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The Song of our Syrian Guest   By: (1863-1957)

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E text prepared by Al Haines

The Song of our Syrian Guest


William Allen Knight

Illustrations and Decorative Designs by Charles Copeland



The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

To the hand that held the tea ball and the faces of two little maids


Three months have gone by since this little child of my heart went out into the world, a strayling in the scanty dress of a booklet. In that time many thousands have looked kindly on the little wanderer and welcomed it into their homes. Letters from everywhere have come in, saying in effect: "It came to my door yesterday, and its voice has been sweet to me, and I am glad to have it stay with me." For all this I am most thankful. But it is hard to realize that the small circle of those who loved this story a few months ago has grown now to a multitude.

Surely none of us ought to be surprised that our story has itself grown under all this kindness, after the manner of children. Indeed, as we are sending it forth newly clothed, I find that it is larger by half than when I last prepared it for journeying.

I am set to wondering whether it will not grow quite away from me and have a life of its own. Healthy children do that very thing usually, and wise parents are willing to have it so.

But I cannot cease to remember that this story is out of my own life. It lay in my heart unborn for long. It came forth in a time of shock and pain. There is One who knows why its face is unmarred and bright with the gladness of trust. I think God has let it speak to so many hearts for this reason.

Go then, little story; be bearer of thy message of cheer and glad restfulness. I cannot follow thee into lives that need to hear thy voice; but speak thou to them, and I shall be content.

Yet I know, friends of mine, that as you look up somewhere in the world from these pages, you will want to ask me a question.

It has been asked and answered many times already. Because I know some of you are in sick rooms, some are lonely and some companioned by grief, some are poor and some for the time are misunderstood, some are discouraged and some feel themselves little loved, some are young and cannot find their way, and some are old and wayworn, because I know all of you have need of the Shepherd's watch, I want to answer your question. Yes, we did indeed have such a guest, a man whose home was among the Syrian shepherds, a man who well knew the life which rightly interprets the Shepherd Psalm.

I give my word that this story's message about the Psalm's meaning is straight from David's land. We had such a guest and he told us these things out of the life of his people, as we sat together one night over fragrant cups of tea.

W. A. K.

Boston, January, 1904.

Can there be anything more poetic than this life of the Syrian shepherd? It ought to be religious, too. Far, far away, out on the lone mountain, with the everlasting hills around, and heaven above, pure, blue, and high, and still. There go and worship in solemn silence and soul subduing solitude, worship the Most High God in his temple not made with hands.

And now the lights are out in the village, the shepherds are asleep by the side of their flocks, the tinkling bell from the fold falls faintly on the still night air, and the watch dog bays drowsily from his kennel at the gate... Continue reading book >>

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