortal
might, the intricate labyrinth of the one thousand
and eight names and attributes of his god, and
worshipped Siva's wife and sons, whose images
were everywhere to be seen in wayside shrine and
Saivite temple. To make all safe, he had sacri-
ficed to countless demons; there was nothing he
could think of that he had left undone, nor had
he ever done those things which he ought not to
have done except in the matter of his daughter
Star: he had yielded to her vain desire. And to
secure an education for his two sons he had let
them eat of Christian food.
And now all that was left was to gather into
one last symbolic act his whole life's faith. And
Mimosa, trembling, saw her mother bring the box
of sacred ashes to him. " Mark the Vibuthi"
she said. With it thick and white upon him, the
dread God of death would know him for Siva's
But he put the ashes from him. There were
no explanations. He was too ill for that. He
only waved the box aside and, looking into the
face of death, cried, " I go to the Supreme," and
Then was done according to custom.
The departed spirit is not regarded by the
Hindus as having passed beyond the reach of
our care, and so at once, especially in the case
of a parent, everything that love can suggest is
done to help it. This thought is behind all and
gives a dignity to the ceremonies that follow
swift-footed upon death.
Quickly, in a little shelter improvised in the
courtyard, Mimosa's father was laid on a mat,
and shaved, and bathed with water hurriedly
brought from the nearest river, the sacred Copper-
coloured river which the Greeks named long ago.
A white muslin cloth was wrapped round him
now, and the consecrated ashes he had refused
were rubbed on brow, breast, and arms. Then a
ball of rice was laid on his mouth, and on it
friends put silver coins. This was to help his
disembodied spirit on the first part of its
And then the weeping, wailing women, led by
Mimosa's mother, walked round and round the
body, throwing their arms up, beating their
breasts, tearing their loosened hair, which fell in
black masses about them. And they sat down on
the ground, and, rocking backwards and forwards,
chanted the song that compares the dead man to
all that is strong and glorious and dear. No one
can sit through such a scene unmoved. It is the
stuff that grief is made of, the grief that has no
All this our little Mimosa heard and shared.
But she was too dazed to chant, too stunned for
tears. And when they carried her father forth to
perform the remaining ceremonies at the crema-
tion ground, while the conch shell was blown and
a band of many instruments blared in deafening
chorus, she felt that the walls of her whole life
were falling down about her.
| 2005/5/19 22:02||Profile|
THE next event of supreme importance to
Mimosa was her wedding.
On the day when she was telling me about it
we were together in my room, along whose wall
stand several bookcases.
"I will show the colours of my saris" said
Mimosa, rising and going to one of the bookcases.
"I had one like this"-she pointed to Tre-
velyan's Garibaldi (bright red)-"and one like
this "-Tennyson and His Friends (bright green)
-" and this"-it was The China Martyrs of
1900, in orange-yellow. A prolonged search from
bookcase to bookcase followed, and finally dis-
covered Kim (crimson) and Lord Kelvin's Life
(terracotta-brown), which fairly satisfied her.
And she had plenty of jewels. Her brass was
the best of its kind. For all these necessary
things her father had left provision. The long,
warm day saw her early at the well, with her dark
hair parted smoothly and her pretty garments and
bright jewels making her more than ever a bird
of radiant plumage. And as the sun rose on her
as she stood there, a seventeen-year-old bride,
he must have loved to light her like a picture,
with the old grey well for foreground and the
wide sky for frame.
But soon to the startled girl the word began
to be whispered; all was not as it appeared. She
It was true. Her husband, advised by his elder
brother, a clever, unprincipled scoundrel, had
deceived Mimosa's mother. He was not only
landless; he was neck-deep in debt.
In Mimosa's family the custom was for the
bridegroom to endow the bride with a substantial
gift of land before marriage. This the bride-
groom had done. It was the only land he had,
but, of course, Mimosa's mother had no idea of
Mimosa went to him. He worshipped the
ground she walked on (her own idiom; so East
and West touch sometimes). When he was with
her she could do as she would with him. The
trouble was that he was generally with his elder
brother, who then held the reins. Mimosa, how-
ever, had character and would not be silenced.
" I cannot sleep while we owe one farthing," she
But this was absurd. Why should she not be
able to sleep? What folly possessed her? It
was altogether shocking, and he did so dislike
Now the neighbours, though they had been
quiet for a while after the wedding, had not for-
gotten that Mimosa was not a worshipper of the
usual gods. And they were sure mischief would
come of it; the marriage would be unlucky.
"Parpom" they had said. " We shall see." And
they had twisted their hands, palms uppermost,
in a curious way impossible to show in words,
and waved them to and fro as if trying to wave
off the impending ill-luck. " Parpom; yes,
Then the helpful elder brother came to the
rescue. If Mimosa felt so, there was only one
thing to be done. Let her sell her marriage por-
tion, the land now written to her name. Mimosa
eagerly consented, and it was done. The brother
kindly helped in the transaction, and did not lose
But, landless, how were they to live?
Mimosa went again to her husband, and spoke
words that sounded like thunderclaps in his
pained, astonished ears.
" Let us work," she said.
And he gazed at her, half grieved and half
admiring, for she was a very lovely vision with
her vivid face and her golden jewels, and her
little delicate hands and feet. On her arms and
ankles were silver bangles hung with little bells
that tinkled when she moved. Yes, she was very
desirable, that could not be denied.
But flower of delight as his bride might be, she
was most perniciously peculiar. What was to be
done ? Never in his dreamiest dreams had he
conceived so strange a thing. Work ! Did she
say, "Let us work" ? But he had never worked,
had never thought of working.
What was debt ? Would not the sons that were
to be pay it off ? The interest -- yes, that was a
worrying item, but, even so, it could accumulate.
Let it be. This, up till now, had been his attitude.
Now he found himself more or less unwillingly
denuded of that rather admirable glory of debt.
(If you have no debt, does it not follow that no
one trusts you enough to lend you anything, and
from that is it not obvious that you are a person
of small consequence ?) This new proposal stag-
gered him; it would have been so much easier to
slide into debt again. But he agreed. Yes, they
The brother-in-law suggested merchandise.
That was pleasant. You had only to sit in your
little shop-front, one of a dozen such in the
bazaar, and wait till people came in to buy. Salt
was to be his commodity -- easy to store, easy to
ladle out. So he agreed.
But money was needed even to start a salt
bazaar, and the ever-helpful brother had a
brilliant idea. There were Mimosa's dowry
jewels, gathered one by one through careful years
by her father. There was especially her great
golden garland, the most costly of all. Sell these
and start in salt. To earn an honest livelihood
Mimosa gave them all.
They were all lost, every jewel of that heap
was lost. The brother had wise ways of losing
such treasure. Mimosa could do nothing to
There was hardly anything left that she could
sell. The little she could lay her hands on she
gathered and gave to her mother; neither husband
nor brother-in-law could be trusted to keep it for
her. And her mother promised to dole out a
small sum every month. When the time came to
give it, the mother refused.
"Thou to give thy dowry jewels to thy hus-
band ! Even the golden garland ! No worthy
daughter of mine art thou. No money shalt thou
have of me. Let thy God help thee !"
The village heard it and smiled. "Did we
not say, `Parpom' ?"
| 2005/5/20 21:22||Profile|