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Chapter 1: A Letter to God
THE house — the only one in the entire valley — sat on the crest of a low hill. From this height one could see the river and the field of ripe corn dotted with the flowers that always promised a good harvest. The only thing the earth needed was a downpour or at least a shower. Throughout the morning Lencho — who knew his fields intimately — had done nothing else but see the sky towards the north-east. “Now we’re really going to get some water, woman.”
The woman who was preparing supper, replied, “Yes, God willing”. The older boys were working in the field, while the smaller ones were playing near the house until the woman called to them all, “Come for dinner”. It was during the meal that, just as Lencho had predicted, big drops of rain began to fall. In the northeast, huge mountains of clouds could be seen approaching.
The air was fresh and sweet. The man went out for no other reason than to have the pleasure of feeling the rain on his body, and when he returned he exclaimed, ‘‘These aren’t raindrops falling from the sky, they are new coins. The big drops are ten-cent pieces and the little ones are fives.’’ With a satisfied expression, he regarded the field of ripe corn with its flowers, draped in a curtain of rain. But suddenly a strong wind began to blow and along with the rain very large hailstones began to fall. These truly did resemble new silver coins.
The boys, exposing themselves to the rain, ran out to collect the frozen pearls. ‘‘It’s really getting bad now,’’ exclaimed the man. “I hope it passes quickly.” It did not pass quickly. For an hour the hail rained on the house, the garden, the hillside, the cornfield, on the whole valley. The field was white as if covered with salt. Not a leaf remained on the trees.
The corn was totally destroyed. The flowers were gone from the plants. Lencho’s soul was filled with sadness. When the storm had passed, he stood in the middle of the field and said to his sons, “A plague of locusts would have left more than this. The hail has left nothing. This year we will have no corn.’’ That night was a sorrowful one. “All our work, for nothing.” ‘‘There’s no one who can help us.” “We’ll all go hungry this year.” But in the hearts of all who lived in that solitary house in the middle of the valley, there was a single hope: help from God.
“Don’t be so upset, even though this seems like a total loss. Remember, no one dies of hunger.” “That’s what they say: no one dies of hunger.” All through the night, Lencho thought only of his one hope: the help of God, whose eyes, as he had been instructed, see everything, even what is deep in one’s conscience. Lencho was an ox of a man, working like an animal in the fields, but still, he knew how to write.
The following Sunday, at daybreak, he began to write a letter which he himself would carry to town and place in the mail. It was nothing less than a letter to God. “God,” he wrote, “if you don’t help me, my family and I will go hungry this year. I need a hundred pesos in order to sow my field again and to live until the crop comes, because of the hailstorm….” He wrote ‘To God’ on the envelope, put the letter inside and, still troubled, went to town.
At the post office, he placed a stamp on the letter and dropped it into the mailbox. One of the employees, who was a postman and also helped at the post office, went to his boss laughing heartily and showed him the letter to God. Never in his career as a postman had he known that address. The postmaster — a fat, amiable fellow — also broke out laughing, but almost immediately he turned serious and, tapping the letter on his desk, commented, “What faith! I wish I had the faith of the man who wrote this letter.
Starting up a correspondence with God!” So, in order not to shake the writer’s faith in God, the postmaster came up with an idea: answer the letter. But when he opened it, it was evident that to answer it he needed something more than goodwill, ink, and paper. But he stuck to his resolution: he asked for money from his employees, he himself gave part of his salary, and several friends of his were obliged to give something ‘for an act of charity’.
It was impossible for him to gather together the hundred pesos, so he could send the farmer only a little more than half. He put the money in an envelope addressed to Lencho and with it a letter containing only a single word as a signature: God.
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NCERT Solutions Class 10 English Chapter 1 A Letter to God
Who does Lencho have complete faith in? Which sentences in the story tell you this?
Lencho has complete faith in God as he is instructed that God knows everything and helps us in our problems. There are few sentences that show this
- But in the hearts of all who lived in that solitary house in the middle of the valley, there was a single hope help from God.
- All through the night, Lencho thought only of his one hope: the help of God, whose eyes, as he had been instructed, see everything, even what is deep in one’s conscience.
- “God”, he wrote, “if you don’t help me, my family and I will go hungry this year”.
- He wrote ‘To God’ on the envelope, put the letter inside, and still troubled, went to town.
- God could not have made a mistake, nor could he have denied Lencho what he had requested.
Why does the postmaster send money to Lencho? Why does he sign the letter God?
The postmaster sends money to Lencho in order to keep
Lencho’s faith in God was alive and firm as he was completely moved by it.
When the postmaster reads his letter of Lencho to God, he becomes severe and does not want to shake his faith and decides to answer the letter. He gathers money with the help of his post office employees and friends on behalf of God and signs the letter ‘God’ so that Lencho’s faith does not get shaken.
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