Ssssss. The noise penetrated his sleepy head. Ssssss.
The following story was published in KidsView, Summer 2011. You’ll have to wait until June’s Growing Faith to find out how the story ends. In the meantime, if you have a guess as to the ending, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org. We just might give you a hint about what happens next.—Editor.
Merritt Kellogg reached his arms into the air and had a good stretch. It certainly was peaceful here. The water in the creek was just a few feet deep and gurgled happily. The sun was shining, and a cool breeze rustled the tall grasses nearby. Placing his Bible on the ground for a pillow, Merritt lay back and closed his eyes. It was a perfect Sabbath—just right for some quiet thoughts, Bible reading, and a good nap. It wasn’t long before Merritt was fast asleep.
Ssssss. The noise penetrated his sleepy head. Ssssss. Foggy with sleep, Merritt tried to remember where he was. Sssssss. Irritated from being awakened from such a nice rest, he reluctantly opened his eyes. As his eyes focused, he realized that just 7 centimeters (3 inches) from his face, staring right at him, was the largest snake he’d ever laid eyes on. The head was 7 centimeters (3 inches) wide and 12 centimeters (5 inches) long, and it was the scariest thing he’d ever seen!
His heart pounding, Merritt jumped five feet straight up in the air. Grabbing a stick, he quickly put an end to the snake. With shaky legs he steadied himself as he examined the now-dead snake. It was 1.8 meters (6 feet) long and 7 centimeters (3 inches) thick. Merritt took no more naps that Sabbath.
It was 1859, and Merritt was 27 years old. He’d lived in Michigan, United States, all his life, but times were hard, and there weren’t many jobs around. So he sold his house and all his belongings—except for two horses; a wagon; and a few pots, pans, and tools—and headed West with his wife and three children.
The gold rush had begun in California in 1849, and many people were traveling to the new frontier to make their fortunes. Merritt met Captain Parks, a man who had also decided to go West for gold. Captain Parks needed to hire a wagon to carry all his supplies, and Merritt took the job with one condition. Merritt, who had accepted the Adventist faith seven years before, was determined never to work on the Sabbath. He wrote a contract and asked Captain Parks and the rest of the people in the wagon train to sign it. They did, agreeing never to travel on Sabbath.
But Captain Parks soon forgot the agreement. When Sabbath came, he still wanted to continue traveling. Merritt reminded him of the agreement, but Captain Parks wouldn’t listen. Captain Parks told Merritt’s wife about how wagons were not safe left alone. Merritt’s wife was so scared that she didn’t want to stay. She begged Merritt to go with the wagon train, but he refused. The Sabbath was more important. So the wagon train left him behind with a lunch, a gun, and his Bible. Here he was now, alone, with a dead snake at his feet and his heart beating like a drum in his chest.
To be continued!
“I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:19, 20).