ONE OF THESE
I have to tell you is a sad one, but we are writing of war.
It was three days after the Lusitania went down. Leaving the
plains and hills of war-harried France, I had come out across the waters to
serve where service was most needed at the moment.
Drawing near to the scene of the disaster, I met a child-soul who
wandered up and down looking for something which it could not find—a girl-child
of maybe a dozen years, with troubled and bewildered eyes.
“Can I help you?” I asked, taking her by the hand, so that she
ceased her restless moving to and fro and paused with me.
“I have lost my mother,” she said. “Where is my mother?”
“I do not know,” I answered, “but we will look for her.”
It is not always easy for a bewildered soul to
find in the astral world another soul whom it seeks, though it is sometimes very
easy for a calm soul to find another. As on earth, the one we look for with
turmoil in our hearts seems to be held away from us by invisible hands.
Passing along with the child, I met many others equally bewildered.
All were looking for someone or for something.
“Why are we here?” asked the child. “I thought we were going to
“Do you not know that you have been drowned?” I asked.
“Did I really drown when I was in the water?”
“I thought it was a dream, for I have been asleep.”
“Yes, you have been asleep, but the drowning was no dream.”
“Then where am I?”
“You are in the other world.”
“The other world! But I thought the other world was heaven.”
“Heaven is also in the other world.”
“You do not mean that I have gone to the bad place?”
“No, you have not gone to the darkest place,” I
said, “and you will find your way to heaven by and by.”
“But why was I drowned? Why did the ship go down? It was such a
beautiful ship, and we were so happy playing about the decks!”
“You were drowned because Germany is at war with England.”
“But why should they drown me?”
“In an attempt to prove that England does not hold the seas.”
“But what has that to do with me?”
“Nothing, my child. It has nothing to do with you. You are only a
“But who drowned us?”
“The commander of a submarine.”
“Is he a very bad man?”
“I cannot imagine a good man doing it.”
“And why can’t I find my mother? Was she drowned, too?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Then you don’t know everything?”
“No, I don’t know everything.”
“Are you an angel?”
“No, I am not an angel.”
“What are you, then?”
“And were you drowned, also?”
“No, I came to the other world more than three years ago.”
The child began to cry. Did you suppose that children never cried
after death? Dead children often cry. Would you not cry at the thought of being
drowned, if you woke and could not find your mother?
I too could have cried with the child, for I have had children of my
own, and one of them died young.
“Have I been very bad without knowing it, that I should be drowned
like this?” asked the little girl.
“No, I do not think that you have been very bad.”
As we passed across the rough waters we saw the corpse of a woman
floating face upwards in the pale light. The child could see it dimly, though
not so well as I.
Have you ever seen a living child weeping over the soulless corpse
of its mother? If that seemed sad to you, would it not seem sadder to see the
living soul of a child weeping over the corpse of a mother whose soul was
absent? To me it was the most pitiful of all sad sights.
“Come away, little one,” I said, “your mother
is not here.”
A little farther on we saw the body of a child also floating face
upwards in the pale light. I knew whose body it was, and so did the child.
“Why, it isn’t pretty anymore!” she said.
“Come away, little one,” I repeated, “come and look for the mother.”
But she seemed held fast by the floating thing in the water. No, it
was not pretty; but the soul beside me was very beautiful for all its sadness.
“What will become of it?” she asked, awestruck.
“I do not know.”
“Do you think they will bury it somewhere?”
“If they find it they will bury it.”
“If we wait to look for them, we may not find the mother.”
We met many women passing to and fro over the water, mothers looking
for their children, wives seeking their husbands, some seeking their own lost
forms, others merely passing to and fro in bewilderment and grief.
“It is very sad to die,” said the child.
“It is not always sad to die,” I answered. “It is sometimes
beautiful to die.”
“Where is the man who drowned us?”
“Why, do you want to see him?”
“I want him to see me.”
“He will see you his life-long in dreams,” I said, “whether he lives
to be old, or dies tomorrow.”
Coming toward us across the sea was the form of a woman wringing
“Where is my child? Where is my child?” she was saying over and
“Mother, I am here!” cried the little girl, and the two forms melted
in a close embrace.
“I have found you! I have found you!” the mother and child repeated
over and over, as they clung together.
I remained near them a little while, for I wanted to help them to
free themselves from the sadness of their fate.
“Will you not come with me?” I asked them, when they could listen.
“But where shall we go?”
“Away from here.”
“I want to go home,” said the child.
“We are homeless now,” the mother answered; “we are in the other
“Then you also know what has happened?” I asked her.
“Oh, yes, I know, I know!”
“Will you not come away with me?” I repeated.
“Are you an angel?” asked the mother, even as the child had asked.
I told her who I was and what I was doing there.
“Is there no help for us?” she asked.
“It is to help you that I have come.”
“But where shall we go?”
“Anywhere, away from here.”
As we stood talking together, another woman came toward us looking
for a lost child; another child—not hers—came toward us looking for a lost
I am willing to tell you that I did not well know what to do with
all these stricken souls. Where could I take them for rest or comfort?
The whole astral region around the earth is
full of sadness and crying. Only the strongest and most resolute souls can get
far enough away to escape the gloom and the horror. And these newly arrived ones
have not the strength; for you must know that in this world we go where our
desires and our thoughts go, and we go with our fears and our griefs.
I led the mother and child to another part of the world, and left
them with others in the care of two ministering older souls who have given
themselves to this sad work. But as one cannot teach a child the differential
calculus, so we cannot take to the lofty regions of peace those beings in whose
hearts there is no peace.
I shall ask the advice of the Teacher as to how much I should tell
the world of the awful conditions around us.
Even the restoration of peace on earth will not immediately purge
the astral world of the sores of war. You think that you suffer—and I know
better than anyone else how much; but you can escape into the material world,
you can walk on the green hills in the sunshine, you can rise occasionally to
the place of spiritual calm above the conflict astral and material. These
millions of grieving ones cannot go back to the physical, and few of them can
yet rise to the spiritual. Their immediate future is a problem for the greatest
of the Masters, a problem that taxes the wisdom of the Masters of wisdom.
Hold steady, you for whom there is another day
of anxiety not far off. Hold steady; for though you may not realize it, I to
whom you look for strength find also strength in you. That is a mystery which I
may or may not explain by and by. You are a solid platform from which I can
spring, when I need the force of a material base. I shall not over-use it.
If you are unable to stand the strain, alone as you are now, you may
communicate with my son; but do that only as a last resort. You must learn to
In my other writing the strain on you was far less, the need of your
strength far less. You could not have done then what you are doing now, nor
could I have done then what I am doing now.
Again I say, hold steady.
The wounds, the tortured faces which you see at night, the pitiful
appeals for help which you try to answer, are only typical of what we see and
try to help, nightly, daily and hourly.
I have used the actual substance of your
etheric body to build myself an optical instrument, through which I can see into
the sun-lighted world—your world. You will suffer no injury in the long run for
this loan that you have made me. Have you not pledged yourself to the service of
mankind? Mankind are out here as well as in there, and the eyes I have built of
your substance have enabled me to do service which otherwise I could not have
Count that with your good karma.