Purity Publications

Five Alive


Chapter 26

by L. H. Hall

Christianity Oasis Ministry

There is a force out there that is attempting to overtake us all; it is Satan. There is another force that is protecting us from him; it is the Holy Spirit. It is a battle for souls. This battle is called Spiritual Warfare, and like it or not, you are right in the middle of it.

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Five Alive
Chapter 26


The jerky finished drying Monday, and all was ready Tuesday morning. I had made a sieve out of a small pan that already leaked. An extra canteen had been hooked to each belt. The bedroll consisted of: the two blankets and ponchos we had found on the mountain; one sheet; the old machete; and the new supply of jerky. Fruits for two days, some aloe leaf and another large pot were loaded into the big pot. It was a heavy load, but we thought we could carry it and the bedroll suspended from a bamboo pole.

After I had vowed on my honor as a Christian that I would not tickle her on the way to the cove, Sarah had agreed to carry one end of the pole and let the others ride the dolphins if they showed up. I knew they would. I had seen them through the telescope, set up in the entrance of the west room, swimming off shore.

When we got to the beach, the dolphins were jumping and tearing around to make sure that we saw them. We all walked out into the surf, and they came to us immediately. After greeting them and stroking them for a few minutes, Sarah and I went back to our load and started down the beach. The three dolphins that did not have a rider had a fit, standing on their tails chattering at us, doing flips, and doing everything they could to get us to come back into the water. "They want us to bring this stuff out there." Sarah waved at the little whales.

"Do you think we can handle it out there?"

"I don't know. We can try. The big pot ought to float if it doesn't get turned over. We'll be all right."

"If it gets turned over, then what?" I was hesitant.

"What'll you bet, that if it does, they will return everything to shore for us?"

"What do we have to lose then? Let's go."

We went back into the surf, and the dolphins joined us again. They investigated our load, which we set down to float in the water, and nuzzled up to us. At first we tried to let the pot float, but the drag on the pot kept pulling us back to the dolphin's tails. We picked the pot up with the bamboo pole on our shoulders, and the dolphins swam in perfect formation, so we did not drop it. Within minutes, the few miles to the cove were behind us.

After my vow to be nice, Jamie and I went after the sugarcane while the girls started a fire. We had filled the canteens at the cave; so we had syrup and saltwater on the fire within fifteen minutes after we got there. We had laid one of the ponchos out to put the chopped pieces of sugar cane on to keep it out of the sand. When that was done, we returned to the jungle to get more fire wood. We wanted to keep the fire hot to harvest as much syrup and salt as possible.

When the water had boiled out of the syrup, Sarah dipped a canteen cup into it and dipped out as much of the trash as possible and poured it into the homemade strainer. It seemed to work well. She reached in for another cupful as I turned to the poncho to get some more pieces of sugarcane. I had no more than turned my back when she screamed.

When I turned around, she was holding her foot screaming with pain. I picked her up, as if she was a little baby, and ran to the water with her. She didn't feel like she weighed over five pounds. The water helped, and when the pain subsided a little, she scooted up onto the bank and asked me to get her a piece of the aloe leaf, the juice of which she applied to her foot and hand.

She had burned the back of her hand on the canteen cup, and dropped the cup, pouring the hot syrup onto her left foot. Her hand had large blisters on it, but didn't look too bad. Her foot was really bad. The soul, the sides, and toes had been protected by the sand, but virtually all the skin was gone from the front of the ankle and top of the foot.

The aloe leaf helped, and after a half hour or so, she stopped crying. "I'm going to need some more aloe leaf if we stay here tonight."

"I'll take a dolphin and go after some," Jamie ran to the animals that lay in the shallows, watching Sarah.

"I'll go with him" Debbie followed.

"Okay, but call Sheba to follow you, and don't start up the mountain 'til she gets there." I tried to make Sarah as comfortable as possible.

The animals seemed to know exactly what they were supposed to do. Sheba had to run nearly two miles around the cove to follow but she did not waste any time. In a few minutes she was running up the other side. The little whales also seemed to understand. They did not do any playing but moved slowly as if waiting for the dog.

I carefully added more cane and water into the syrup, and stirred it with a clean stick. Then, I went to the jungle, looking for just the right branch. It needed to be about an inch in diameter, and have a branch sticking straight out from it to fit the handle of the canteen cup. It did not take long. I found exactly what I was looking for. The handle part was even curved a little in the right direction. I trimmed the crotch as necessary to make a good fit. I tried to tie it to the cup with small vines. It did not work. I could not get them tight enough to hold it securely. Finally, overruling Sarah's objections, I tore a hem from the sheet, and tied the handle to the cup, and tore some more strips and bandaged the aloe leaf to Sarah's foot and hand. This done, I returned to the fire, and tested out my dipper. It worked well. I poured all the gooey mash I could out of the pan, and squeezed and strained it into the cups, and carefully poured the cool syrup into the extra canteens. I threw the trash strained from the syrup into the fire. I also continued to add sea water to the salt pot.

I was beginning to get a little worried about Jamie, and Debbie, but finally, I saw them coming. Jamie had a full leaf about four feet long under his arm. They said they had to wait on Sheba to get there, and then she did not want to come back very badly, but she was coming. She showed up a half hour later on the other side of the cove entrance. When she saw us, she barked a couple of times, and lay down to rest.

I filled the pots again, and waded out into the cove entrance to be met by the dolphins. One of them towed me across the cove to check on Sheba. I decided that she was all right, She was just tired. She had a right to be. She was an old dog, and had just run at least fifteen miles. I petted and praised her for a few minutes, and asked the dolphin to take me back.

As much as I tried to steer her straight across the cove, she went where she wanted to go. For ten minutes she let me know she wanted to play. This was not punishment. She was playing. The three younger kids got the idea and joined us. I guess the dolphins thought they had worked enough. It was time to play for a while.

After the others came out to play, one of the dolphins took me back to Sarah and my cooking. I strained some more syrup, and started another batch. "How are your burns doing now?"

"They hurt pretty bad. I need to go to the bathroom, and I don't think I can walk by myself."

"I guess I'll have to help you."

"Yeah, I don't think Debbie is big enough."

I helped her up. She was ten times as heavy as she had been when I carried her to the water when she first got burned. "You sure got heavier."

"What do you mean?"

"When I carried you to the water, you hardly weighed anything. Now, it's all I can do to help you up when you're doing most of the work."

"That's probably because you were excited and didn't feel my weight. I'm sure glad you were here and knew what to do."

"I didn't, but I knew we had to get that hot syrup off your foot. That was the only thing I could think of to cool it. I thought about the Aloe, but I didn't think it would do any good until we got the hot syrup off."

"I think you did the right thing."

"I hope so."

Leaning heavily on me, she managed to make it the few steps to the edge of the jungle. I tried to help her looking the other way to give her some privacy.

"I can't squat." She grabbed me with her other hand almost falling. "I have to be able to sit on something."

I helped her back to the ground, and ran back to the fire for the machete. In a few minutes I had two dozen sticks about two feet long. I laid them in a crisscross fashion to make a sort of small box for her to sit on. I helped her onto it. It seemed sturdy enough, so I started to leave. "Let me know when you're through."

When I helped her back to the beach, she was raving about the stool. All the kids had to leave their dolphins and go look at it. I thought it was quite embarrassing. "I'll bet with some bamboo and vines you could make us a real toilet with a hole in the ground and everything so we won't have to squat anymore. We girls hate to squat."

"We boys do to."

When the sun was overhead, I called the others to come for lunch, and the words were barely out of my mouth, when I got knocked down again, and three dolphins were sitting out there laughing at me. "I think you did that on purpose." I picked up a fish nearly two feet long and shook it at them. They chattered some more, and did a flip in the air, before they settled down, and went after their own dinner.

The dolphins also showed considerable concern for Sarah. Several times during the morning, one or two at a time would come as close as they could and chatter at her. After she had talked to them, they had eased back into the water and swum slowly off. The only time one of them did anything boisterous around her was when one had thrown the fish at me.

By mid-afternoon I had all five extra canteens filled with syrup. We had planned to go up to Lake Four, and swim, but there was no way Sarah could walk that far, and we were not going to leave her. I did not even want to play with the dolphins. I did not want to leave her. She might need me, and I would not be there. I sat there with her, talking. She tried to get me to go play, but my whole body had sympathy pains for her. Even when she told me it did not hurt too badly, I did not believe her.

"I wonder what the saltwater would feel like on my burns," she remarked one time after one of the dolphins had come to talk to her.

"I think it would sting bad. If you get salt in a sore, it really smarts."

"I want to try it."

"It'll burn."

"I don't care. The dolphins have to take me home. I won't be able to walk that far for a week, and I want to go home tomorrow. I want to see what it's gonna feel like, now."

When I could not discourage her, I helped her into the water. She cringed. "Wow! That smarts! It's just like someone put alcohol on my ankle. It's funny. It doesn't hurt the burn. It hurts really bad above it. I think it will quit stinging in a minute when I get used to it.

"I told you it would smart."

"I know, but it's cool too. I think it's starting to stop stinging. I want to get on a dolphin."

"No sooner said, than done," as the fairy tales say, a dolphin nosed between us, and she lifted her sore foot over her back. The dolphin moved off slowly and smoothly, and took her around and round the cove. The rest of us were being thrown and dunked, when the dolphin decided to go to the bottom without warning or roll over, but hers was as gentle as a lamb, never making a sudden move, or turn that might dislodge her.

"How's the foot?" I asked after she had been riding for a while.

"It feels fine. I can hardly tell it was burned. The cool water feels good on it."

"I'll bet there are a million nasty germs in it though." I guided my ride away from her. "I hope you don't get sick from the water. "I'd sure hate for you to get blood poison and die. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"I won't. Jesus will make sure I get all better. You'll see; in a week you won't even know I ever got burned."

"I hope you're right." I directed my dolphin to the camp, and put a canteen cupful of fresh water, with one of the bandages in it, into the fire to boil. When it had boiled for several minutes, I dug a hole in the wet sand above the water line, and half buried the cup in it cool. I returned to the dolphins for a little while. Then I called Sarah to come out of the water. She guided the dolphin to the camp, and gingerly walked out of the water by herself. "I think that sea water is good for it."

"It might be if it wasn't for the germs and stuff. I just boiled some water. Lets wash it off, and put some clean Aloe on it. I unwrapped the foot, and more skin came off. It was shriveled from being in the water so long. Otherwise, it looked good. There was no swelling. "Jesus," I prayed, "I don't know why you let this happen to Sarah, but please help her to get better, I couldn't stand it if she got worse."

"I'll be okay, Timmy."

When I finished binding a fresh piece of aloe to Sarah's foot and started to unbandage her hand, Sheba barked three time and lay her head back down between her paws. Prince, Buster, and Rascal got up, stretched and took off down the beach.

"She must be sick," I put the old bandage into the canteen cup to be washed and boiled. "She sent the pups after dinner."

"She's probably just tired, and decided it was time for the pups to get supper."

"I'll check her over again after I finish this." I looked at her hand. It was not burned as badly as her foot. None of the skin had peeled off yet, but it was swollen and looked angrier. "Maybe that sea water is good for it. Your foot is all shriveled from being in the water so long, but it isn't swollen like your hand is."

"My hand hurts worse too."

That's because of the swelling, I think. Your foot is burned a lot worse. I covered the burn with a fresh piece of aloe leaf, and bound it with a clean bandage.

"Now," I turned to Sheba. "Let's see what's wrong with you." I looked her over, and felt for any cuts or bruises, and examined her feet, but I saw nothing. "She just decided to be lazy, today. I guess that's one of the privileges of being a mommy with half grown children."

The other kids got tired of playing with the dolphins and returned to camp. Jamie, Debbie and Julie went after fresh water, and I kept the salt water boiling. It sure got boring sitting around the camp, but we could not do anything else. Sarah wanted us to go on up to Lake Four and swim for a while. She said Sheba would take care of her, but none of us would even consider leaving her. We would have gone back to the cave, but I thought Sarah needed another day to recuperate before we tried to get her up the mountain. The little whales would take her to the beach below the cave in a lot less time than she spent riding in the cove, but it would be really hard for her to get up the mountain.

We were all glad when the stars began to twinkle in the moonlit sky. At least we had something different to talk about, and we could watch for falling stars.

After the others were asleep, I added wood to the fire, and filled the saltwater pot. I sat for a long time looking out over sea, daydreaming that someone would see our fire, come to investigate, and take us home; so, we could find a doctor for Sarah, and I could be "just" a little boy again. I knew that could never happen. I knew no one would see our fire. I do not know how long I sat there, but the moon that had risen in the early afternoon was setting, before I lay down to sleep,

Sarah awoke, crying with pain. She wanted to soak her burns in the sea again, but I could just visualize the giant germs attacking her, eating her flesh away, and causing infection. I boiled and cooled some sea water and bandages to wash and wrap her burns. She really howled when I poured the saltwater on them, but the aloe juice and leaves were soothing. I had wanted to use fresh water but she wanted the sea water. After breakfast she was able to get to the bathroom stool with Debbie's help.

The salt pot had boiled dry by the time I got around to checking it. It had a thick crust of salt in it that I scraped out into a canteen cup. There was probably plenty to last us for two or three weeks. By that time Sarah should be well enough to return to the cove. I filled the pot, thinking I would get some more when it boiled away again, but when it was dry the layer of salt was so thin, I hardly got any more. Jamie and I took the pots up to wash them with fresh water. I knew that it was not good to leave salt in them.

When we broke camp after lunch, which again was supplied by the dolphins, I dug a large hole high on the bank, in the edge of the jungle. I stuck the machete down to the handle in the middle of it; put the bedroll into the pots; turned the pots upside down in the hole; and covered it all with sand. I knew no one would steal any of it, but I was not sure the wild dog puppies would not take off with the blankets and ponchos. We had planned to leave the sheet too, but we took it back for bandages. I was washing and boiling the old ones, but we might need more.

"C'mon, Sheba." I helped Sarah into the water for the dolphin ride home. "C'mon. We're going home."

Sheba, her old self again, was up, heading into the cove, barking at her puppies.

The dolphins had been waiting for us. One slid right up to Sarah low in the water. It was easy for her to get on. She moved out slowly and smoothly, gradually picking up speed as Sarah guided her out to sea and toward the cave.

My ride was not so smooth. She got me out into the deep and dove to the bottom, leaving me there treading water. It was not but a few seconds until another slid under me, only to flip me back to the first one, which had surfaced a few feet in front of me. I assumed they thought I had not played with them enough. They were going to play with me whether I wanted to, or not. One time I lost my canteen belt, and the games stopped until the dolphin retrieved it and took it to Jamie. I was in for a ride all the way up the beach. They took me so far out in the sea I could not even see the others, part of the time, but I knew they were playing, and I enjoyed the activity. I had lost all fear of these wonderful, beautiful, little whales who had saved our lives and adopted us.

Through air and sea I had probably traveled five times as far as the others, but the games stopped, and I sailed gently into shore to be there when Sarah needed me to help her onto the beach.

"Didja have fun out there?" Sarah eased her weight onto her sore foot. "Ouch! That hurts!"

"The most fun I've had with'em. I think they did too."

The dolphins, a few yards out to sea, stood on their tails chattering at us after we were up on the shore. When we waved and told them good-by, they did their habitual flip in the air one after the other. They were gone.

It was rough on Sarah, but after about an hour we finished the fifteen-minute climb to the cave. I built the fire and milked the goats, except for Stinker. She finally stood still for Debbie to milk, but only after Sarah came to pet her. "I surely picked the right name for her," I helped Sarah stand without putting weight on her foot.

When Sarah was settled and the chores were done, Jamie and I went to cut some bamboo for a toilet. Apparently, thanks to Sarah's burn, he had already forgotten my vow of vengeance, but I was not about to act on it. Sarah's burn had removed all desire for frivolity from my mind. Everything I thought about was serious, and the first thing was to get a toilet seat made for Sarah before she needed it. I would dig a hole in the ground and build a semi-permanent structure later. I might even make some chairs and a bed after that. I had gotten the idea at the cove after I fixed that stool for Sarah. I had thought a lot about it.

After the toilet stool was finished, Jamie came up with another idea. Debbie and Julie stayed with Sarah, while Jamie and I followed the stream that ran through the goat pen to the north beach. The stream flowed northeasterly with a few small tributaries down the mountain to the beach. It disappeared into a large dip in the sand high on the beach, at the edge of the jungle. There was evidence of a small pool, but at that time the sand swallowed the stream as fast as it flowed down the mountain. We learned later that right after a hard rain, or if we had an exceptionally high tide, a pool would form.

The next day, Jamie, Debbie and I constructed the toilet over the stream so it would carry the refuse away. We all discussed it before hand, and decided that we had enough water at the cave and on the island in general. This one stream could be used to carry the sewage and odors away. By supper time we had a private bamboo room with a solid bench, large enough for the three girls to sit on. It seemed they always liked to go to the bathroom together. I was afraid they would fight over who went first if we made it any smaller.

At the end of the first week after Sarah was burned, she had not returned to normal, as she had promised. Both her foot and hand were swollen twice their sizes, and red streaks ran up her arm and leg. She was so hot; we could hardly stand to touch her. She seemed to be out of her mind most of the time. We had carried her out to the middle of the stream on the patio, and poured cool water over the parts of her body that came above the water level continuously. We did not do anything we did not absolutely have to, but care for her and pray around the clock. We knew that if God did not heal her, she would die, and it did not look like He was going to. "God," I begged over and over, "why must we go through this? You know how much Sarah means to this family, and how much we all depend upon her! You took us from our mothers. Please don't take the mother of this little family away from us! We need her so badly! Please make her well!" We all cried for her until we could not cry any more, and I prayed until I could not pray for her anymore. Eight days--Nine days--We did not sleep. We did not eat. We sat by our beloved Sarah, praying. Our prayers did no good. The red streaks were up to her right shoulder, starting across her chest, and above her left hip.

The afternoon of the tenth day, we all knelt around her and I prayed, "Lord God Almighty, ruler of the universe, I've begged for Sarah's life. I've pleaded with you for over a week. It's done no good. She's your child. You know best. If you take her home, you have a good reason; and though I can't imagine how, it will be for our good too. I won't ask you again. She has accepted you as her Savior. Her life is in your hands. Do what you will with her; but if you take her, Jesus, please, comfort our hearts. Help us remember that you love her; and that you still love us. In Jesus' name, Amen!"

The others said, "Amen!"

A smile came on every face when they said, "Amen!" I knew they felt the same warm glow I did, and the assurance that whatever happened, it would be all right. We felt so good and warm inside. At that moment, we had forgotten Sarah. "May I please have a drink of water?" Sarah was in her right mind, and had risen up on one elbow in the stream. "My mouth is so dry."

"Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!" I shouted so loudly, I knew our parents could hear us, no matter where they were. The tears had returned. I was crying again. Where there had been no more tears, a flood of joy washed down my face.

Julie jumped up, grabbed a nearby cup and dipped it in the stream above us for her sister-mother.

"Is there anything to eat? I'm starved!" Sarah finished drinking.

"Look at her leg!" Debbie cried.

We watched, as the ends of the red streaks, over the next few minutes, moved down to her foot and disappeared. The streaks in her arm did the same thing.

I warmed the soup I had made for her, but had not been able to get her to eat during her delirium. She was sitting up when I brought her the cup of soup. I touched her shoulder and it was cool from the water. I touched her dry face, and for the first time in several days it did not burn my hand.

"What am I doing out here in the stream?"

"We've been trying to keep you cool. You've lain in the stream for over four days, and we have been pouring cool water over you night and day." I brought her the soup. "Want me to feed you?"

"No. I can manage. I think." She reached for the dish.

"We was afraid you was gonna die." Julie wiped the tears from her face. "We prayed and prayed and prayed for you, but it looked like Jesus was gonna take you to heaven. He wouldn't make you better."

"He was waiting for you to quit worrying about me and tell Him to do what was best." Sarah sipped the soup. "I was with Him. I heard Timmy's prayer. When you all said, 'Amen,' Jesus said, 'They've given you to me. You can go back to them, now.'"

"Really?" Jamie exclaimed.

"Were you really with Jesus?" Debbie touched Sarah's leg where the red marks had been.

"Yes. I was really with Jesus." Sarah took another sip of the soup.

"What did he look like?" Julie asked.

"He looked just like his pictures to me; otherwise, I wouldn't have known him. He was so loving and kind. He was terribly sad that you waited so long to give me to Him, so I could get well. He said you were being selfish. You were worrying about how bad it would be for you without me. I could have been healed days ago, if you had given me to Him sooner."

"That's a lesson we'll have to remember in the future." I took her dish to refill it. "I told you that God always has a good reason for what he does, even if we don't know what it is. This time, we know. He wanted to teach us this lesson. He wanted us to learn to always yield to His will."

Sarah did not immediately get up and start running around and jumping off the patio into the lake. She watched us do that for a day or two. The evening of her healing, with a little help from Debbie, she made it to the new toilet and back. A week later she was cooking most of our meals, and wanted to go to the beach to play with the dolphins. She thought they might be worried about her.

On that excursion to the beach, we got them to take us down the north side of the island, but they would not stay close to shore. They took us several hundred, maybe a thousand yards out to sea before they turned east. They only took us far enough so we could see the violent southeast coast from far out in the sea. They did not stay out there long either, before they returned us to the lee side of the island, where they seemed to be more comfortable with us. I knew it was not fear for their own lives, that made them want to stay on the sheltered side.

Copyright © 1995
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.

Copyright © 2000-2023 All Rights Reserved.


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