Wayfaring stranger PDF book: Autobiography of Burl Ives ( 1948 )

Wayfaring stranger: Autobiography of Burl Ives ( 1948 ) PDF book

Autobiography of Burl Ives


People were in a panic that summer. Astronomers had said there was a meteor that was driving toward the earth at great speed and was to appear one night in the month of June. If this huge ball of fire with a tail struck the earth, it would be the end of the world. In the hearts of some men was panic, in the hearts of many, great concern. Others took it with a grain of salt. The newspapers had reported many people kill- ing themselves in order to avoid the terrible day soon to come. The time arrived. The night had come when this fierce thing from the heavens was to appear.

A man and his wife, a farmer he was, lived on a small hill in a small house with their four children, two boys and two girls. They were one year, three years, five years, and seven years old, and there was soon to be another. This thing that was to happen bore heavily on the minds of this farmer and his family who lived on top of the hill in Jasper County, Hunt City Township. The dreaded night came. At the time the destructive force was to appear the farmer stirred from his bed, dressed, and stole silently out into the small front yard and lifted his eyes to the bright heavens. He looked in the direction where the strange star was to appear and, lo, his heart sank because in the heavens he did see what had been foretold in the papers. He was afraid.


He walked back to his house and in a quiet voice said, "Dellie, come here." The woman, heavy with child, arose from her bed in her sleeping garments, went to her husband, took hold of his hand and said, "My God, Frank, is it there? Did you see it?" He replied, "Don't get excited. It seems very far away and I am sure it will miss us."

They walked to the yard and both watched this strange thing in the sky until daybreak. She returned to make breakfast; he fed the horses and prepared for his daily work as usual.

The earth was spared and continued on its orbit as it had done for millions of years. Not many nights after that the farmer stayed awake again. This time because another child was to be born unto his good wife and himself. Evening came and darkness, and he knew that this was the night. A doctor had been sent for and a midwife was already there, a good woman, Linny Dillman by name. The other children had been put to sleep. There was a kerosene light burning in the room and one burning in the kitchen. Outside the bedroom where the woman was having her labor stood a great oak tree, its leaves moving gently as the breeze silently filled the night. The stars shone. The woman heard a bird singing in the tree; he started at about ten o'clock at night. During her suffering, the bird never stopped singing. Two o'clock the bird was singing; four o'clock the doctor came and the bird was singing; six o'clock the child came. The bird stopped singing and flew away. This is the beginning of the story.

Author: Burl Ives Publication Date: 1984
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