Young Folks' Treasury: Classic Tales and Old-Fashioned Stories HTML version

The Pilgrim's Progress
As I slept I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in
a certain place, with his face away from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden
upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein, and as he read, he wept
and trembled. His fear was so great that he brake out with a mournful cry, saying, "What shall I
In this plight therefore he went home, and did all he could to hide his distress from his wife and
children. But he could not be silent long, because his trouble increased. Wherefore at length he
began to talk to his wife and children thus: "O my dear wife," said he, "and you my children, I
am in despair by reason of a burden that lieth heavy on me. Moreover I am for certain told that
this our city will be burned with fire from heaven, when both myself, with thee, my wife, and
you, my sweet babes, shall be ruined, except some way of escape can be found." At this his wife
and children were sore amazed, not because they believed that what he had said to them was
true, but because they thought he must be ill to talk in so strange a way. Therefore, as it was
evening, and they hoped sleep might soothe him, with all haste they got him to bed. But the night
was as troublesome to him as the day, wherefore instead of sleeping he spent it in sighs and tears.
So when the morning was come, they asked him how he did. He told them, "Worse and worse,"
and began to talk to them again in the same strange manner, but they began to be careless of his
words. They also thought to drive away his fancies by harsh and rough behavior to him.
Sometimes they would mock, sometimes they would scold, and sometimes they [pg 204] would quite
neglect him. Wherefore he began to stay in his room to pray for and pity them, and also to
comfort his own misery. He would also walk alone in the fields, sometimes reading and
sometimes praying, and thus for some days he spent his time.
Now I saw in my dream that when he was walking in the fields, he was reading his book and
greatly distressed in mind. And as he read, he burst out crying, "What shall I do to be saved?" I
saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run. Yet he stood still, because, as I
saw, he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man, named Evangelist, coming
to him, who asked, "Wherefore dost thou cry?"
He answered, "Sir, I see by the book in my hand that I am condemned to die, and after that to be
judged. And I find I am not willing to die, nor able to be judged."
Then said Evangelist, "Why not willing to die, since in this life you are so unhappy?"
The man answered, "Because I fear this burden will sink me lower than the grave, and the
thought of that makes me cry."
Then said Evangelist, "If this be thy fear, why standest thou still?"