the Shepherd himself was making the promise, and
of one thing she was quite sure. He could not lie.
“Please plant Love in my heart now,” she said faintly.
promised the greatest thing in the world.
The Shepherd put his hand in his bosom, drew
something forth, and laid it in the palm of his hand.
Then he held his hand out toward Much-Afraid.
“Here is the seed of Love,” he said.
She bent forward to look, then gave a startled
little cry and drew back. There was indeed a seed lying
in the palm of his hand, but it was shaped exactly
like a long, sharply-pointed thorn. Much-Afraid had
often noticed that the Shepherd’s hands were scarred
and wounded, but now she saw that the scar in the
palm of the hand held out to her was the exact shape
and size of the seed of Love lying beside it.
“The seed looks very sharp,” she said shrinkingly.
“Won’t it hurt if you put it into my heart?”
He answered gently, “It is so sharp that it slips
in very quickly. But, Much-Afraid, I have already
warned you that Love and Pain go together, for a
time at least. If you would know Love, you must
know pain too.”
Much-Afraid looked at the thorn and shrank
from it. Then she looked at the Shepherd’s face and
repeated his words to herself. “When the seed of
Love in your heart is ready to bloom, you will be
loved in return,” and a strange new courage entered
into her. She suddenly stepped forward, bared
her heart, and said, “Please plant the seed here in
with a note of joy in his voice, “Now you will be
able to go with me to the High Places and be a citizen
in the Kingdom of my Father.”
Then he pressed the thorn into her heart. It
was true, just as he had said, it did cause a piercing
pain, but it slipped in quickly and then, suddenly, a
sweetness she had never felt or imagined before tingled
It was bittersweet, but the sweetness
was the stronger. She thought of the Shepherd’s
words, “It is so happy to love,” and her pale, sallow
cheeks suddenly glowed pink and her eyes shone.
For a moment Much-Afraid did not look afraid at
all. The twisted mouth had relaxed into a happy
curve, and the shining eyes and pink cheeks made
her almost beautiful.
“Thank you, thank you,” she cried, and knelt at
the Shepherd’s feet. “How good you are. How patient
you are. There is no one in the whole world as good
and kind as you. I will go with you to the mountains.
I will trust you to make my feet like hinds’ feet, and
to set me, even me, upon the High Places.”
~Hinds Feet In High Places~