Grace dar­ling..!

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - — Email:bob­s­ban­ter@gmail.com

I don’t know whether it was due to the fact that my fa­ther’s young

sis­ter’s name was Grace that he loved telling me the story of Grace Dar­ling. I re­mem­bered the story to­day, as I thought of the many peo­ple who tell me very ve­he­mently that no one in­di­vid­ual can make things change in this world.

I dis­agree with them to­tally, and for them will I nar­rate my dad’s fa­vorite story. Years ago, one cold win­ter evening, a storm bore down upon a lit­tle fish­ing vil­lage, some­where off the west coast of Eng­land. The wind and the rain came down with an un­matched fury. All the vil­lagers from the fish­ing vil­lage braved the storm and came on to the shore and breathed a sigh of re­lief as slowly boat after filled with their loved ones, re­turned home, till each and ev­ery­one was safe. They looked at each other with re­lief and hap­pi­ness.

Sud­denly, through the sounds of the howl­ing wind, the vil­lagers heard the eerie sound of men cry­ing for help. They peered through the rain and the waves and in the dis­tance, they saw a ship that was wrecked after be­ing grounded and smashed by rocks.

The men from the sail­ing ship were cry­ing out in ter­ror and an­guish as they faced im­mi­nent death. The fish­ing folk in the lit­tle vil­lage looked at the stranded sailors and shook their heads sadly. They knew it was im­pos­si­ble to ven­ture out to sea again. Their hearts went out to the poor sailors, but again they shook their heads in help­less­ness.

But one young girl in their midst who heard the cries and felt the ter­ror of the stranded men looked at the oth­ers and some­thing stirred within her. “Help them,” she shouted run­ning from one vil­lager to an­other. “They will die if we don’t help them.” No­body moved, not her fa­ther, nor her brothers nor any of the men who she knew so well.

“Grace,” they told her, “there’s noth­ing we can do.” But Grace on see­ing the res­o­lute faces, jumped into one of the small boats and be­fore the men folk could stop her, rowed into the storm to­wards the ship­wreck. The vil­lagers watched in hor­ror as the boat tossed from side to side, and as a small, frail but de­ter­mined girl guided it to the deathly spot.

Her brother cried, her mother wept, her fa­ther cursed, till they saw the lit­tle craft reach the wretched men. The men, stranded and lost, jumped into the lit­tle boat. She could take only a few, but when she looked round, she saw all the boats on the shore make their way, to pick up the rest of them.

All the men were res­cued, and Grace be­came a hero­ine that night and is re­mem­bered to this day. A lovely story and so well can I hear my fa­ther’s voice as he con­tin­ued after the tale and look­ing into my wide lit­tle boy eyes would say, “Bob, the truth, we need to know, is that even one per­son can make things hap­pen. Also Bob when this one per­son starts mak­ing things hap­pen oth­ers who have held back will fol­low. But that one per­son has to lead.” We need more Grace Dar­ling’s to­day than ever be­fore..!

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