The Brave Miner

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miner underground tunnelTwo miners in Cornwall, England, were working down in a deep mine. They were blasting rocks. This is done, you know, by drilling a hole in the rock. Then the powder is put in and pieces of the rock are hammered into the upper part of the hole. This is called charging the rock. It is just like loading a gun. When this is done, they have what is called a fuse. This is like the little string at the end of a fire-cracker. It burns slowly, and takes ten or fifteen minutes before it reaches the powder and explodes, so as to give the men time to get out of the reach of danger. When these two miners had got the rock all ready for blasting, one of them used to get into the bucket and be drawn up to the top. Then the bucket would return, the other miner would light the fuse, run to the bucket, and be drawn up before the explosion took place. One day the fuse took fire, unexpectedly, when they were both down at the bottom of the mine. As soon as it began hissing, the two frightened men ran to the bucket, jumped in, and made the signal to hoist. But the man above could only draw them up one at a time. There was not a moment to lose. Only one could go up, and the one who stayed down would be blown to pieces. One of the miners was a Christian; the other was not. Quick as thought the brave-hearted, Christian man jumped out of the bucket, saying to his companion, “Escape for your life: I shall be in heaven in a few moments.”

The bucket was drawn up, and the man was safe. They listened at the top for the explosion. Presently they heard the heavy, smothered sound, made by the bursting rock. They waited awhile for the smoke to scatter, and then went down to look for the mangled remains of the brave miner. They began to dig among the fallen rocks for his body. At last they heard a voice. Their friend was still alive. They worked away, and pretty soon they found him, not only alive, but unhurt. All that he could tell about it was, that as soon as his friend was gone up, he lay flat on the ground; and when the explosion took place God had caused the rock to fall over him in such a way that he hadn’t even a scratch of a wound about him. When they asked him what made him willing to stay down and let his friend escape, his reply was, “I believed my soul was safe, but I was not sure of his.”

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