A KIND PROVIDENCE
IN the month of November, 1867, while traveling from place to place as a missionary in Denmark, I came to a small village called Dysted. It was in the South Sjaelland district, in the Copenhagen Conference. I had visited nearly every house, when it began to be late in the afternoon, and I concluded it was time to be looking for a lodging place for the night.
It was raining very fine, and had been for nearly two weeks, which made traveling very unpleasant.
I inquired at several places for lodging, but was told to go to a farmer, whose house was some distance from the road. When I saw that there was no other prospect for me than to go to that place, I started off towards the house. On arriving and stating my errand to the lady of the house, she said she could not entertain me; so I bade her good-by. I had lust turned to leave when I was called back. I was told by the lady that I could stay over night, as she had seen her husband. I went inside the house, and was given a chair in the sitting-room. The lady left me, closing the door, and I was left alone in a dark room.
One hour had passed away, and I was still alone. Suddenly the door was opened, and the lady stepped inside. She walked right up to me and asked if I wanted something to drink. I replied that I did. She brought me a glass of milk, and then left. When I took the glass in my hand I was not able to raise it so I could drink the milk; yet I could move my hand, and set the glass back on the table. I tried three times to place the glass to my lips, but could not do so. I began to feel uneasy, and believed that some poison was placed in the milk, so I threw it out of the window. I had no sooner done this than the door was opened and the lady came and asked me if I wanted some more milk. I said, "No, thanks, I have had all I want," so she left me again in utter darkness.
It was getting close to nine o'clock and every minute seemed to me to be an hour. I was busy planning how to get away, for I felt that something evil would happen if I could not escape from that place.
Presently the man appeared with a lamp in his hand. He never spoke a word to me, but sat down on a chair opposite me. Supper was now ready, but no one asked me if I wanted anything to eat.
When the man got through with his supper he turned right towards me. His first question was, "Well, how is the mission ? Are there many who believe and become members of the Church?"
I told him yes, there was quite a few. Finally a conversation was begun about the Gospel. The man was very abusive in his language toward me, and I was anxious to get away.
As the clock was striking ten, a thought came to me about a family in the village near by who would like to see me at that hour, which was the time the gentleman came from his work. So I said to the man, "Now, you must excuse me, for I have promised a lady in the village to be at their house at ten this evening.
"0 no'" said the man, "it is too late. Your bed is ready," signaling to his wife to show me the place.
I took a look at the room, when to my horror I found it to be a small, square room with no window in it, and only one door which led into the room where we were sitting.
Returning to the man, I thanked him for the room and bed that I was to sleep in, but added that I must go and fulfill my promise to this lady up in the village, and if I did not return inside of one hour he should not wait for me.
Seeing that I was determined to go, he said, "Well, I will wait for your return."
So I took my coat, satchel and hat and bade them good night. The man and his wife both kept their seat, so I had to find my way out in the darkness.
When I came to the outer door I could not get it open. By feeling with my hand, I found that an iron chain had been placed on the door so that no one could come in from the outside.
Here I stood a long time before I got the end of the chain off, for it was fastened in four places. When I got the door open I can assure you, dear readers, that I felt thankful unto my Heavenly Father that I once more could breathe the cool air of the night.
I closed the door, and off I went for the village as fast as my feet could take me. After leaving the house the dog had been turned loose by the man and was sent after me to bite me. But the dog came so swift that it passed me, and I took up a stone to drive it off if it returned to attack me.
It was getting very late, so I did not call on the people I had told the man that I was going to see, but started off to a place where lived a family who were members of the Church.
I reached my destination at midnight. Here I related my experience of the evening, when I was told that the man whom I escaped from was an ex-convict and had just returned from the state prison where he had been for eighteen years. The crime for which he was imprisoned was poisoning two young men, strangers in the land, whom he robbed and then buried in his field.
Both the family and myself were thankful to our Heavenly Father that my life had been preserved.
F. F. Thorup.
15 Oct 1876 pp 632-634