John Bunyan's Dream Story/Part II/Section 1

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The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream: The Second Part[edit]

The Author's Way of Sending Forth His Second Part of the Pilgrim[edit]

Go now, my little book, to every place
Where my first Pilgrim has but shown his face,
Call at the door. If any say, " Who's there?"
Then answer thou, "Christiana is here."
If they bid thee come in, then enter thou,
With all thy boys; and then, as thou know'st how,
Tell who they are, also from whence they came;
Perhaps they know them by their looks or name.
But, if they should not, ask them yet again
If formerly they did not entertain
One Christian, a Pilgrim. If they say
They did, and were delighted in his way,
Then let them know, that those related were
Unto him; yea his wife and children are.
Tell them that they have left their house and home,
Are turnèd Pilgrims, seek a world to come;
That they have met with hardships in the way,
That they do meet with troubles, night and day;
Yea, tell them of the next, who have,
Of love of pilgrimage, been stout and brave
Defenders of that way, and how they still
Refuse this world, to do their Father's will.
Go, tell them also of those dainty things,
That pilgrimage unto the Pilgrim brings.
Let them acquainted be, too, how they are
Belovèd of their King, under his care.
What goodly mansions he for them provides,
Though they meet with rough winds and swelling tides;
How brave a calm they will enjoy at last,
Who to their Lord, and by his ways hold fast.
Perhaps with heart and hand they will embrace
Thee, as they did my firstling, and will grace
Thee and thy fellows with such cheer and fare,
As show that they of Pilgrims lovers are.
—JOHN BUNYAN.

Introductory paragraph[edit]

Some time ago I told you of my dream about Christian the Pilgrim, and of his dangerous journey to the Celestial Country; and the telling of it was pleasing to me and I hope profitable to you. Now, not long ago, I went down again towards that place wherein there is a Den; and having taken up my lodgings in a wood near by, I slept and dreamed again.

The Departure[edit]

I thought that I saw in my dream the little house in the City of Destruction, which had once been Christian's home. In that house sat Christian's wife, her eyes full of brinish tears and her mind burdened with many grievous thoughts.

Then, as she moaned and wept, she said to her children, "Sons, we are all undone. Your father is gone to the Celestial Land. He would have had us with him, but I would not go. And now we are left alone in this place with no one to comfort us."

With that the boys fell all into tears, and cried out to go after their father.

"Oh, that we had gone with him!" cried Christiana, for that was her name. "Oh, that we had shared his burden and his perils, for then had it fared well with us."

Then all wept and cried out, "Oh, woe worth the day!"

In the morning when they were up and still feeling very sorrowful, they heard some one knocking hard at the door.

"If thou comest in God's name, come in," said Christiana.

So he opened the door and came in, saying, "Peace be to this house."

Christiana saw that he was a messenger, and her heart waxed warm, for she hoped that he brought news of her husband.

Then he said to her, "My name is Secret, and I dwell with those that are high. I have come from the Lord of the Celestial Land to tell thee that he is willing to receive thee. He invites thee to come to his table, and he will feed thee with the fat of his house. Thy husband is already there, and he will be glad to hear the sound of thy feet."

At this the good woman was quite overcome, and she cried out, "Sir, I am ready to go. Will you carry me and my children with you?"

Then answered the messenger, "Christiana, the bitter is before the sweet. You must pass through troubles, as Christian did, before you can enter the Celestial City. Follow the light which you see dimly in the distance. Go to the wicket gate. Keep to the straight and narrow way."

Having said this, the messenger bade her farewell, and Christiana called her sons together.

"Come, my children," she said, "let us pack up and be off to the gate that leads to the Celestial Land."

When the children heard this, they danced for joy, for they longed to follow in the footsteps of their father. So all made haste to get ready for the journey.

But just as they were about to be gone, two women who were neighbors of Christiana came up to the house and knocked at the door. And when they saw the mother and the boys all ready to set out from their home, they were much surprised.

"Indeed, indeed, what is the meaning of this?" asked one of them, whose name was Mrs. Timorous.

"We are going on a journey," answered Christiana.

"A journey! Where to, I pray you?" cried Mrs. Timorous.

"Even to go after my good husband," said Christiana; and with that she began to weep.

"I'm afraid you'll be sorry for it," said Mrs. Timorous. "Only think of the perils in your way. Think of your four little boys, and remember that the safest place is at home."

"Tempt me not, my neighbor," answered Christiana. "I have fully made up my mind, and nothing can turn me back."

"Fool! fool!" said Mrs. Timorous, and she mocked Christiana and spoke many bitter words to her. Then she turned to the other young woman and said, "Come, Mercy, let us go home. She will have her own way, and so let her suffer as she deserves."

But Mercy's kind heart was touched at the thought of parting with Christiana. So she answered Mrs. Timorous, and said, "Nay, I think I will walk a little way with her and the boys. The day is bright and fair, and I will help them to get well started on their journey."

"Ha!" said Mrs. Timorous. "You want to go a fooling, too, do you? But take heed in time, and be wise. While we are out of danger, we are out; but when we are in, we are in."

Then Mrs. Timorous returned to her own house. And Christiana and her boys went out hopefully and began their journey. And the sweet-faced maiden whose name was Mercy went with them.

"I will be your companion even to the wicket gate and as much farther as the King will permit me to go," she said.

At the Wicket Gate[edit]

Now I saw in my dream that they went onward over the plain in the way which Christian had gone before them. The way was rough and uneven, and they often grew tired; but Mercy was ever at hand to cheer and comfort them, and oftentimes she took the youngest child in her arms and carried him.

They came, by and by, to the great bog, the Slough of Despond, and it was even more miry than it had been when Christian fell into it. But they must needs get across it; and Christiana sank deep in the mud more than once or twice. Mercy also came near sticking in the oozy mire. But the boys, being quick of feet and light of heart, went over without knowing that any bog was there.

So they went on until presently they came to the wicket gate. Then as they stood before it they began to wonder how they should get through. They saw the words written above it, "Knock and it shall be opened unto you." But which of them should do the knocking?

At last Christiana ventured to knock. She knocked and knocked and knocked, just as her poor husband had done. Then, from within, they heard a dog barking. It was a large dog, too, and the women and children were much afraid.

What should they do? They were afraid to knock again. They were afraid to run back, lest they should offend the King. They were afraid to stand still and wait.

After a time, Christiana went up, trembling, and knocked again. Then the keeper of the gate came, and having opened the wicket, he asked, "Who is there?"

Christiana answered him truthfully, "I am the wife of Christian who once did pass this way, and these are his children and mine. We would fain journey onward, through this gate, to the Celestial City."

Then the keeper took her by the hand and led her in. He also lifted the boys over the threshold and brought them through the gate.

"Suffer little children to come unto me," he said, and with that, he shut the wicket.

Now all this while, Mercy stood outside, trembling and crying; neither did she venture to make herself known. When Christiana saw that the maiden had been left behind, she began to intercede for her. "I have a dear friend who is waiting outside," she said. "She is on the same errand as myself; but she had not the courage to come in, seeing that no one has invited her."

At that moment a sudden knocking at the gate was heard. It was so loud that it startled those who were within.

"Who is there?" cried the keeper.

And Christiana answered, "It must be my friend."

So he opened the gate and looked out. But Mercy had fainted and had fallen upon the ground; for she was afraid that no gate would be opened to her, and the barking of the dog filled her with alarm.

Then the keeper took her by the hand and lifted her up. And when she had revived a little, he led her gently in and welcomed her to the place. So now all were safe on the safe side of the wicket gate; and while the keeper was going about his duties, they began to rejoice.

"How glad I am that we are here!" said Christiana.

"So may we all well be," said Mercy, "but I have indeed cause to leap for joy."

"When I heard that savage dog, I feared that we were indeed lost," said Christiana. "I had scarcely strength enough to knock."

"It was the same way with myself," said Mercy. "I came near losing all hope."

"I marvel in my heart why the keeper has such an ugly cur," said Christiana. "Had I known it, I would never have had the courage to come near the gate. But now that we are in, we are in, and I am glad."

"Well, the next time he comes near us, I will ask him why he keeps such a filthy beast in his yard," said Mercy.

"Yes, do!" cried all the boys; "and persuade him to kill the ugly thing. We are afraid he will bite us when we go out."

So, presently, when the keeper came again by the place where they were resting, Mercy asked him, "Good sir, why do you keep that cruel dog in your yard? We are all much afraid of him."

The keeper answered, "The dog is not mine, neither is he in my yard. He belongs to the castle which you see near by, and the castle yard comes quite close to the gate. He has frightened many honest pilgrims by his barking ; but he cannot get to them to harm them."

"We are glad of that," said the boys.

Then Christiana began to talk of their journey, and to inquire after the way. So the keeper of the gate brought them water to wash their feet; he set a table before them and gave them nourishing food; and when they had eaten and were refreshed, he showed them the narrow way which Christian had followed before them.

"This is the King's highway," he said. "Be sure that you do not wander from it."

So they thanked him for all his kindness, and he bade them Godspeed on their journey.

The House of the Interpreter[edit]

NOW I saw in my dream that Christiana and Mercy, with the four boys, went onward in the way they had been shown, and the weather was very comfortable to them.

They had gone only a little distance from the wicket gate when they saw a pleasant orchard on one side of the road. It was full of trees bearing all manner of beautiful fruit, and some of these trees grew so close to the highway that their branches overhung the wall.

So, as they were walking along, they saw on the ground many ripe apples which had fallen from the branches. These apples being mellow and sweet, the boys picked up not a few and did eat some of them as they went. But soon they began to feel sick, and all day long they suffered pain and were sorry.

"Well, my sons," said Christiana, "the fruit was not yours, and you should not have touched it." But she did not know that the orchard belonged to the giant owner of the castle. If she had, she would have been filled with fear.

So they went on until they came to the Interpreter's house, and there Christiana knocked as she had done at the gate before. Now when she had knocked, there came to the door a maid whose name was Innocent. The maid opened the door and looked; and behold two women were there.

"What is it that you wish here?" she asked.

Christiana answered, "We are pilgrims, and we have been told we would find a friendly welcome here. The day, as you see, is far spent, and we cannot well go farther to-night."

"Pray, what is your name, that I may tell it to my master?" said Innocent.

"My name is Christiana, and I am the wife of Christian, who passed this way some time ago. These four boys are his sons and mine, and this maiden is my young friend, Mercy, who is going with us on this pilgrimage."

Then Innocent ran joyfully into the house and cried out, "Only think who is at the door! It is Christiana and her children and her companion, and they wait to be lodged and entertained here to-night."

Then the Interpreter himself went to the door and welcomed them.

"Come in, thou faithful one," he said. "Come, children, come in. Come, maiden, come in."

So he led them into the great room of the house, and bade them sit down and rest. And all who were of the household came in to see them : and one smiled, and another smiled, and all smiled for joy.

Now, while supper was being made ready, the Interpreter took them into the different rooms and showed them the moving pictures and the other wonderful things which he had shown to Christian some time before. They saw the two children, Patience and Passion, and the man in the cage, and the man and his dream, and other instructive and curious things.

The Interpreter took them also into a room where there was a man with his eyes always turned towards the ground. This man had a muck rake in his hands, and he did nothing but rake to himself the straws and the sticks and the dust of the earth. But above his head there was a golden crown, which he might have taken and worn had he only looked upward and desired the best gifts.

"Straws and sticks and dust are the great things which many people now spend their time in raking together," said the Interpreter.

Then he led them into the largest room of the house, and a very brave room it was. "Tell me what you see here," he said.

They looked round and round, but there was nothing to be seen but a big spider on the wall.

"I see nothing," said Mercy.

"Look again," said the Interpreter.

"Well, I see an ugly spider hanging on the wall," answered Mercy.

"Yes, and this spider teaches us a lesson," said the Interpreter. "For is it not written, 'The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces'? So there are bad and loathly things even in the highest places."

Then he led them into the barnyard and showed the boys a brood of chickens drinking at a trough. And he told them how the mother hen cared for them and called them as she had need.

"She has a common call, when she gives them nothing," he said. "She has a special call, when she has something good for them. She has a brooding call, when she would gather them under her wings. And she has a call of alarm to warn them of danger. Even so does our King call us, his children."

Then he led them into his garden and showed them his flowers.

"See how different these flowers are," he said. "Some are tall, some are short; some have one color, some another ; some are better than the rest, some worse. But they stand where the gardener planted them and do not complain of their lot."

At length he took them again into the house; and when supper was ready they all sat down to a bounteous feast. And while they ate, one of the household played sweet music, and another sang. Thus the evening passed pleasantly; and that night the pilgrims rested from their weariness and were greatly refreshed.

In the morning they rose with the sun, and were soon ready to renew their journey. But the Interpreter would not let them go until they had bathed themselves in a fountain in his garden.

So they went and washed, the women and the boys also. And they came out of that bath not only sweet and clean, but much enlivened and strengthened. And they looked fairer and much more beautiful than they had ever looked before.

Then the Interpreter bade his servants give them new clothing, fine linen, white and clean. And when they were clad in these garments they stood amazed, each looking at the others and wondering because of their beauty.

Finally, the Interpreter called for a man-servant of his whose name was Greatheart.

"Greatheart," said he, "arm yourself with sword and shield. Put on your helmet and your coat of mail. Then go forth with these my daughters and these noble boys, and protect them on their way. Lead them to the House Beautiful, which will be their next resting place."

So Greatheart took his weapons and went out before them. The Interpreter bade them Godspeed, and they went on their way rejoicing.

Greatheart[edit]

Now I saw in my dream that they went on, and Greatheart walked before them. The way was narrow and sometimes steep, but they were refreshed and strong, and so they felt no weariness.

They passed the place where Christian's burden had fallen from his back; and they saw the tomb into which it had tumbled.

They passed also by the cliff where Christian had seen Simple, Sloth, and Presumption lying asleep.

Thus they went on till they came to the foot of the Hill Difficulty; and there Greatheart showed them everything that would interest them to see.

"Here," said he, "is the spring that Christian drank from, before he went up the hill. And here are the two byways where Formality and Hypocrisy lost themselves. These are very dangerous paths. They have lately been stopped up with posts and chains, as you see, but still there are many who venture into them rather than take the pains to climb the hill."

After they had rested a little while, they set forward to go up the hill; and Greatheart led the way. But before they got to the top, Christiana began to pant for very weariness.

"Surely, this is a breathing hill," she said; "I don't wonder that some people try to go around it."

Mercy, too, was very tired, and the youngest of the boys began to cry.

"Come, come," said Greatheart, "be brave a little longer. There is an arbor a little above, and there you may sit down and rest."

Then he took the little boy by the hand and led him the rest of the way: and at the hardest places he lifted him and carried him.

"Well, how do you like being a pilgrim?" he asked, when they had reached the top.

"Very well, sir, and I thank you," answered the boy. "It is like going up a ladder; but I would rather climb a ladder than fall into a pit."

So they went on till they came in sight of the lions. Now Greatheart was a strong man and was not afraid of the beasts ; but the boys cringed behind him, and were much alarmed.

"Well, well !" said Greatheart. "You boys were brave when there was no danger; but now you wish some one else to be brave."

Then he drew his sword and went forward to meet the lions; but suddenly an ugly giant stood in the road before him. The name of this giant was Grim, and it was his custom to waylay pilgrims who were going through this lonely place.

"How now?" he cried to Greatheart. "What are you doing here?"

Then answered the brave guide, "These women and children are going on a pilgrimage. This is the way they must go, and I will lead them safe through in spite of giants and lions."

"Indeed, you shall not," roared Grim. "You shall not go past me and my lions."

But Greatheart was not afraid. He said not another word, but rushed upon the giant with his sword. The big fellow drew back, and defended himself with his club.

"Ha! Do you think you will slay me here on my own ground?" he cried.

"We are on the King's highway," answered Greatheart. "You shall not hinder these pilgrims from passing."

And with that he gave the giant a blow which brought him to his knees. With that same blow he broke his helmet, and with the next he cut off his arm.

The giant roared so hideously that the women and children were greatly frightened. But when they saw him sprawling on the ground they were glad.

Now the lions were all the time roaring, and tugging at their chains; and the noise was so great and fearful that the pilgrims would have fled in terror had it not been for their guide. But he, taking the little boy by the hand, said to the others, "Come, now, and follow me. No hurt shall happen to you from the lions."

So they went on, but the women trembled as they passed the raging beasts. The boys looked as if they would die of fear ; but they clung close to their guide, and all got by in safety.

And now, looking up, they saw the House Beautiful not far ahead of them; and going on with haste, they soon came to the porter's lodge. Night was already come, and all was dark and silent within. But Greatheart went up to the gate and knocked loudly.

"Who is there?" cried the porter.

"It is I," answered Greatheart.

The porter knew his voice, for the brave guide had been there many times before. He hurried down and opened the gate; and when he saw Greatheart standing there, he said, "How now, Mr. Greatheart? What is your business here so late at night?" For he did not see the women and children who were behind him in the darkness.

"I have brought some pilgrims," answered the guide. "They wish to lodge here and rest for a while."

"They are indeed welcome," said the porter. "But why are you so late?"

"We should have come much earlier," said Greatheart, "but we were hindered by old Giant Grim who has often waylaid pilgrims and helped the lions. I had a long and hard fight with him, and I guess he will give no further trouble."

"Well, well! That is good news," said the porter. "Now come in and stay till morning."

"The pilgrims will go in," answered Greatheart, "but I must return at once to my master."

Then Christiana spoke up and thanked him. "You have been so loving and faithful, and you have fought so stoutly for us. How can we go on without you?"

"Yes," said Mercy, "we should have perished if you had not led us. Oh, that we might have your company to our journey's end!"

Then the little boy took him by the hand and said, "Oh, sir, won't you go on with us and help us? We are so weak, and the way is so rough and dangerous!"

"I must obey my master," answered Greatheart. "To-night I must return to him. But if he shall afterwards bid me be your guide, I will gladly come and wait on you. And so I bid you adieu."

And with that he turned and went back through the darkness.

At the House Beautiful[edit]

Now I saw in my dream that the porter led the pilgrims into the House Beautiful. He said to those who were within, "Here is the wife of Christian, with her children and her young friend Mercy. They have come hither on a pilgrimage."

Then Prudence and Piety and Charity, the good women of the house, hastened to welcome her.

"Come in, Christiana," they said. "Come in, thou wife of that good man. Come in, thou blessed woman. Come in, with all that are with thee."

So she went in, and the rest followed her. And they were very weary of their journey, and it was late; also they were faint with the fright they had been in because of the giant and the lions. So they desired, as soon as might be, to be shown to their rooms.

"Nay," said Charity and Prudence, "you must first refresh yourselves with a morsel of meat."

Then they were led to a table where food was offered them in plenty; and they ate and were refreshed. When they had supped, they were taken to their places of rest; and Christiana and Mercy were given the same room in which Christian had slept when he was there before them; and the name of that room was Peace.

Now as they lay composing themselves to sleep, Mercy suddenly cried out, "Hark ! Do you hear that sound?"

"Yes," said Christiana; "I do believe it is the sound of music. They are having music for joy that we are here."

"Wonderful!" said Mercy. "Music in the house, music in the heart, music everywhere for joy!"

So they lay quietly and listened, and soon fell asleep.

Now when the morrow was come, the sisters of the house would in no wise consent that the pilgrims should go forward. "Tarry with us for awhile," they said. "The summer is yet long, and there is no haste that you should finish your pilgrimage."

They, therefore, abode in the House Beautiful, not only one day, but two and many more. And every day they saw some new sight or learned some new and striking truth; and their hearts were filled with joy and peace.

It so chanced that a young man whose name was Mr. Brisk came often to the house to see the sisters and to talk with them about the many things that were of interest to them all. He was a very busy little man, bustling hither and thither, and making believe that he was serving the King.

The maidens of the house had some doubts of him, and Prudence and Piety treated him quite coldly. But Charity said, "Let us think no wrong of him;" and so his visits were continued, and every one hoped that he might prove to be as good as he pretended.

Now when Mr. Brisk saw Mercy, how fair and gentle she was, he began to admire her very much. He cared no more for the company of Piety or of Charity; but every day he came to see the sweet face of Mercy and to listen to her pleasant voice. But most of all, he took notice that she was never idle; and he said to himself, "A maiden so diligent would make the best wife in the world."

But Mercy's mind was full of thoughts for the good of others; and when she had nothing to do for herself, she would be knitting or sewing and making garments for the needy.

One day when she was alone, Mr. Brisk came in and found her at her old work, making things for the poor.

"What ! always at it ?" he asked.

"Yes," she answered, "either for myself or for others."

"And how much can you earn in a day?" he asked.

"I make these things for the love of others, and not for pay," she answered.

"What do you do with them?" said he.

"I give them to those who are most in need," she said, simply. "It is better to clothe the naked and feed the hungry than to lay up treasures."

With that, the young man's countenance fell, and he soon took his leave.

Some days afterward, Prudence said to him, "We do not see you at the house any more. Has Mercy no more charms for you?"

"Well, indeed," he answered, "I think Mercy is a pretty girl, but her habits are not such as a busy man can admire."

And that was the last of his visits to the House Beautiful.

About this time Matthew, the eldest of the four boys, fell sick. He was so sick that his mother feared he would die; and so a doctor was called in. The name of the doctor was Skill; and when he saw the boy he knew at once what ailed him.

"What kind of food has Matthew been eating?" asked Dr. Skill.

"The food that is set before us here by the sisters of the House Beautiful," answered Christiana. "He has had only that which is most wholesome."

"But he is sick of something that he ate before he came to this place," said the doctor. "He has something in his stomach that won't digest, and it has been there a long time."

Then Samuel, the second son, spoke up and said, "Mother, don't you remember the orchard we passed just this side of the Wicket Gate? The trees hung over the wall, and we picked up some of the fruit that had fallen on the highway."

"True, my child," said Christiana. "And I scolded you all for eating of those apples."

"I took only a bite," said Samuel, "but Matthew ate more than one."

"There!" said Dr. Skill. "I knew the symptoms, and it is that fruit that has made him sick. That was Beelzebub's orchard, and the fruit which grows on his trees is very poisonous."

Then the physician made up some pills which he gave to Matthew, and the boy, though he made wry faces and. cried bitterly, was forced to swallow them. The next day the sickness began to leave him, and soon he was able to walk about the house and the garden.

And now the time was about come for the pilgrims to renew their journey; but, just as they were getting ready to depart, some one knocked on the door.

The porter opened it, and behold, there was Greatheart, the guide, standing on the threshold. He had on his armor, and his sword and shield were at his side. How joyful the pilgrims were to see him !

"I have come to guide and protect you during the rest of your journey," he said. "And here is a bottle of wine and some parched corn which my master has sent for each of you. He has also sent the boys some figs and raisins, to refresh them on the way."

Soon they were ready to depart. They thanked the porter for his kindness, and again set their feet on the King's highway. And Piety, Prudence, and Charity walked a little way with them.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.