YEDDIE’S FIRST AND LAST COMMUNION
A poor mentally retarded lad, who was supported by his parish in the
Highlands of Scotland, passed his time in wandering from house to house. He was silent and peaceful, and won the pity of all kind hearts. He had little power to converse with his fellow men, but seemed often in loving communion with Him who, while He is the High and Holy One, condescends to men of low estate.
Yeddie, as he was called, was in the habit of whispering and muttering to himself as he trudged along the highway, or performed the simple tasks which any neighbour felt at liberty to demand of him. The boys, while they were never cruel to him, often got a little fun out of his odd ways. He believed every word they said to him; and because he had been told in sport, if he once rode over the hills to Kirk in a donkey-cart he would never be heir to the Earl of Glen-Allen, he refused all the kind offers of farmers and cottars, and always replied in the same words: `I’ll aye gang on my ain feet up to the courts of the Lord’s house, and be talking to Himsel’ as I gang.’
Once, when a merry boy heard him pleading earnestly with some unseen one, he asked, `What ghost or goblin are you begging favours of now, Yeddie?
`Neither the one or the tither, laddie,’ he replied: `I was just having a few words wi’ Him that neither yoursel’ nor I can see, and yet wi’ Him that sees the baith o’us!’ The poor fellow was talking to God, while the careless wise ones laughingly said, `He is talking to himself.’
One day Yeddie presented himself in his coarse frock and his hobnailed shoes before the minister, and making a bow, much like that of a wooden toy when pulled by a string, he said,
`Please, minister, let poor Yeddie eat supper on the coming day wi’ the Lord Jesus.’ The good man was preparing for the observance of the Lord’s Supper, which came quarterly in that thinly-settled region, and was celebrated by several churches together; so that the concourse of people made it necessary to hold the services in the open air.
He was too busy to be disturbed by the simple youth, and so strove to put him off as gently as possible. But Yeddie pleaded, `Oh, minister, if ye but kenned how I love Him, ye wud let me go where He’s to sit at table!’ This so touched his heart that permission was given for Yeddie to take his seat with the rest. And although he had many miles to trudge over hill and moor, he was on the ground long before those who lived near and drove good horses.
As the services proceeded, tears flowed freely from the eyes of the poor `innocent,’ and at the name of Jesus he would shake his head mournfully and whisper, `But I dinna see Him.’
At length, however, after partaking of the hallowed elements, he raised his head, wiped away the traces of his tears, and looking in the minister’s face nodded and smiled. Then he covered his face with his hands and buried it between his knees, and remained in that posture till the parting blessing was given, and the people began to scatter. He then rose, and with a face lighted with joy, and yet marked with solemnity, he followed the rest.
One and another from his own parish spoke to him, but he made no reply until pressed by some of the boys. Then he said, `Ah, lads, dinna bid Yeddie talk to-day! He’s seen the face of the Lord Jesus among His ain ones. He got a smile fro’ His eye and a word fro’ His tongue; and he’s afeared to speak lest he lose memory o’t; for it’s but a bad memory he has at the best. Ah! lads, lads, I ha’ seen Him this day that I never seed before. I ha’ seen wi’ these dull eyes yon lovely Man. Dinna ye speak, but just leave poor Yeddie to his company.’
The boys looked on in wonder, and one whispered to another, `Sure he’s na longer daft!
The senses ha’ come into his head, and he looks and speaks like a wise one.’
When Yeddie reached the poor cot he called `home,’ he dared not speak to the `granny’ who sheltered him, lest he might, as he said, `lose the bonny face.’ He left his `porritch and treacle’ untasted; and after smiling on and patting the faded cheek of the old woman, to show her that he was not out of humour, he climbed the ladder to the poor loft where his pallet of straw was, to get another look and another word from
`yon lovely Man.’ And his voice was heard below, in low tones: `Aye, Lord, it’s just poor me that has been sae long seeking ye; and now we’ll bide togither and never part more! Oh, aye! but this is a bonny loft, all gold and precious stones. The hall o’ the castle is a poor place to my loft this bonny night!’ And then his voice grew softer and softer till it died away.
Granny sat over the smouldering peat below, with her elbows on her knees, relating in loud whispers to a neighbouring crony the stories of the boys who had preceded Yeddie from the service, and also his own strange words and appearance. `And beside all this,’ she said, in a hoarse whisper, `he refused to taste his supper – a thing he had never done before since the parish paid his keeping. More than that, he often ate his own portion and mine too, and then cried for more; such a fearful appetite he had! But tonight, when he cam’ in faint wi’ the long road he had come, he cried, “Na meat for me, granny; I ha’ had a feast which I will feel within me while I live; I supped wi’ the Lord Jesus, and noo I must e’en gang up the loft and sleep wi’ Him.”‘
`Noo, Molly,’ replied granny’s guest, `doesna’ that remind ye o’ the words o’ our Lord Himsel’ when He tell’d them that bid Him eat, “I ha’ meat to eat that ye know not of?”
Who’ll dare to say that the blessed hand that fed the multitude when they were seated upon the grass, has na’ been this day feeding the hungry soul o’ poor Yeddie as he sat at His table? Ah, Molly, we little know what humble work He will stoop to do for His ain puir ones who cry day and night to Him! We canna’ tell noo but this daft laddie will be greater in the kingdom of heaven than the Earl himsel’ – puir body – that looks very little noo as if he’d be able to crowd in at the pearly gate!’
`And oh, Janet, if you could ha’ seen the face of yon puir lad as he cam’ into the cot!
It just shone like the light, and at first, even before he spoke a word, I thocht he was carrying a candle in his hand! I believe in my soul, good neebor, that Yeddie was in great company today, and that the same shining was on him as was on Moses and Elias when they talked with Jesus on the mount. I e’en hope he brocht the blessing home wi’ him to ‘bide on the widow that was too auld and feeble to walk to the table, but who has borne with him, and toiled patiently for him, because he was one of the Lord’s little and feeble ones.’
`Oo, aye, doubtless he did bring home the blessing, and that ye’ll get the reward o’ these many cups o’ cold water ye’ve given him; for what’s the few pence or shillings the parish grants ye, compared wi’ the mother’s care ye give him,’ said Janet.
`Aweel, aweel,’ replied granny, `If I get the reward it’ll not be because I wrought for that. I seemed ne’er to ken, syne the day I took the daft and orphanted lad, that I was minding, and feeding and clothing one o’ `these little ones,’ and I ken it better tonight than ever. I ha’ strange new feelings mysel’ too, neebor, and I’m minded o’ the hour when our
blessed Master came and stood among His faithful ones, the door being shut, and said, `Peace be unto you.’ Surely this strange heavenly calm can no’ be of earth, and who shall say that Himsel’ is not here beside us twa, come to this poor place more for the daft lad’s sake than oor am.’
And thus these lowly women talked of Him whom their souls loved, their hearts burning within them as they talked.
When the morrow’s sun arose `granny,’ unwilling to disturb the weary Yeddie, left her poor pillow to perform his humble tasks. She brought peat from the stack, and water from the spring. She spread her humble table and made her `porritch;’ and then, remembering that he went supperless to bed, she called him from the foot of the ladder. There was no reply. She called again and again, but there was no sound above but the wind whistling through the openings in the thatch. She had not ascended the rickety ladder for years; but anxiety gave strength to her limbs, and she soon stood in the poor garret which had long sheltered the half-idiot boy. Before a rude stool, half-sitting, half-kneeling, with his head resting on his folded arms, she found Yeddie. She laid her hand upon his head, but instantly recoiled in terror. The heavy iron crown had been lifted from his brow, and, while she was sleeping, had been replaced with the crown of the ransomed which fadeth not away. Yeddie had caught a glimpse of Jesus and could not live apart from Him. As he had supped, so he had slept, – with Him.
A deep awe fell on the parish and the minister at this evident token that Christ had been among them: and the funeral of the idiot boy was attended from far and wide. A solemnity rarely seen was noticed there, as if a great loss had fallen on the community, instead of the parish having been relieved of a burden. Poor `granny’ was not left alone in her cot: for He who had come thither after that last supper with Yeddie, was with her, and Christ’s promises to His disciples were fulfilled; `I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.’ `Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’
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