The Master of the Harvest
by Mrs. Alfred Gatty (Adapted)
The Master of the Harvest walked by the side of
his cornfields in the springtime. A frown was on
his face, for there had been no rain for several
weeks, and the earth was hard from the parching
of the east winds. The young wheat had not been
able to spring up.
So as he looked over the long ridges
that stretched in rows before him, he was vexed and
began to grumble and say:
"The harvest will be backward, and all things
will go wrong."
Then he frowned more and more, and uttered
complaints against Heaven because there was no
rain; against the earth because it was so dry;
against the corn because it had not sprung up.
And the Master's discontent was whispered
all over the field, and along the ridges where the
corn-seed lay. And the poor little seeds murmured:
"How cruel to complain! Are we not doing our
best? Have we let one drop of moisture pass by
unused? Are we not striving every day to be
ready for the hour of breaking forth? Are we
idle? How cruel to complain!"
But of all this the Master of the Harvest heard
nothing, so the gloom did not pass from his face.
Going to his comfortable home he repeated to his
wife the dark words, that the drought would ruin
the harvest, for the corn was not yet sprung up.
Then his wife spoke cheering words, and taking
her Bible she wrote some texts upon the flyleaf,
and after them the date of the day.
And the words she wrote were these: "The eyes
of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their
meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand
and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God!
therefore the children of men put their trust under
the shadow of Thy wings. Thou hast put gladness
in my heart, more than in the time that their corn
and their wine increased."
And so a few days passed as before, and the
house was gloomy with the discontent of the Master.
But at last one evening there was rain all over
the land, and when the Master of the Harvest
went out the next morning for his early walk by
the cornfields, the corn had sprung up at last.
The young shoots burst out at once, and very
soon all along the ridges were to be seen rows of
tender blades, tinting the whole field with a
delicate green. And day by day the Master of the
Harvest saw them, and was satisfied, but he
spoke of other things and forgot to rejoice.
Then a murmur rose among the corn-blades.
"The Master was angry because we did not come
up; now that we have come forth why is he not
glad? Are we not doing our best? From morning
and evening dews, from the glow of the sun,
from the juices of the earth, from the freshening
breezes, even from clouds and rain, are we not
taking food and strength, warmth and life? Why
does he not rejoice?"
And when the Master's wife asked him if the
wheat was doing well he answered, "Fairly well,"
and nothing more.
But the wife opened her Book, and wrote again
on the flyleaf: "Who hath divided a watercourse
for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the
lightning of thunder, to cause it to rain on the
earth where no man is, on the wilderness wherein
there is no man, to satisfy the desolate and waste
ground, and to cause the bud of the tender herb
to spring forth? For He maketh small the drops
of water; they pour down rain according to the
vapor thereof, which the clouds do drop and distil
upon man abundantly. Also can any understand
the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his
Very peaceful were the next few weeks. All
nature seemed to rejoice in the fine weather. The
corn-blades shot up strong and tall. They burst
into flowers and gradually ripened into ears of
grain. But alas! the Master of the Harvest had
still some fault to find. He looked at the ears
and saw that they were small. He grumbled and
"The yield will be less than it ought to be. The
harvest will be bad."
And the voice of his discontent was breathed
over the cornfield where the plants were growing
and growing. They shuddered and murmured:
"How thankless to complain! Are we not growing
as fast as we can? If we were idle would we
bear wheat-ears at all? How thankless to complain!"
Meanwhile a few weeks went by and a drought
settled on the land. Rain was needed, so that the
corn-ears might fill. And behold, while the wish
for rain was yet on the Master's lips, the sky
became full of heavy clouds, darkness spread over
the land, a wild wind arose, and the roaring of
thunder announced a storm. And such a storm!
Along the ridges of corn-plants drove the rain-
laden wind, and the plants bent down before it
and rose again like the waves of the sea. They
bowed down and they rose up. Only where the
whirlwind was the strongest they fell to the
ground and could not rise again.
And when the storm was over, the Master of
the Harvest saw here and there patches of over-
weighted corn, yet dripping from the thunder-
shower, and he grew angry with them, and forgot
to think of the long ridges where the corn-plants
were still standing tall and strong, and where the
corn-ears were swelling and rejoicing.
His face grew darker than ever. He railed
against the rain. He railed against the sun
because it did not shine. He blamed the wheat
because it might perish before the harvest.
"But why does he always complain?"
moaned the corn-plants. "Have we not done our best
from the first? Has not God's blessing been with
us? Are we not growing daily more beautiful in
strength and hope? Why does not the Master
trust, as we do, in the future richness of the
Of all this the Master of the Harvest heard
nothing. But his wife wrote on the flyleaf of her
Book: "He watereth the hills from his chambers,
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and
herb for the service of man, that he may bring
forth food out of the earth, and wine that maketh
glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face
to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's
And day by day the hours of sunshine were
more in number. And by degrees the green corn-
ears ripened into yellow, and the yellow turned
into gold, and the abundant harvest was ready,
and the laborers were not wanting.
Then the bursting corn broke out into songs
of rejoicing. "At least we have not labored and
watched in vain! Surely the earth hath yielded
her increase! Blessed be the Lord who daily
loadeth us with benefits! Where now is the Master
of the Harvest? Come, let him rejoice with us!"
And the Master's wife brought out her
Book and her husband read the texts she had written
even from the day when the corn-seeds were held
back by the first drought, and as he read a new
heart seemed to grow within him, a heart that was
thankful to the Lord of the Great Harvest. And
he read aloud from the Book:
"Thou visitest the earth and waterest it; thou
greatly enrichest it with the river of God which
is full of water; thou preparest them corn, when
thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the
ridges thereof abundantly; thou settlest the furrows
thereof; thou makest it soft with showers;
thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou
crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths
drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the
wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every
side. The pastures are clothed with flocks. The
valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout
for joy, they also sing.--O that men would praise
the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful
works to the children of men!"