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Title: Strangers in Greenland
Author: Author unknown
Publisher: American Tract Society
Date: 18--?



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S TRANGERS
IN

G REENLAND




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Gertie.
Miss Florie.
1867. [unclear]




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[Illustration : An illustration of a group of three people, dressed in fur, crawling out of an igloo. One of them is already standing; he is holding a spear in one hand while pointing at a ship off on the horizon with the other. A dog is sitting at his feet, and a sled and some packs are set on the ground in front of the igloo. The picture is framed by a decorative border incorporating snow-covered pine trees, icicles, and a bit of ivy towards the top. The title of the book is printed beneath the illustration in illustrative type.]

STRANGERS
IN GREENLAND

AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY.
150 Nassau-street, New York.



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STRANGERS IN GREENLAND.

CHAPTER I.
"WHAT SOUGHT THEY THUS AFAR?"

H AVE you ever seen the snow so deep that even the tops of the fences were covered? Have you ever had the tips of your fingers frozen, or your ears turned white by Jack Frost's unwelcome pinches? If so, you perhaps think you know something of cold weather; but you have yet no idea of cold like that of Greenland.

I hardly need to tell you that Greenland is a large country at the north-eastern corner of North America. Very likely you could point it out on the map, without stopping a moment to look for it.




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No doubt the Esquimaux, who have never been away from their icy home, think Greenland the pleasantest country in the world. There the little boys play "shinny" on the snow, using walrus bones for "shinny sticks." There the children have tiny spears and boats for toys; and the babies laugh, as they contentedly suck their morsel of blubber. The Greenlanders are happy in their own way, and they are quite content with their home. But the strangers from Europe and the United States who have visited Greenland, have not found it as charming as the natives seem to think it.

Perhaps you wonder what has taken strangers to such a cold and dreary country. Some have gone there to trade with the natives for furs, some to seek out new passages through those icy seas, some to look for lost explorers in that region of cold, and some to bear thither the blessed Saviour's message of love.




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On the thirtieth of May, 1853, the brig Advance set sail from New York, bound for Baffin's Bay. The Advance was a strong vessel and a good sailer, but it was not on these accounts that many hearts throbbed with warm interest, and many mouths spoke good wishes at her departure. The Advance was going on a message of mercy; she was going in search of Sir John Franklin, an English explorer, who with his party had been lost among the ice and snows of the north.

E LISHA K ENT K ANE was in command of the Advance, and he had seventeen men with him.

There were but three rules on board that vessel, but they were to the point:

1. Absolute obedience to the commanding officer.

2. Abstinence from all intoxicating liquors, except when ordered for some wise purpose.

3. Entire freedom from the use of profane language.

Dr. Kane was to pass up Baffin's Bay as far


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north as possible, and then press on towards the north pole in boats or sledges; carefully examining the coasts for traces of the lost party.

There were on board the Advance some noble Newfoundland dogs, who were to drag the sledges of the strangers, whenever they should be on land. These dogs often gave a great deal of trouble. Not a bear's claw, not a basket of mosses could be put down for a moment, without their springing towards it, scrambling and yelling, and swallowing the morsel at one mouthful. Dr. Kane declares that he had even seen them attempt to eat a whole feather-bed!

"Unruly, thieving, and ravenous" as were these dogs, they had to be tenderly cared for, for on them the safety of the travellers might depend, when all around them was ice.

It is said that there is no human character without some gentler feelings that may be touched by constant kindness, and this is true in some degree


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with regard to brutes. Even these Newfoundland dogs, so like wild beasts in their appetites, had yet a kind of affection for their masters. At one time, although a comfortable house had been provided for them at a distance from the ice-bound brig, they could not be persuaded to sleep there. "They preferred the bare snow, within the sound of their master's voices, to a warm kennel upon the rocks."




[Illustration : A large sailing ship is being secured to a bit of frozen land by a group of men, who are gathered around it and are attempting to fasten its ropes to the ground. Several of the men have walked ahead of the others who are securing the boat. A second ship can be seen in the distance.]

The Advance, after a short stay at the Danish settlements of South Greenland, passed northward up Baffin's Bay, until it was at last locked fast in


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fields of ice. The very sea was frozen around the vessel; and there, in the midst of cold and desolation, with no humane visitor to cheer their solitude, the crew of the Advance prepared to pass the long winter of the Arctic regions. The brig had become the fixed home of the little party, and they made it as comfortable as possible. From this strange home they made excursions along the coast in sledges, and now they really began to understand the use and value of the dogs that had before been so troublesome.

The small sledge, which seemed to be a particular favorite with Dr. Kane, was called "Little Willie." It was made of American hickory, and built with the utmost care, so as to be at the same time light and lasting. The Newfoundland dogs were used for ordinary labor; but the hardy Esquimaux dogs were the most serviceable for long journeys over the dangerous ice, which now covered sea and shore.




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The dogs were not guided by bridles and bits, like our horses; neither did they move by the word


[Illustration : In an arctic scene, a man on a dogsled raises his whip in the air, urging on his team of five dogs. Another man stands near an igloo in the background, waving at the man on the dogsled and holding a spear in one hand.]
of command, like our patient oxen. These strange animals, more like wolves in appearance and nature


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than like the dogs we are accustomed to see, were guided only by the whip. This whip was of a most peculiar kind. Its handle was only sixteen inches long, (not quite half a yard,) while the seal-hide lash was six yards long. You can think how hard it must have been to throw out such a long lash, with such a short handle; yet by constant practice Dr. Kane and his men learned to do it. What is there that cannot be learned by perseverance? They were not really good sledge drivers till they could hit at will any one of the twelve dogs in the team, and remind him by the lash which way he must go. The mere labor of using this whip is such that the Esquimaux, (the natives of these regions,) travel in couples, one sledge after the other. The dogs of the hinder sledge follow the first sledge without the whip, and the drivers change about, so as to rest each other."

One great danger in travelling over the frozen sea is the cracks through the ice, leading to the deep


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cold water below. Over these the brave dogs leap at a single bound, carrying the light sledge safely after them. How would you like to take such a ride? You would have to hold fast to the sledge when it went flying over the ice-cracks, or you would be tossed out, and perhaps sink into the dark waters.

Of what use would a horse or an elephant or a camel be in these frozen regions? How wonderful is the goodness of God, in providing beasts of burden suited to all climates!

The same providential hand that has given the hardy, patient, swift-footed dog to the Esquimaux, has provided a kind of food suited to the people of these regions. Fat they love, fat they need, and fat they have. Dr. Kane and his party soon learned to eat solid lumps of blubber with a relish, and to own that it was a necessary of life in that cold climate.

The clumsy sea-creature the walrus, the curious seal, and the awkward bear, yielded in turn their


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fat meat to the crew of the Advance. The fox too, and the hare, and the wild birds of the short summer appeared on the table in their strange cramped dwelling-place.

When the real winter came, however, and the dark night set in to last its dreary six months, the unfortunate strangers had to rely chiefly on the stores of dried and salted food they had brought with them for such an hour of need. Such was the scarcity of fresh meat, that Dr. Kane was at length able to eat rat's flesh with a relish, though few of the crew were willing to join him.

Many, many were the trials endured through that weary time of darkness. The absence of light itself was most distressing. First the sun disappeared, and day was only a twilight; then all was darkness. December 15, 1853, Dr. Kane writes, "At mid-day we cannot see print, and hardly paper; the fingers cannot be counted a foot from the eyes. Noonday and midnight are alike!" Ice was all


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around them in the darkness, and every thing on board seemed turning to ice. In the open air, whatever was touched with the bare hand froze fast to it. The beard of a sleeper froze to his blanket, the very eyelids were chained together by the frost.

Occupation is a source of cheerfulness at all times; and so in the midst of the darkness it proved to the crew of the Advance. Something was provided for every one to do. Dr. Kane knew that a busy man was not likely to be a discontented or an unhappy man.

Carpentering, shoe and sock making, sewing, writing, map drawing, and even cooking went on, though there was, by the eleventh of March, not a pound of fresh meat on board, and only one barrel of potatoes left. Perhaps you fancy those same potatoes soft, mealy, and tempting, like those that come burning-hot to our own tables. By no means. Potatoes were served up at every meal, truly; but they were medicine for the poor, sick, scurvy-tormented


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men of the Advance. The frozen potatoes were grated down, mixed with oil, and so made into such an abominable dose, that the hardy fellows made as much of a fuss about taking it, as a spoiled child at a dose of salts.

February had been found by other voyagers the coldest month of the polar year; but March was to Dr. Kane's party equally if not more trying. Yet they managed to bear it, and bear it cheerfully, considering all that they suffered.

Strange looking beings these Americans must have been in their Greenland home. Think of a man in a pair of seal-skin pants, a dog-skin cap, a reindeer jumper, (a fur coat with a hood of the same material,) and walrus boots! When such a traveller goes on a journey, he stops at no hotels. He need not fear damp sheets. He takes his bed and bedding with him. He has a fur bag into which he can slip himself, feet first; and then he draws a kind of fur tippet over his head, leaving open just space


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enough for him to breathe through, and he is fixed for the night, where the thermometer is 40 below zero. If he has but a junk of frozen, raw meat with him, he is provided with a breakfast, and will be ready, when he has eaten it, to give the dogs a fresh start, and go off with his companions on a new tour of search for the lost Sir John Franklin.

So Dr. Kane and his men learned to dress, eat, sleep, and travel. Their necessities of life became few indeed.

Spring was coming at last; such a spring! It makes one chill to think of it. Spring was coming, and the men began to revive and talk of home. The poor dogs too, those that were left of them, gave signs of returning strength. Out of nine Newfoundland and thirty-five Esquimaux dogs, only six were still living, and they were unfit for present use. The long darkness and the excessive cold had been too much for them. A singular disease had seized upon them, a real disease of the brain, ending at last in


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death. The poor creatures could eat and sleep well enough, but they were actually crazy. Sometimes they would sit for a long time in moody silence, then suddenly start up, and run to and fro on the deck for hours. No wonder that the poor brutes, who were strangers in that dreary land, should have been driven wild with ever waiting for the dawning of day, with no one to tell them why the horrid night was never cheered by a single ray of sun-light.

These valuable animals were "tended, fed, cleansed, caressed, and doctored," but all to no purpose. One by one they dropped away.

March had come. Don't think of anemones springing, and crocuses peeping up from their winter quarters. It was in this month that in an excursion over the snow and ice, Dr. Kane and his men endured the most awful sufferings from cold and exhaustion. Gladly would they have laid down on the snow to sleep the sleep of death; but blind


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with the dazzling of the sun on the ice, and staggering with weakness, they went on, the stronger dragging the more helpless, and at last they reached the brig, wandering in mind, and utterly exhausted in body. One of the party suffered for some time from blindness, two others had portions of the foot cut off, and two died in consequence of what they had undergone on that fearful journey.

If April did not bring the soft showers, the budding and renewing of life, which we welcome in our climate, it brought to Dr. Kane's party something as pleasant. This was the visit of a number of Esquimaux. Yes, the crew of the Advance once more saw other human faces than those of their companions in misfortune.

A wild, lawless set were those Esquimaux. Their leader was a tall, "powerfully built man, with swarthy complexion and piercing black eyes. His dress was a jumper of mixed white and blue fox skins, arranged with something of fancy, and


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booted trowsers of white bear-skin, which at the end of the foot were made to terminate with the claws of the animal." Although this was the first time he had ever seen a white man, he fearlessly went with Dr. Kane on board the brig.

In due time the whole party followed. Then there was confusion enough on the ice-bound vessel. The Esquimaux spoke three or four at a time, laughed at the ignorance of the Americans in not understanding them, and then talked away as before. "They were incessantly in motion , going everywhere, trying doors, and squeezing themselves through dark passages, round casks and boxes, out into the light again, anxious to touch and handle every thing they saw, asking for or else endeavoring to steal every thing they touched." At last, like tired children, they went to sleep. They did not lie down, but slept sitting, with the head dropped on the breast, some of them snoring famously. Each one was sure to have a piece of raw meat lying beside him; and


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when he woke, his first act was to eat, and then he was ready for another nap. Every man ate when


[Illustration : Three men dressed in furs are looking through a cupboard on the deck of a ship; one of the men is pulling out a large jar, the second is still searching through it, and the third is leaning on the top of the cupboard while holding a spear in his other hand. Two other fur-dressed men stand in the background, one merely looking on, the other trying to cut a length of rope free from a pulley. Two men dressed in European clothing stand further back, behind the ship's mast; one is raising his arms in the air as though shouting something, and the other is looking through a telescope.]
he felt inclined; they did not seem to have any idea of taking regular meals as we do. At length their


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visit was over, and away they went, men, dogs, and sledges, gliding over the ice as swiftly as they came.

The Arctic summer began at last, to the great joy of the crew of the Advance. Seal, walrus, bears, foxes, rabbits, hares, eider duck, and wild birds of various kinds suddenly swarmed in that hitherto silent region. The Arctic plants sent forth their flowers, and hope made glad the hearts of the men.

The short Arctic summer was too soon over. The stunted plants had borne their stunted fruit and cast their seed; and yet the ice lingered around the brig. The Advance was still a prisoner. Sorrowfully her crew prepared for another winter in their frozen home. A number of them tried to escape on sledges, but they were obliged to come back to the ice-bound brig, and share the fate of their companions.

Through this second long winter they bore sickness and cold and hunger, yet their brave commander never despaired, never failed to set the example of patient, cheerful, hopeful endurance.




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Visits to the Esquimaux of these regions took place through the winter and spring. The American strangers learned to crawl through the long narrow passage that leads from the door to the interior of the small snow-covered huts. There they could sleep among the heaps of naked natives; there they could eat raw meat or soup of doubtful cookery, with almost as good an appetite as the greedy Esquimaux themselves. The interior of these thronged huts is often excessively warm, and their filth is such as to shock a civilized man. Yet the Esquimaux are kind to the stranger, and cheerfully share with him their scanty stores.

Once "murder, the burial of the living, the killing of infants," were common among them. Once a vessel could not with safety touch upon their coast, whole crews having been murdered by the wild natives. "But for the last hundred years, Greenland has been safer for the wrecked mariner than many parts of our own coast."




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The virtues which have been taught by the Christian missionaries to those who have received Jesus as their Saviour, have spread even among the heathen natives. Here, as ever, a blessing has followed the arrival of the noble men who have left all to preach Jesus to the ignorant and degraded.

We cannot trace Dr. Kane and his party through all their trials and adventures. On the eighteenth of May, 1855, the brig was finally abandoned; and by sledges and boats, the remains of the once hopeful party made their way to South Greenland. They had not found Sir John Franklin, but they had passed two winters farther north than any Europeans had ever made their homes, and gathered much information important to science. They had proved the existence of an open sea beyond the ice of the polar regions, a fact of the utmost value, and for which the name of Dr. Kane will be long remembered.

For eighty-four days after abandoning the brig, the crew of the Advance had lived in the open air,


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[Illustration : Three groups of warmly-dressed men, each of about eight members, are making their way on foot away from a large sailing ship, which has run aground. Each group is pulling a boat on skis behind them; the boats seem to be full of supplies, and their contents are protected by large blankets.]
undergoing all manner of dangers, privations, and hardships, when they at last reached a Danish settlement,


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and in the midst of a crowd of children, for the last time hauled their boats on the rocks.

So accustomed were the wayworn men to life in the open air, that they could not at first remain within a house, without a distressing sense of suffocation. That night they "drank coffee before many a hospitable threshold, and listened again and again to the hymn of welcome, which, sung by many voices, greeted their deliverance."

Truly it was a time for hymns of praise, a time for thanksgiving to the God who had watched over and preserved them through all their wanderings.

A loft was fitted up for their reception as soon as they could bear indoor life, and the humble Danes freely shared their scanty stores with the broken-down sailors of the Advance. The Christian kindness of these poor Danes cannot be too much commended.

From this hospitable region the wanderers set sail in a Danish vessel, and touched for a short stay


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at a more southern port of Greenland. They were on the eve of again embarking, when a look-out


[Illustration : A man kneeling on the grass at the edge of a seaside cliff raises one arm and shouts in the direction of the sea. He is holding a battered flag in the other hand, and a telescope lies on the grass in front of him.]
man on a hill-top announced a steamer in the distance. "It drew near with a bark in tow," says


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Dr. Kane, "and we soon recognized the stars and stripes of our own country. The Faith"--the boat in which the poor sufferers had escaped--"was lowered for the last time into the water, and the little flag which had floated so near the poles of both hemispheres opened once more to the breeze. Followed by all the boats of the settlement, we went out to meet the steamer. We neared the squadron and the gallant men that had come out to seek us; we could see the scars which their own ice-battles had impressed on their vessels; we knew the gold lace of the officers' cap-bands, and discerned the groups who, glass in hand, were evidently regarding us.

"Presently we were alongside. An officer whom I shall ever remember as a cherished friend, Captain Hartstene, hailed a little man in a ragged flannel shirt. 'Is that Dr. Kane?' and with the 'Yes!' that followed, the rigging was manned by our countrymen, and cheers welcomed us back to the social world of love they represented."




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Since the publication of his interesting account of his expedition, Dr. Kane has died in consequence of the privations and hardships he endured. There are still some survivors among his companions. One of the dogs accompanying the expedition is living, and has been seen and petted by hundreds and hundreds of curious Americans.




[Illustration : An illustration of a large dog standing in an Arctic scene. In the background, two men and another dog are gathered near the entrance of an igloo. Farther off, a man is riding on a dogsled, driving his dogs across the frozen plain.]




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CHAPTER II.

W E cannot but admire the courage and patient endurance of Dr. Kane and his men; yet even greater courage and greater patience have been shown on the shores of Greenland.

In the year 1710, there was a happy parsonage at Vogen, in Norway, where lived a useful pastor and his beloved family. That pastor, the Rev. Hans Egede, had won the affection of his people, and week by week he was leading them towards the same heaven which was to be his everlasting home. Dear as was this devoted pastor to the people of his flock, he was not more prized by them than was his gentle wife.

When a sick child among the people had wearied out even the mother by its long illness, then it was that Ann Egede was found by its bedside, soothing it by her sweet voice, and nursing it with the tenderest


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care. When a sorrowing widow sat alone in her desolate home, the footstep of the minister's wife was heard on the threshold, and soon sweet words of comfort and affectionate sympathy were cheering the solitary mourner. Ann Egede was the light of the parsonage. She had ever a welcome of smiles for her husband, she had ever pure counsel and kind judicious care; God had given her also a sweet young family.

This was a happy household, yet here a shadow fell. The face of Hans Egede grew sad; a deep burden was on his heart. The joy which he had in the knowledge of a Saviour made him feel but the deeper pity for the heathen who were far from God. The peace that prevailed in his Christian home but made him realize more fully what must be the misery of the families where the law of love was not taught, and where anger, envy, and every evil passion raged. To Greenland his thoughts particularly turned, and his soul yearned to bear the message


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of Christ to the lost people of that frozen land.

To his dear wife, the earnest minister at length told his secret sorrow, the secret wish which had become so strong within him.

Poor Ann Egede! Her joy seemed crushed in a moment. At first she shrank from the sacrifice proposed; but she saw that the holy purpose had taken too deep a hold upon her husband to be easily given up. Should she leave her pleasant home and go with him to that distant, dreary land? This question she asked herself, this question she asked of God in prayer.

Peace came again to the heart of Ann Egede. God had sent her strength to give up all, for the sake of Christ. She would go with her husband, and labor with him to bring the heathen to the knowledge of the Lord. The pastor was full of joy when he heard her decision. He felt as if all difficulties were removed from his path, now that his


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true wife was to be at his side. With such an example of a Christian woman to prove the truth of his religion, and such a laborer to aid him in his work, he felt sure of success.

For ten long years the Rev. Hans Egede besought the king of Denmark, and the bishops and merchants of his own land, to give him permission and means to go to the far away country and preach Christ to the ignorant natives.

Permission and means were at last obtained. Hans Egede might take the Bible in his hand, and go with its message to "Greenland's icy mountains."

Sorrow now seized upon the people of Vogen. They clung round their beloved pastor, like children round a tender mother's neck. They besought him not to leave them, and weeping pleaded with him to give up his long cherished plan. In their strong attachment to their faithful minister, they felt as if it would be almost impossible for them to reach heaven without his holy teaching and pure


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example. The people of Vogen had the Bible for their guide, and Hans Egede knew that God could lead them heavenward when he was far over the sea. Hans Egede knew this, yet the voice of his weeping people overcame him; could he leave them?

Calm and cheerful was Ann Egede in that hour of doubt. The fearless woman strengthened her husband's resolution, and assisted him in keeping firm to his purpose. He resolved to go!

Wild, foolish, and almost mad, the pastor and his wife were considered, by most of their friends. Little was then known of Greenland, and that little was but a tale of misery and desolation. Yet one solemn sentence of Scripture was enough to sustain Hans Egede and his wife in this time of trial and reproach. Jesus had said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." He could sustain his chosen messengers among the snows of Greenland, as well as amid the comforts of their dear parsonage at Vogen.




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[Illustration : An illustration of a man, woman, and four small children standing on a ship, looking toward shore. The man is waving his hat at some people on the docks, who are waving back.]

In the month of May, 1721, Hans Egede, with his wife and four children, set sail for Greenland.


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On the wide ocean they learned to know too well all the terrors of the sea. Storms beat them about, contrary winds drove them back, and terrible ice-bergs threatened to crush them. The ship rolled and tossed on the mighty waves, and was well-nigh dashed in pieces. But in the cabin of that lonely ship there was one face full of peace. There Ann Egede gathered her terrified children about her, and soothed their fears by reminding them of Him who ruleth the sea. There Ann Egede was at her husband's side, like an angel, comforting him with her sweet words of hope and trust.

On the third of July, Egede and his family reached the country which was henceforward to be their home.

Dr. Kane and his party, when they set out on their expedition, were going on a long and trying voyage truly; yet they hoped, they expected to return. They looked forward to the time when they should see again the "dear familiar faces,"


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and be welcomed at the firesides where they were beloved. No such hope, no such expectation had Hans Egede and his wife to cheer them. They had given up friends, home, and country to live among the Greenlanders, and to know no other dwelling-place.

A dreary prospect it must have seemed, when they first entered the miserable snow-covered huts, and saw the poverty and filth within them. Yet there was no look of discontent on the sweet face of Ann Egede. Her smile and her cheerfulness were ready to make glad her husband's poor home in this far foreign land.

The miserable, ignorant Greenland women she met with kindness, and they must have soon seen that some one quite unlike themselves had come to dwell among them. How she must have longed to tell them at once of that Saviour whose humbler follower she was, and whose religion she so adorned!




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All was new and strange to the pastor and his family. Even the language of the country had yet to be learned by slow and toilsome efforts. As they heard the names given by the Greenlanders to the objects about them, they wrote them down and rejoiced over each word that they learned, for each word gained brought nearer the time when they could preach Jesus to this benighted people.

The impatient missionaries could not wait until they could speak to the Greenlanders in their own language, before they made known to them some of the facts of Scripture. As we teach little children by Bible pictures, before they can understand all the deep truths of the word of God, so they taught the Greenlanders. By sketches of some of the scenes described in Scripture, Hans Egede and his wife tried to prepare these poor people for the religion they had come to teach. We cannot doubt that Jesus at Bethlehem, Jesus on the cross, and Jesus ascending to heaven, were drawn, while the


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earnest missionaries tried to give the ignorant by-standers some idea of Him who came to seek and to save them that were lost.

The Greenlanders were stupid and indifferent; Hans Egede and his wife could only speak by signs, and these first efforts at instruction seemed all in vain. When this rude people understood that the strangers were to live among them, they were by no means pleased. People who had not come to trade with the natives were unwelcome in that land, where food must be laid up with care, and used with economy. Even the sweet face of Ann Egede for a while failed to soften the coarse, ignorant beings around her. But sickness came to the little children, and the missionary's wife won the mothers by her attention to their darlings. They saw that the pale-faced woman from over the seas was wiser than themselves when disease threatened death, they saw that she was more gentle and patient with the sufferers than they had ever been. The presents that


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Hans Egede had made to the Greenlanders, and the kindness he and his wife had shown them, at last had some effect, and they were willing that the missionaries should remain among them.

Hardly had the earnest strangers begun to hope that success might yet be in store for them, when a new difficulty arose. The ship that was to have brought provisions from Norway was delayed in its coming. The miserable food of the natives was fast diminishing, and famine seemed near at hand. The Danes and Norwegians who had come out with Egede, with the hope of making money by trade with the natives, were disheartened. They all resolved to return.

After anxious thought and sleepless nights, Hans Egede decided that he had no right to expose his wife and children to death from hunger and want. He would return with his countrymen, a wretched, disappointed man. This decision he announced to his wife. The heart of Ann Egede was strengthened


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from above, in that hour of trial. She would not accept the offer which it had cost her husband such an effort to make. "No! let us remain here, my husband," said the noble woman. "Hardships we expected, when we became missionaries. Let us have patience!" The strong, cheerful, hopeful, trustful spirit of the wife upheld the soul of her husband. The long looked for ship at length arrived; food was once more plenty, and good news from home made glad the exiles.

Hans Egede sought in every way to win the confidence and affection of the Greenlanders, but they seemed to care little to learn what he had to teach. Food and rest for their poor bodies were more precious to them, than any cultivation of their minds or any care for their souls.

The missionary and his wife had been tried by unkindness, and threatened by famine, and yet they had remained firm. They were now to suffer from a new difficulty.




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The horrors of a Greenland winter gathered around them. Shut within their narrow dwelling, they sought to escape from the piercing cold that was changing all nature into solid ice. Even there they could not escape the searching blasts and the cruel frosts. "Cups of heated water or even brandy, if set upon the table, were frozen in a few minutes. The linen was often frozen in the drawers, and the soft eider-down bed and pillows stiffened with frost, even while the sleepers rested there." Slowly the long dark night stole on, till at last there was no light in their dwelling at mid-day, save that of the ever burning fire, and the precious lamp, which was never suffered to go out.

Thus shut off from all the world, the heart of the wife and mother did not sink in despondency. She had still her dear ones around her, her God was still King in heaven. To that God she prayed for strength to do her duty in the strange position in which she found herself placed; to those dear ones


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she devoted herself, and was to them a comfort and a stay.

In the dark winter hours, the children were taught at their mother's side, not only the learning that makes the scholar wise, but that better wisdom which comes from above. Time stole on, and their young minds, subject to her sweet influence, unfolded fair and truth-loving like that of their mother. The eldest daughter resembled her in appearance as well as character. The blue eyes, flaxen hair, and mild, earnest features of Ann Egede were seen again in that daughter's face, who was to be so like her in spirit and in purpose.

The wintry night brightened into twilight. Then came the season of perpetual day, when no shadow crept over the landscape at evening, no hour of darkness called the weary to rest. The weeks went round unmarked by dawn and sunset, till the eye was dim with the continual brightness, and yearned to close itself in the pleasant shade of night.




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The seasons, so different from those to which they had been accustomed, could not but be trying to the strangers; yet they did not complain. They knew that for wise reasons the short Arctic summer was all light. They saw the plants springing as it were into life, they saw the animals that had fled from the cold, suddenly rejoicing around them, and they could not murmur, but rather admired His wisdom who "doeth all things well."

Egede had left Norway full of hope. His hopes had not been realized. The land was even more dreary than it had been described, the people were far more stupid, far more difficult to be reached. They mocked at the teacher of the new religion who had come to dwell among them, they gave little heed to his instructions.

In the midst of his discouragements, there was one bright face ever ready to give him a welcome, one true heart ever ready to yield its sympathy and comfort. Of her own loneliness Ann Egede never


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spoke. She could not, like her husband, vary her life by expeditions along the coast, now on the swift sledge, now in the light boat. At her fireside was her place of duty, and there she was to be found, cheerful, placid, and useful, as in the pleasant parsonage at Vogen.

Such a wife was indeed a treasure, such a mother could not but be blessed in her children. Without a Christian visitor to look in on their solitude, with no hope of change to cheer them, the family of Hans Egede were not sorrowful. They were happy in themselves, and happy in the love of their Maker.

"The little family group," says Mr. Carnes, "found all their hopes and enjoyments in each other; and when the father gave out the hymn, and they all joined their voices or knelt down in prayer, it was as if one soul and one voice was offered to God."

Seven years had passed since Hans Egede first set up his family altar on the shores of Greenland.


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[Illustration : A group of European soldiers and colonists disembark from a rowboat onto an arctic shore. Most of the soldiers are armed with halberds, but one is unarmed and is blowing on a trumpet. Yet another soldier in the foreground, who is carrying a sword and appears to be the commanding officer, confronts two of the natives, who are dressed in fur and approaching cautiously.]
Ships from Norway had been hailed with joy as they approached, and watched as they receded from sight;


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yet the devoted missionaries had seen them come and go, with firm hearts and purposes unchanged. Now there was a promise of brighter days. Several ships arrived from Denmark containing colonists, who had come with the hope of making a permanent and profitable settlement on the shores of Greenland. Welcome as were the soldiers, the mechanics, and the true wives who had followed their fortunes, still more welcome to Egede were two Danish clergymen, who had been sent by the king of Denmark to aid him in his efforts for the poor heathen of Greenland.

The sufferings which Egede and his wife had borne with such firmness, were too much for the colonists. Tried by the terrible climate, disappointed in their hopes of gain, upon Egede they visited their wrath. They fancied that his being there had occasioned their coming to the dreary shore. They considered no violence too great to be offered him; and but for the guard who surrounded


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his dwelling, they might have slain him in their anger. These new dangers could not shake the spirit of Ann Egede. The wrath of man was as naught to one who, like Elias, knew herself to be surrounded by legions of angels; for the angels of the Lord encamp around about them that fear him. Calm, cheerful, and fearless, she passed through that time of danger a woman indeed, whose price was above rubies!

Cold, hunger, sickness, and disunion reduced the colonists to a mere handful. The survivors had but one thought, one wish--to see their native land again in safety. Permission at length came to give up the proposed settlement. Then, from the least unto the greatest, the emigrants escaped from the shores they had learned to hate. Even the missionaries, upon whom Egede had relied, deserted him. He too was called on to flee as for his life. Provisions for but one year more were promised him by the government; and after that time no


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further aid was to be given him from his father-land.

That father-land was still dear to Egede and his wife, still fresh in their memories. Its quiet homes, its pleasant churches, its hillsides, and its lakes they had described to their children in the long wintry hours. Should they not return to it once more?

Egede was no longer the strong man who had first set foot in Greenland; should he continue to labor until his life was the sacrifice? Might he not die on that dreary coast, and leave his wife and children among savages in that far land? Every motive that could influence Egede was brought forward, to persuade him to give up his post. Eight years he had spent in that frozen clime; should he now desert it in despair?

Ann Egede knew and felt the terrors of her position, but she spoke not to counsel return; now as ever the husband and wife were one in purpose, one in heart. "Feed my lambs," was the risen


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Saviour's charge to the repentant Peter; and that message seemed now breathed anew into the ears of Egede and his loving wife. One hundred and fifty children of the Greenlanders claimed their care, and were already under their instruction. These "little ones" they could endeavor to train for Christ, and with them they resolved to remain. The familiar faces, speaking the familiar language, turned away from them. Every European departed in the homeward bound ship, and Egede and his wife were left alone in the land of their adoption. Not alone, for there was One with them "like unto the Son of man;" one mighty to sustain, and strong in every hour of need.

Four more years the faithful missionaries had been sowing the gospel seed in faith, when three true Christian brothers came to cheer their hearts, and aid their efforts.

Hardly had the devout thanksgivings of Egede been lifted up to heaven for this unexpected mercy,


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when a new calamity overtook his people. That fearful disease the small-pox suddenly seized upon the natives, and swept, a devouring pestilence, over the land. In the midst of the dead and dying stood Egede, his sons, and the Moravian missionaries who had come up to his aid. Whole villages were left desolate by this awful scourge. The rude natives who had peopled the desolated huts, were buried by the careful hands of the strangers. Buried, we say; though in that land of ice, the hard earth does not receive the dead, but the cold body is laid upon the cold ground, and there covered with stones, that the wild beasts may not prey upon what was once the frail habitation of a human soul.

We will not dwell upon the scenes of distress that Egede and his companions were called upon to witness. They tried to lift the eyes of the dying to Jesus on the cross. They comforted the orphans, and gave them into the maternal care of Ann Egede. Her home became a hospital, whither the sick were


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carried, till there was no room for more. At the bedside of those sufferers, Ann Egede was not only a tender, careful, untiring nurse, but she had another office to perform for the people of her husband's charge. In health she had spoken to them of the love of Jesus, and now when life was fading from their sight, she strove to lead them to the only hope that can make glad the dark valley of the shadow of death.

Many and many a sick-bed had been left vacant, as the lifeless body had been borne to its last home, before the pestilence seemed passing away. At length, after raging for eight months, its ravages ceased. Then the poor weak survivors began to rally, and to speak their thanks to the strangers who had wasted their strength and perilled their lives in their service.

The hearts of the Greenlanders were touched at last. Now, for the first time, they had been made to feel the power and beauty of the character of those


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who truly follow Jesus. Those who had been enemies to Egede were overcome by the kindness they received. One of them said, with trembling lips, as he began to recover, "You have done for us what our own people would not do. When we hungered you have fed us. You have buried our dead. You have told us of a better life." How such words must have gladdened the heart of the missionary, who had so long labored with no signs of success!

"Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you; pray for them that despitefully use you." The heathen had seen these commands fulfilled, and they owned the power and truth of a religion which could lead to such forgiveness and self-denial, though as yet they did not embrace it. Egede would have given his own life's blood to have brought one heathen to the knowledge of Christ, but he had a dearer price to pay for this his first mere shadow of success in the path he had chosen. While exerting herself incessantly for others, Ann Egede had not


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noted her own failing strength and feeble footsteps; but when those whom she had nursed were rejoicing in returning health, it was plain that her vigor had departed and her end was near.

The tender nursing of her children, the silent anguish of her husband could not keep her spirit here. Calmly she spoke of her approaching change to the weeping circle around her. Her husband was as one crushed by the power of an overwhelming unexpected announcement. While she was bright with the joy of one who is almost in sight of the eternal city, his heart was wrung with agony. He could not believe that his once strong, beautiful, devoted, matchless wife, was to leave him al one [sic] laborer in the land where she had upheld his spirit, and made glad his humble home.

Peacefully she awaited the slow approach of death, peacefully she bowed to the destroyer. Her blessing on the husband she had so loved was on her dying lips, as those lips grew stiff and still for ever.


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Ann Egede had ceased to live on earth, but her soul had entered upon the gracious eternal reward in store


[Illustration : A man kneels at the bedside of a woman, who looks very ill. He is holding her gently, looking distressed. An open book is laid on a small bench near the head of the bed, and some medicines are standing on a table near its foot. A picture of windmills is hanging on the wall.]
for such as "through faith and patience inherit the promises."




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A feeble woman by nature, Ann Egede had been enabled to bear sufferings, and to face dangers from which strong men shrank in fear. A true wife, a loving mother, a devoted Christian, she has left a memory which makes the shores of Greenland sacred.

For a few years, the blighted, crushed Hans Egede lingered in the home where he had once been a happy husband. His children sought to comfort him. His eldest daughter devoted herself to him, and tried to fill her mother's place. Vain for a while were their tender efforts; the wound was too deep for earthly hands to cure.

The son who had been absent in Denmark at the time of his mother's death, returned to his Greenland home, to act as a missionary in a new colony. On him the father looked with sacred pleasure. The boy who had been taught the love of Jesus from his mother's lips, was to preach in that holy name on the soil where she was laid in death. He had a successor who would lift up the banner of Christ in


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this far land, when he should be no more able to serve his Master on earth.

In 1736 Egede was called by the king of Denmark to leave his adopted country, and return to his friends. A broken, sorrowful man, Egede was welcomed back to the land he had left when so full of hope and zeal, with his priceless wife at his side.

At the head of a seminary for orphans, Egede found a sphere of usefulness suited to his stricken spirit and impaired health.

The daughter, who had personally so resembled her mother, proved like that mother in her unselfish affection for Hans Egede. To him she devoted her life; and when, at the age of seventy-three, he died in the calm peace of a Christian, her ear caught his last words, and her hand closed his eyes when his freed spirit had fled to its eternal home.

Greenland! that dreary land! at its name let us ever remember the faithful ones who went thither to bear all things for Christ's sake, and let us be moved


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to labor like them to spread wide the blessings of the Gospel!

***For the facts in the above sketch, the writer is indebted to the memoir of Ann Egede, in Mrs. L. H. Sigourney's "Examples of Life and Death."




[Illustration : An illustration of a fox in an arctic scene. Behind the fox is a stone tablet, perhaps a tombstone, decorated with writing too small to be legible.]




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