Now as I lodged in a wood, I slept, and as I slept, I dreamed again.
And in my dream I saw that Christiana (for that was the name of the wife of Christian from the day that she with her children began a pilgrim's life) could not rest after she heard that her husband had gone over the river.
With grief she remembered how she had refused all his loving entreaties that she and her sons should go with him to Mount Zion. Especially his bitter cry, "What shall I do to be saved?" rang in her ears.
And she said to her children, "Sons, I was foolish not to go with your father and not to let you go."
Then the boys began to cry and said they would go after their father, and Christiana wept with them and they all cried, "Oh woeful was the day we let him go alone."
The next night Christiana had a dream. She thought she saw two evil ones standing near her bed and saying, "What shall we do with this woman? She cries for forgiveness for all the wrong things she has done, both when she wakes and when she sleeps. We shall soon lose her as we lost her husband Christian. If we cannot make her think of other things rather than of her sins, she will also become a pilgrim."
Now Christiana awoke in great fear, and she trembled much, but after a while she fell asleep again.
And then she thought she saw Christian, her husband, in a very happy land. He had a harp in his hand and was playing upon it before One who sat upon a throne, with a rainbow around his head. She saw also that Christian bowed his head at his Prince's feet, saying, "I thank Thee, with all my heart, my Lord and King, for bringing me to this place." Then a great number of those that stood around the One that sat on the throne harped on their harps but no one could tell what they said, except Christian and his companions.
The next morning, when Christiana was up and had prayed to God and talked with her children, some one knocked at the door.
If thou comest in God's name, come in!" she called aloud. So the door opened and one came in, who said, "Peace be to this house."
Then he said, "Christiana, knowest thou why I have come?"
Then she blushed and trembled and longed to know from whence he had come and what was his message to her.
So he said to her "My name is Secret, and where I come from it is said that thou hast a wish to become a pilgrim. The Merciful One has sent met to tell thee that He inviteth thee into His presence, and Christian and many of his companions will be glad when they hear the sound of thy feet step the threshold of the Celestial City."
As she heard this she bowed her head to the ground, while her visitor went on to say "Christiana, here is also a letter for thee, which I have brought form Him who is they husband's King." So she took it and opened it, and the fragrance of it was as the fragrance of flowers. Also it was written in letters of gold, and it said that the King wished her to do as Christian had done, for that was the way to come to His City, and to dwell with joy in His presence.
"Then Christiana wept and said, "Sir, will you carry me and my children with you that we also may worship this King?"
But her visitor said, "Thou canst, like Christian, only after dangers, enter this Celestial City. Wherefore I advise thee to do as did Christian thy husband. Go to the Wicket-gate yonder, and I wish thee all good-speed. Also, take this letter, that thou may'st read it to thyself and they children. It is one of the songs thou must sing while thou art a pilgrim, and thou must also give it in at the Celestial Gate."
Then Christiana called her sons together, and told them of the dream that had made her tremble with fear in the night, and of the encouragement the strange visitor had brought her in the morning.
"Come, my children," she said, "let us pack up and go to the gate that leads to the Celestial City, that we may see your father and be with him and his companions in peace."
Then did her children burst into tears of joy, because they and their mother would journey together to the Celestial City.
So their visitor said farewell, and Christiana and her children prepared to go on their journey.
But while they were preparing to go, two women that were Christiana's neighbours came to her house and knocked at the door.
And when they came in and saw she was going away, they began to ask her where she was going.
Christiana answered, "I am preparing for a journey."
"For what journey?" they asked her.
"Even to go after my dear husband," said Christiana, and she began to weep.
Then she told here neighbors of her dream, and of the strange visitor, and of the letter he had left with her.
And she took out her letter and read it to them, and said, "Now what do you say to this?"
Then one of the neighbors said, "We have heard of the dangers Christian met with from the lions, from Apollyon, from Giant Despair, and in Vanity Fair. And if he, though a man, found the way so hard, what canst thou, being but a poor woman, do? Even if thou art so rash as to wish to go away, keep thou at home, for the sake of thy four sweet children."
But Christiana said, "Tempt me not, my neighbour, for I must go to the Celestial City."
Then the neighbour was angry and said, "Come, Neighbour Mercy," for that was the name of the younger one, "we will leave her for she will not listen to our counsel."
But Mercy said, "Nay, if Christiana will go, I will go also a little way with her, and help her. And if I find what she says is true," Mercy thought to herself, "I shall also go on with her with all my heart."
So the one neighbour returned to her house, but Mercy walked with Christiana and her children to help them on the way.
Then as they walked along together Christiana said, "Well, Mercy, come with us, for the King, who hath sent for me and my children, loveth Mercy too. Besides, if thou wilt, thou shalt go with me as my servant, only we will share everything together."
But said Mercy, "How can I be sure that the King will welcome me too? If I were sure He wished me, I would go to Him though the way were very long."
"Well, Mercy, I will tell thee what to do. Go with me to the Wicket-gate, and, if then thou art not encouraged to go on, I will be content that thou return to thy home."
"Then will I go thither," said Mercy; and Christiana was glad at her heart. But when they had walked on some way they came together to the Slough of Despond, and Christiana stood still, for, said she, "This is the place in which my dear husband was nearly smothered with mud." She saw also that though the King had commanded that this place should be made better for pilgrims, yet it was rather worse than it used to be.
For many pretend to be the King's labourers, and they say they are mending the King's highways, but these bring dirt and mud instead of stones, and so they are spoiling the Slough of Despond instead of mending it.
But as Christiana and her boys stood and looked, Mercy said, "Come, let us venture across, only let us be careful." Then they looked well to each step and managed to stumble over.
Now I saw in my dream Christiana and Mercy and the boys go all of them up to the gate. And since Christiana was the eldest it was arranged that she should knock for entrance, and that she should speak to Him that did open the gate, for them all.
So Christiana began to knock, and as her poor husband had done, she knocked and knocked again. But instead of any one opening the gate, they thought that they heard a dog barking at them,—a dog, and a great one too, and this made the women and children afraid. Nor dare they knock any more, for fear the mastiff should fly upon them.
Now they were greatly puzzled and knew not what to do. Knock they dare not for fear of the dog. Go back they dare not for fear the Keeper of that gate should see them and should be offended with them. At last they thought of knocking again, and knocked more loudly than at first.
Then said the Keeper of the gate, "Who is there?" And the dog left off barking and He opened the gate to them.
Christiana bent in lowliness to Him, and said, "Let not our Lord be offended, because we have knocked at His princely gate."
Then said the Keeper again, "Whence come you, and what is it you would have?"
Christiana answered, "We are come from where Christian did come, and if it shall please you, graciously admit us by this gate, into the way that leads to the Celestial City."
The Keeper of the gate did marvel at that, saying, "What, is Christiana a pilgrim now?"
Then she bowed her head and said, "Yes; and so are these, my sweet children also."
So He took her by the hand and led her in, and said also, "suffer the little children to come unto Me," and after that He shut the gate.
This done, He called to a trumpeter that was above, over the gate, to sound the trumpet for joy.
Now all this time poor Mercy did stand without, crying, for fear that she should not be allowed to enter. But when Christiana and her boys were within, Christiana began to tell her Lord that she had a companion who wished to be inside the gate.
Now Mercy began to be very impatient, for each minute was as long to her as an hour, wherefore she stopped Christiana's entreaty by knocking at the gate herself. And she knocked so loud, that she made Christiana start.
Then said the Keeper of the gate, "Who is there?"
And Christiana said, "It is my friend."
So he opened the gate and looked out; but Mercy had fallen down in a faint, for she was afraid that the gate would not be opened for her.
Then He took her by the hand and said, "Damsel, I bid thee arise," and He led her gently in.
Now I saw in my dream that He spake many good words to them, that made them glad. Then He left them for a little while in a summer parlour, where they talked together.
At last He came down to them again, and Christiana began to talk of their journey and to inquire about the way.
So He fed them and washed their feet and showed them the way. Then I saw in my dream that they walked on, and the weather was very pleasant to them.
Now along the way that Christiana and her companions went was a wall, and on the other side of the wall was a garden. And some of the fruit trees that grew in that garden shot their branches over the wall. So Christiana's boys, as boys are apt to do, being pleased with the trees and with the fruit that did hang there, did pluck them and began to eat. Their mother did also chide them for so doing, but still the boys went on.
"Well," said she, "my sons, the fruit does not belong to us"; but she did not know that it did belong to the enemy.
So they journeyed on to the house of the Interpreter. Now when Christiana knocked, there came to the door a young damsel, named Innocent.
"Pray what is your name that I may tell my Lord?" said the damsel.
Christiana answered, "I was the wife of Christian, that pilgrim that some years ago did travel this way, and these be his four children. This maiden is also my companion, and is a pilgrim too."
Then Innocent ran in, and said to those within, "Can you think who is at the door? There is Christiana and her children and her companion." Then they leaped for joy and went and told their Master.
And the Master, who was the Interpreter, said, "Why standest thou thus at the door? We were talking of thee just now, for tidings have come to us that thou art a pilgrim. Come, children, come in. Come, maiden, come in."
So he brought them all into the house, and they were bidden to sit down and rest. Then those that waited upon the pilgrims in the house came into the room to see them. And one smiled and another smiled, and they all smiled for joy, because Christiana was a pilgrim.
After a while, because supper was not ready, the Interpreter took them into a room, where there was a man that could look no way but downwards, with a muck-rake in his hand. There stood also One over his head, with a celestial crown in His hand and offered to give him that crown for his muck-rake.
But the man did not look up, but raked for himself the straw, the small sticks, and dust of the floor.
Then said the Interpreter, "Thou seest this man cares more to rake up straw and sticks and the dust of the floor than to take the celestial crown. This is to show thee that heaven is like an unreal place to some, and that to them, here is the only real place. Thou seest too that the man could look no way but downwards. That is to let thee know that sometimes men love things on earth so dearly that their hearts quite forget God."
Then the Interpreter took them another room where was a hen and chickens, and told them to look carefully. So one of the chickens went to the trough to drink, every time she drank she lifted up her head and her eyes towards heaven. "See," said he, "what this little chick doth, and learn from her to look up with thanks for all you receive from your Lord."
"Sir," said Christiana, "let us see some more." So he took them to where a butcher was killing a sheep, and behold, the sheep was quiet, and took her death with patience.
Then said the Interpreter, "You must learn of this sheep to suffer and to bear unkindness without murmuring or complaining. Your King doth call you His sheep."
Now supper was ready, so they sat down and did eat, when one had given thanks.
And the Interpreter did usually entertain those that lodged with him with music at meals, so the minstrels played. There was also one that did sing, and a very fine voice he had.
His song was this:—
"The Lord is my only support,
And He that doth me feed,
How can I then want anything
Whereof I stand in need."
Now when the song and music were ended and supper was over, they all went to bed.
In the morning they arose with the sun and prepared to go on their journey, but the Interpreter said, "Tary a while." Then he called Innocent the damsel, and told her to take the pilgrims into the bath and there wash them and make them clean from the stains they had got by travelling. So Innocent, the damsel, took them to the bath, and they all went in and washed, and they came out of the bath, not only sweet and clean, but also much stronger. When they came in they looked fairer a great deal than when they went out to be washed.
The Interpreter looked upon them and called them "Fair as the moon," and he brought a seal and put his mark upon them, so that they might be known in the places they were yet to go.
Then said the Interpreter again to the damsel, "Go and fetch garments for these people."
So she went and fetched white raiment and laid it down before him. It was very fine and white and clean.
When the pilgrims had put on these garments they looked at each other in surprise, and then said each to the other, "You are more fair than I."
The Interpreter then called for a man-servant of his, named Greatheart, and bid him take a sword and helmet and shield. "Guide these pilgrims," said he, "and bring them to the palace Beautiful, at which place they rest next." So he took his weapons and went before them, and the Interpreter said "God-speed."
Now I saw in my dream that they went on, and Greatheart went before them. So they came to the place where Christian's burden fell off his back and tumbled into the sepulchre.
Here then they stopped and thanked God, and Christiana said, "Though I was very glad before, yet now I am ten times more joyful."
Then they went on till they came to the foot of the hill Difficulty, where their friend Mr. Greatheart told them what had happened to Christian there. So he took them first to the spring, "Lo," saith he, "this is the spring that Christian drank of before he went up the hill." Therefore Christiana and Mercy and the boys drank also from the well.
Next he showed them the two paths that led round the foot of the hill. "And," said he, "these are dangerous paths. Two pilgrims lost themselves here when Christian passed on. And though, as you see, these ways have since been stopped up with chains, posts, and a ditch, yet some will wander round these ways, rather than take the trouble to go up this hill."
Then they set out and began to go up the hill, and up the hill they went. But before they got to the top, Christiana began to pant, and said, "This is a very steep hill, it is no marvel that some choose a smoother way."
And said Mercy, "I must sit down," also the youngest child began to cry.
"Come, come," said Greatheart, "sit not down here, for a little above is the Prince's arbour." Then took he the little boy by the hand and led him up.
When they were come to the arbour, they were all willing to sit down. And Christiana gave them a piece of pomegranate and some honeycomb to eat, and she gave them to drink out of a little bottle of spirits, which the Interpreter had given to her.
Now when they had eaten and drunk and had chatted a little longer, their guide said to them, "The day wears away, let us prepare to be going." So they got up to go and the little boys went before, but Christiana forgot to take her bottle of spirits with her, so she sent her little boy back to fetch it.
"I think this is a place for losing things," said Mercy. "Here Christian lost his roll, and there Christiana left her bottle behind her."
So they went on till they came within sight of the lions that had made Christian to fear. Now Greatheart was a strong man, so he was not afraid of a lion.
But yet when they were come up to the place where the lions were, the boys that went before were now glad to hide behind, for they were afraid of the lions. At this their guide smiled. "What is this, my boys, do you love to go before when no danger cloth approach, and love to come behind so soon as the lions appear?"
Now as they went up Mr. Greatheart drew his sword to make a way for the pilgrims in spite of the lions. Then there appeared one that was on the lions' side, and he said to the guide, "Why have you come hither?" Now the name of that man was Grim, and he was a giant.
And Mr. Greatheart said, "These women and children are pilgrims, and this is the way they must go, and go it they shall, in spite of thee and the lions."
"This is not the way," said Grim; "neither shall the pilgrims go this way. I am come forth to hinder them, and I will back the lions."
But Greatheart approached unto Grim, and fell on him so heavily with his sword that he made him go back a little.
Then said Grim angrily, "Will you slay me on my own ground?"
"It is the King's highway we are in," said the guide, "and in His way it is that thou hast placed thy lions." And he gave the giant a downright blow and brought him upon his knees. With this blow he also broke his helmet, and with the next he cut off an arm. Then did Grim the giant roar so hideously that his voice frightened the women, and yet they were glad to see him lie sprawling on the ground.
Now the lions were chained and could of themselves do nothing. Wherefore, when old Grim was dead Mr. Greatheart said to the pilgrims, "Come now and follow me, and the lions shall not hurt you."
They therefore went on, but the women trembled as they passed, and the boys were greatly afraid, but they all got safely by.
Now, then, they were in sight of the porter's lodge, and they made haste to reach it, because it was dangerous travelling there at night. So when they were come to the gate, the guide knocked, and the porter cried, "Who is there?" But as soon as the guide had said, "It is I," he knew his voice and came down, for the guide had often before that come thither as a conductor of pilgrims.
When he was come down Mr. Greatheart said, "I have brought some pilgrims hither, where, by my Lord's command, they must lodge."
"Will you not come in and stay till morning?" said the porter.
"No," said Mr. Greatheart, "I will return to my lord to-night."
"Oh, sir," said Christiana, "I know not how to be willing you should leave us. You have been so faithful and loving to us, and you have fought so bravely for us."
Then said Mercy, "How can we hold out in a way so full of dangers, without our guide?"
And James, the youngest of the boys, said, "Pray, sir, go with us and help us, because we are so weak and the way so dangerous."
"I am willing to go with you all the way, if my Lord chooses me to be your guide, however, just now I must return, and so good Christiana, Mercy, and you dear children, farewell."
Then Christiana, with Mercy and her children, was bidden to come in and sit down in a very large room, and the damsels of the household came in to welcome them. Now because it was late and because the pilgrims were tired with the journey, and faint with the sight of the fight and of the terrible lions, therefore they wished to prepare to go to rest.
"Nay," said those of the family, "eat first and refresh yourselves."
So when they had had supper, they prayed and sang a song, and then went to bed.
And as Christiana lay awake that night, she heard Mercy laugh as she slept.
So, early in the morning, she said, "Mercy, what made you laugh in your sleep? I suppose you were dreaming."
"So I was, and a sweet dream it was. But are you sure I laughed?"
"Yes," said Christiana, "you laughed aloud. But, Mercy, tell me thy dream."
"I dreamed that I sat all alone," said Mercy, "in a lonely place. And I was sorrowful because my heart was not tender and kind. Now I had not sat there long, when I thought many people gathered round me to see why I was sad. And when they heard me lamenting that my heart was not more gentle, some of them laughed at me, some called me foolish, and some began to push me about. Then I dreamt that I looked up and saw some one with wings coming towards me. So he came and said, "Mercy, why are you sad?"
"Now when he had heard why I was sorrowful, he said, "Peace be to thee." He also wiped mine eyes with his handkerchief and clothed me in silver and gold. He put a chain about my neck, and earrings in my ears, and a beautiful crown upon my head. Then he took me by the hand and said, "Mercy, come after me." So he went up and I followed till we came to a golden gate. Then he knocked, and when they within had opened, the man went in, and I followed him up to a throne, upon which One sat. And He said to me, "Welcome, Mercy." The place looked bright and twinkling like stars, or rather like the sun, and I thought that I saw Christian there. So I awoke from my dream. But did I laugh?"
"Laugh!" said Christiana, "well might you laugh while you dreamed so good a dream. We need not lie awake in bed to talk with God. He can talk to us while we sleep and cause us to hear His voice."
"Well; said Mercy, "I am glad of my dream, for I hope some day it will come true, and then it will make me laugh again."
Then said Christiana, "I think it is now time to get up and to find out what we must do."
"Oh; said Mercy, "if they ask us to stay a little while, let us gladly stay."
So when they came down, the damsels of the house begged them to stay for a while, and they said they would willingly stay for about a month.
Now Matthew the eldest son of Christiana was very ill while they stayed here. And he was in such great pain, that Christiana sent for Mr. Skill the doctor. When the doctor had come and watched the boy, he said to his mother, "What has Matthew been eating?"
"Nothing but what is wholesome," said Christiana.
But the doctor said, "This boy has been eating something that has made him as ill as he is."
Then Samuel, one of the boys, said, "Mother, you remember Matthew ate some fruit that hung over a wall, soon after we left the Wicket-gate?"
"Yes, my child," said Christiana, "he did eat like a naughty boy, though I chid him for doing so!"
"I knew he had eaten something that was not wholesome," said Mr. Skill. "Many have died from eating this fruit."
Then Christiana began to cry, and she said to the doctor, "Pray, sir, do all you can for him, whatever it may cost." So the doctor made a medicine for the boy; but though he was in great pain he did not wish to take it.
His mother tasted the medicine with the tip of her tongue. "Oh, Matthew," she said, "this medicine is sweeter than honey. If thou lovest thy mother, or if thou lovest thy brother, or if thou lovest Mercy, take it."
So after much ado he took it, and it caused him to sleep and rest quietly, and it soon took away all his pain. In a little time he was able to get up and walk about from room to room with the help of a staff.
Then Christiana thanked Mr. Skill with all her heart, and Mr. Skill bade Matthew take care what fruit he ate. Then he kissed him and went away.
Now about this time Christiana said they must go on their journey again, but first she sent a request to Mr. Interpreter, asking him to grant that Mr. Greatheart should go with them the rest of the way.
And Mr. Interpreter sent a message to tell Christiana that her request was granted, for, said he, "I will send Mr. Greatheart to guide you on the way."
Now about this time one knocked at the door. So the porter opened, and behold! Mr. Greatheart, and when he was come in what joy was there.
Then said Mr. Greatheart to Christiana and to Mercy, "My Lord has sent each of you a bottle of wine and some parched corn and a couple of pomegranates. He has also sent the boys some figs and raisins to refresh them on the way."
Now I saw in my dream that after Christiana had thanked the porter for all the kindness he had shown to her and to her children, they went forward on their pilgrimage till they came to the brow of a hill. And there they heard in a grove, a little way off on the right hand, most curious songs, full of melody. And one of the damsels had come to the brow of the hill with Christiana, and she told her that the songs were sung by the country birds.
"They sing but seldom," she said, "except in spring, when the flowers appear, and the sun shines warmly, and then you hear them all day long. "I often go out," she said, "to hear them, and sometimes we keep them tame in our house."
Then the pilgrims said farewell to the damsel, and they began to go down the hill into the Valley of Humiliation. It was a very steep hill and the way was slippery, but they were very careful, so they got down very well.
When they were down in the valley Christiana said, "Is this the place where Christian, my husband, met with Apollyon, and where they had that dreadful fight that they had?"
"It is true," said Mr. Greatheart, "that Christian did here meet with Apollyon, with whom he also had a sore combat. But we need not be afraid of this valley, for here is nothing to hurt us, unless we bring it on ourselves."
Now as they went on, Samuel said to Mr. Greatheart, "Sir, the valley is large. Where about was the fight my father had with Apollyon?"
"The battle was at a place yonder before us, in a narrow passage. And, indeed, that place is the most dangerous place is all these parts."
When they came to the place where the battle was fought, the guide said to Christiana, her children, and Mercy, "This is the place, and on this ground Christian stood, and up there came Apollyon against him. Behold, also, how here and there are yet to be seen upon the place some of Apollyon's broken darts. See, also, how with their blows they did split the very stones in pieces. Verily Christian was very brave here. When Apollyon was beaten, he retreated to the next valley, that is called the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and unto that valley we shall soon come."
Then when they had passed this place, they came to the borders of the Shadow of Death, and this valley was longer than the other. It was a place strangely haunted with evil things, but these women and children went more comfortably through it, because they had daylight and because Mr. Greatheart was their guide. When they had entered this valley they thought they heard a very great groaning. This made the boys afraid, the women also looked pale and sad, but their guide bade them be of good comfort.
So they went on a little further, and they thought that they felt the ground begin to shake under them, as if some hollow place were there. They heard also a kind of hissing as of serpents, but nothing was to be seen.
Then said the boys, "Are we not yet at the end of this dreary place?" But the guide told them to have courage and to watch their feet, "Lest," said he, "a snare entrap you."
Now James began to be ill, but I think the cause was fear. So his mother gave him some medicine she had got from Mr. Skill, the doctor, and the boy felt better again.
Thus they went on till they came to about the middle of the valley. Then Christiana said, "I think I see something yonder upon the road before us, a thing of a shape I have never seen before."
Then said Joseph, "Mother, what is it?
"An ugly thing, child, an ugly thing," she said.
"But, mother, what is it like?"
"It is like, I cannot tell what," said she, and now it was but a little way off.
Then said she, "It is nigh!"
"Well, well," said Mr. Greatheart, "let them that are most afraid keep close to me."
So the shape came on, and the guide met it, but when it was just come to him, it vanished from all their sights.
They went on, therefore, being a little refreshed, but they had not gone far when Mercy, looking behind her, saw, as she thought, something like a lion, and it followed after them at a great pace. And it had a hollow voice, and at every roar that it gave it made all the valley echo, and all their hearts to ache, save the heart of him that was their guide.
So it came up and Mr. Greatheart went behind and put the pilgrims all before him. The lion also came on, and Mr. Greatheart got ready to do battle. But when the lion saw that Mr. Greatheart meant to fight he also drew back and came no further.
Then they went on again and their guide did go before them, till they came to a place where there was a great pit right across the way. And before they could get over it, a great mist and darkness fell upon them, so that they could not see.
And the pilgrims said, "Alas, what shall we do?"
But their guide answered, "Fear not, stand still and you will see that we shall overcome this difficulty also." So they stayed there, because the path was blocked.
Also they then thought they did hear more plainly the noise and rushing of enemies. The fire also and smoke of the pit were much more clearly to be seen.
Then said Christiana to Mercy, "Now I see what my poor husband went through. I have heard much of this place, but I have never been here before. Poor Christian! he went here all alone in the night. It was night almost all through the valley. Also these fiends came near him, as if they would tear him to pieces. Many people have spoken of this valley, but none can tell what it really is till they themselves go through this Valley of the Shadow of Death:
"For my part," said Greatheart, "as I have told you already, I have often gone through this valley and found it much harder than I do now, yet, you see, I am still alive. Come, let us pray for light to Him that can lighten our darkness." So they cried and prayed, and God sent light and help, for now they found that where the pit had stopped them there was now no pit. Yet still they were not out of the valley.
Then said Mercy to Christiana, "This is not so pleasant as being at the Wicket-gate, or at the Interpreter's or at the Palace Beautiful."
"Oh, but," said one of the boys, "it is not so bad to go through here, as it would be to stay here always. Perhaps one reason why we go this way is that our home may seem all the sweeter to us."
"That is true," said the guide, "thou hast spoken like a man, and we shall be out of the valley by and by."
So they went on, and Joseph said, "Cannot we see to the end of this valley yet?"
Then said the guide, "Look carefully how you walk, for we shall soon be among snares." So they watched their feet and went on, but they were troubled much with the snares.
Now when they were among the snares they saw a man fallen into a ditch on the left hand, with his flesh all scratched and torn.
And the guide said, "This man was called Heedless, and as he went along this way he fell into the ditch. Also he has lain there a great while. You cannot think how many are killed here, yet men are foolish and set out on their pilgrimage without a guide. Poor Christian! it was a wonder that he escaped here. But he was loved by his God, and also he had a brave heart, or he could never have done it."
Now they drew towards the end of the valley, and just there, out of a cave, came forth Maul, a giant. This giant used to flatter and spoil young pilgrims.
When the giant saw Mr. Greatheart, he said to him, "How often have you been forbidden to do these things?"
"What things?" said Mr. Greatheart.
"What things!" answered the giant, "you know what things, but I will put an end to your doings," and he prepared to fight.
"But," said Mr. Greatheart, "before we begin, let us know why We must fight"
Now the women and children stood trembling and knew not what to do.
Then said the giant, "Thou art a kidnapper, for thou gatherest together women and children, and carriest them into a strange country, and so thou makest my master's kingdom weaker."
"I am commanded to do all I can to bring men, women, and children out of thy master's kingdom, for thy master is Satan," said Mr. Greatheart.
Then the giant came up, and Mr. Greatheart went to meet him, and as he went he drew his sword, but the giant had a club.
At the first blow, Maul, the giant, struck Mr. Greatheart down upon one of his knees.
When the women and children saw that, they cried.
So their guide got up again and gave the giant a wound in his arm. Thus they fought for about an hour, then they sat down to rest, but Mr. Greatheart began to pray. Also the women and children did nothing but sigh and cry all the time the battle did last.
When they had rested and taken breath they both began again, and Mr. Greatheart with a blow brought the giant down to the ground. Then he ran to him and pierced him under the ribs, till the giant began to faint and could hold up his club no longer. So Mr. Greatheart smote the head of the giant from his shoulders. Then the women and children rejoiced, and Greatheart also rejoiced, and praised God for His help.
When this was done they put up a pillar, and fastened the giant's head on it, and wrote underneath in letters that pilgrims might read:—
"He that did wear this head, was one
That pilgrims did misuse;
He stopp'd their way, he spared none,
But did them all abuse;
Until that I, Greatheart, arose,
The pilgrims' guide to be;
Until that I did him oppose
That was their enemy"
Now as they went thus on their way, one came running to meet them, crying, "Men and women, if you love your life, turn and flee, for robbers are before you."
"Well," said Mr. Greatheart, "if they come, we are ready for them," so they went on their way. Now they looked at every turning for the robbers, but perhaps they had heard of Mr. Greatheart, for they came not up to the pilgrims.
Christiana then wished for an inn for herself and her children, for they were weary.
So they came to the door of an inn, kept by a man called Gaius, and they asked if they might stay there all night.
"Yes," said Gaius, "if you are true pilgrims, for this house is for none but these."
Then were they all glad that the innkeeper was a lover of pilgrims, and they called for rooms. And Gaius showed them one for Christiana, one for her children, and one for Mercy, and another for Mr. Greatheart.
So after they had bathed, Gaius, the host, prepared supper for the pilgrims, and when they had all eaten, and after some talk of their journey, they all went to rest.
In the morning Samuel whispered to his mother, and said, "Mother, this is a very good man's house. Let us stay here a long while, and let my brother Matthew be married to Mercy before we go any further."
And Gaius heard what Samuel whispered to his mother, and said, "You may stay with a very good will, my child."
So they stayed there more than a month, and Mercy was married to Matthew, and about the same time Phebe, the daughter of Gaius, married James. After which they stayed yet ten days at Gaius's house, spending their time as pilgrims used to do.
When they were going to depart, Gaius made them a feast, and they did eat and drink and were merry.
Now the hour was come that they must go, wherefore Mr. Greatheart called for the bill.
But Gaius told him that at his house it was not the custom of pilgrims to pay for their entertainment. He looked for his pay, he said, from his Master, who had promised at His return to faithfully repay all.
Then Gaius took his leave of them, and Mr. Honest, Mr. Feeblemind, and Mr. Ready-to-Halt with his crutches, also joined themselves with Mr. Greatheart and his pilgrims.
Thus, therefore, they went on. Mr. Greatheart and Mr. Honest went before, Christiana and her children went next, Mr. Feeblemind ,and Mr. Ready-to-Halt came behind.
I saw now that they went on till they came to the river that was on this side of the Delectable Mountains. Beside this river was a house built for the babes and little ones belonging to the women who went on pilgrimage. Also there was One here who would carry the babes, and if any of them were lost He would find them. Here they would be safe from thieves and robbers, for this Man would die rather than let one of those given into His care be lost. So here many pilgrims left their little ones.
Now they went on, and they came to the stile over which Christian with Hopeful went when they were taken prisoners by Giant Despair. Here they sat down and wondered what was best to be done. Now that they were so strong and had Mr. Greatheart for their guide, should they not attack the giant? Should they not destroy his castle, and, if there were any pilgrims in the dungeons, set them free?
So one said one thing, and one said another, but at last Mr. Greatheart and Mr. Honest and Christiana's four sons set out for Doubting Castle to look for Giant Despair.
When they came to the castle gates they knocked with a great deal of noise, and the old giant came to the gate, and his wife followed him.
"Then said the giant, "Who dares to disturb Giant Despair?"
Mr. Greatheart replied, "It is I, Greatheart, one of the King's guides. I demand of thee that thou open thy gates and let me in. Prepare also to fight, for I am come to take away thy head and to destroy Doubting Castle."
Now Giant Despair, because he was a giant, thought no man could overcome him. So he put on his armour and went out. He had a cap of steel on his head, a breastplate of fire girded round him, and he came out in iron shoes, with a great club in his hand.
Then these six men attacked him behind and before, and when the giant's wife came up to help him, Mr. Honest killed her at one blow. Now they fought for their lives, and Giant Despair was brought down to the ground. He was very grieved to die, and struggled hard, but Greatheart was his death, for he did not leave the giant till he had cut off his head.
So they began to destroy Doubting Castle, and that was easy to do since Giant Despair was dead. They were seven days in destroying it.
In the castle they found two pilgrims almost starved to death. One was Mr. Despondency, and the other was his daughter, Much Afraid. These two they saved, and they followed Mr. Greatheart and his company of pilgrims.
When these pilgrims had thus bravely slain Giant Despair, they went on till they came to the Delectable Mountains, where Christian and Hopeful had seen wonderful sights.
Mr. Greatheart and these pilgrims also made themselves known to the Shepherds there, who welcomed them, as they had done Christian before, to the Delectable Mountains.
Then said the Shepherds, "This is a great company. You are welcome to us, and they made a feast for the pilgrims, after which they all went to rest."
When morning was come, because the day was clear, the Shepherds took them out to the fields and showed them all they had showed to Christian before.
Then they took them to some new places. And one of these places was called Mount Innocent There they saw a man clothed all in white. Two men were continually throwing dirt upon him. Now, behold, the dirt would in a little time fall off again, and his garment would look as clean as if no dirt had been thrown at it.
Then said the pilgrims, "What means this?"
The Shepherds answered, "The white garment is to show the goodness of this man's life. Now those that throw dirt at him are those that hate his goodness. But whoever try to make such good men dirty, try in vain. For in a little time God makes their goodness as plain as the daylight.
Next the Shepherds took them to Mount Charity. There they showed them a man that had a bundle of cloth lying before him, out of which he cut coats and garments for the poor, yet his bundle of cloth was never smaller.
Then said the pilgrims, "What does this mean?"
"This," said the Shepherds, "is to show you that whoever gives to the poor, shall never go without himself."
The Shepherds then took them to a place where they saw one man called Fool, and another man called Want-wit, washing a man who came from a country where all men are black. And the more they washed the man the blacker he was. "Thus," said the Shepherds, "shall it be with all who pretend to be what they are not."
By this time they had got to the Enchanted Ground, where the air was very drowsy. And the place was all grown over with briers and thorns, except here and there, where there was an enchanted arbour, in which, if a man sits, or in which if a man sleeps, it sometimes happens that he never rises or wakes again in this world.
Over this forest then they went, with Mr. Greatheart going before as their guide. Now they had not gone far when a great mist or darkness fell upon them all, so that they could scarce see one another. The way also here was very wearisome through dirt, nor was there on all this ground an inn where they could refresh themselves.
Here, therefore, was puffing and sighing, while one tumbled over a bush, another stuck fast in the dirt, and the children, some of them, lost their shoes in the mire.
"One cried, "I am down," and another, "Ho, where are you?" and a third, "I am caught in the bushes and I think I cannot get away from them."
Then the pilgrims asked their guide to strike a light, that they might go the rest of the way by the help of the light of a lantern. So he struck a light, and they went by the help of that through the rest of the way, though the darkness was very great.
But the children began to be very weary, and they cried out unto Him that loveth the pilgrims, to make their way more comfortable.
When they had gone a little further a wind arose that drove away the fog, so the air became more clear, and the pilgrims went on in joy and trembling.
After this I beheld that they were come into the land of Beulah, where the sun shineth day and night. Here, because they were weary, they rested a while. And because this country belonged to the King of the Celestial City, they might use the orchards and vineyards there, as if they were their own.
But a little while soon refreshed them here, for the bells did ring and the trumpets sounded so melodiously that they could not sleep, yet they were as refreshed as if they had slept very soundly.
Here also all those who walked in the streets cried, "More pilgrims are come to town." And another would answer, saying, "And so many went over the water and were let in at the golden gates to-day."
Then Greatheart and his pilgrims got up and walked to and fro. And they heard heavenly music and they saw beautiful sights.
In this place, too, the children would go into the King's garden and gather nose-gays for the pilgrims, and bring them to them with much affection.
Now after they had waited for about an hour, they heard in the town that a letter had come from the Celestial City, with news of great importance, to Christiana, the wife of Christian the pilgrim.
When the letter was brought to Christiana, she read, "Hail, good woman, I bring thee tidings that the Master calleth for thee and expecteth thou shouldest stand in His presence within ten days."
Then Christiana told Mr. Greatheart what was in her letter, and he said he was heartily glad of the news, and would have been glad if a letter had come for him.
And Christiana called for her children and blessed them, and told them she was glad to have them with her there, and that they had kept their garments so white.
Now the day came when Christiana must go, so the road was full of people to see her take her journey. But behold, all the banks beyond the river were full of horses and chariots, which were come to take her to the City gate.
So she came forth and entered the river. The last word she was heard to say was, "I come, Lord, to be with Thee."
So her children and friends returned to the town, for those that waited for Christiana had carried her out of their sight.
And Christiana entered in at the gate, with all the joy that her husband Christian had done before.
When she went away her children wept, but Mr. Greatheart played on a harp for joy, and afterwards returned to his Master's house. He hoped that he might guide many more of the holy pilgrims to the banks of the river that leads to the gates of the Celestial City.
Now day by day letters came to call away the pilgrims that had followed Mr. Greatheart, but as for Christiana's children, her four sons with their wives and children, I did not stay at the riverside till they went over. Also since I came away I heard they were still alive.