Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
God and the Flowers
(From “My Lady of the Chimney-Corner”)

By Alexander Irvine

(An Irish peasant lad, born 1863, who became in turn stableman, man-of-war’s-man, slum-missionary, clergyman, and Socialist agitator. A tender and loving picture of the author’s mother, an Irish peasant-woman)
THAT night there was an unusual atmosphere in her corner. She had a newly tallied cap on her head and her little Sunday shawl over her shoulders. Her candle was burning and the hearth stones had an extra coat of whitewash. She drew me up close beside her and told me a story.  1
  “Once! a long, long time ago, God, feelin’ tired, went to sleep an’ had a nice wee nap on His throne. His head was in His han’s an’ a wee white cloud came down an’ covered him up. Purty soon He wakes up an’ says He:  2
  “‘Where’s Michael?’  3
  “‘Here I am, Father!’ said Michael.  4
  “‘Michael, me boy,’ says God, ‘I want a chariot and a charioteer!’  5
  “‘Right ye are!’ says he. Up comes the purtiest chariot in the city of Heaven an’ the finest charioteer.  6
  “‘Me boy,’ says God, ‘take a million tons of th’ choicest seeds of th’ flowers of Heaven an’ take a trip around th’ world wi’ them. Scatter them,’ says He, ‘be th’ roadsides an’ th’ wild places of th’ earth where my poor live.’  7
  “‘Aye,’ says the charioteer, ‘that’s jist like ye, Father. It’s th’ purtiest job of m’ afther-life an’ I’ll do it finely.’  8
  “‘It’s jist come t’ Me in a dream,’ says th’ Father, ‘that th’ rich have all the flowers down there an’ th’ poor haave nown at all.”  9
  At this point I got in some questions about God’s language and the kind of flowers.  10
  “Well, dear,” she said, “He spakes Irish t’ Irish people, an’ the charioteer was an Irishman.”  11
  “Maybe it was a woman!” I ventured.  12
  “Aye, but there’s no difference up there.”  13
  “Th’ flowers,” she said, “were primroses, buttercups, an’ daisies, an’ th’ flowers that be handy t’ th’ poor, an’ from that day to this there’s been flowers a-plenty for all of us everywhere!”  14

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