Page:Christmas Fireside Stories.djvu/326

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314 The Charcoal-Burner. said that such sermons were never heard before, and one of them happened to recollect the last one about the old widow's mare and repeated it all to the dean. " That was a very good sermon," said the dean ; " he spoke very likely in parables and impressed upon you to seek the light and to shun the darkness and its deeds, when he spoke about those who were walking on the broad or the narrow road ; and par ticularly do I consider his notice about the old widow's mare a splendid parable as to how it will fare with us all in the end. The breeches pocket with the hole in it referred to his wants, and the piece of stuff was the offerings and gifts he expected from his congregation," said the dean. " Yes, wc thought as much," they said ; " it was all about his offerings, sure enough ! " And so the dean said that he thought the parish had got such a good, sensible parson, that they should not complain of him, and the end was, that they got no other parson ; but as time wore on he got worse instead of better, and so they complained to the bishop. Well, after a long time the bishop came round on a visitation, but the charcoal-burner had been in the church the day before without anybody knowing of it, and had sawed the pulpit in several places, so it only hung together when one walked up the steps carefully. So when the congregation had assembled, and the parson was to preach before the bishop, he stole quietly up the steps and began his sermon in his usual style, but after håving gone on for some time he spoke up, threw up his arms, and cried out : "If there is any one here, who has any evil deed or thought in his mmd, it were better he left this place, for to-day, this very day, there will be a fall, the like of which has not tåken place since the creation of the world ; " and with that he struck the pulpit with his hands, and down tumbled both pulpit and parson with such a crash, that the congregation took to thei'r heels and ran out of the church, as if the day of judgment had come.