This is a “stick-to-it” story. Do you like “stick-to-it” stories? This is a vacation story. Everyone likes vacations. This story is about a time when the White family were taking a vacation in the
Rocky Mountains. There were Elder James White and Sister Ellen G.
White and Willie who was eighteen years of age, and a close friend of the
Whites, Mrs. Hall. Brother and Sister White had been working very hard, going
from place to place attending meetings and speaking and helping the people for
years, and they needed a change. Both Elder and Mrs. White had a great deal of
writing they wanted to do and they could not get to it at home in Battle Creek
or when they were traveling, so they decided to spend the summer of 1873 in
Colorado, resting and writing.
Sister White had a niece who lived in
. The husband of this niece was Mr. Walling and he ran
a sawmill. The Wallings had a cabin that could be fixed up and Elder and Mrs.
White could stay there. Part of the time they would write and part of the time
they would relax. Colorado
And so the Whites went to the Walling home and got settled in the cabin and then had a wonderful time. They enjoyed climbing the mountains and watching the rushing streams. They gazed at huge granite rocks and they watched the beautiful sunsets. They enjoyed picking wild berries that they found here and there.
One day, late in the summer, Mr. Walling asked Elder and Mrs. White if they would like to go up to Grand Lake in Middle Park for a couple of weeks and camp by the lake. Of course they would like to go! So they got their clothes ready. They got their food ready. They took some candles for light. They planned that they would be camping by the lake for about two weeks.
At Sunday morning everything was loaded into two wagons, and they started driving way up into the mountains, past the timberline where no trees grow because it is so high. They got through the pass and started down the narrow winding road and camped for the night. Monday morning, they started out again. Elder and Mrs. White and Willie were riding horses. Soon they were called back, for an axle on one of the wagons had broken. Now they would have to camp a few days here while Mr. Walling went back home to get the axle fixed. It was a week later that Mr. Walling sent one of his hired men with the repaired axle, and to take the Whites on to the lake.
How the Whites did enjoy this beautiful place! It was so quiet and the lake was so beautiful. They went boating and they went hiking. They rested and Elder and Mrs. White did quite a lot of writing. Mrs. White was just at this time writing on the early part of the life of Jesus.
Willie especially enjoyed watching the otters in their play. They would slide down into the lake. The Whites became acquainted with the two fishermen. Their little cabin was right by the lake. They would catch their fish in nets and keep the fish alive until a man came up from Black Hawk with horses and saddlebags, and then that evening they would take the fish out of the water, clean them, leave them out in the frost and the next morning they put them in the saddlebags and took them to the market in Central City and Black Hawk.
Brother and Sister White expected that Mr. Walling would soon come and get them. But for some reason, he was delayed. It seems that Mr. Walling was a man who couldn’t always be depended upon. Elder White was working on the revision of a tract which was printed at our publishing house in
. He had
promised them that the copy would be ready by a certain time. If Mr. Walling
delayed too long, he would not be able to keep his promise, and the much-needed
tract would be seriously delayed. Battle
Mr. Walling did not come. Soon the candles were all burned up, so when it got dark, they went to bed, and when it got light, they got up. But the big problem was food. It was going fast and this really troubled them. They asked the fishermen to sell them some of their supplies, but they did not have much to spare. They found that there were wild berries here and there on the mountainsides, and they picked these berries and used them, and some of them they made into pies and traded them to the fishermen for other food. As each day went by, the food was getting more scarce.
Elder White spent some time writing on his tract. As he and Willie came home to their camp after a hike one Tuesday afternoon, Elder White discovered that the men had come for the fish and would be leaving early the next morning for Black Hawk. He decided that he must finish his work on the copy for the tract and send it to the post office by these men. He had given his word that the tract would go out by a certain time, and this was his opportunity to keep his word. So he hurriedly got his Bible and his concordance and continued working on the copy for the tract. He looked occasionally at the sun and he saw that it would soon be going down behind the mountains. When it got dark, he would not be able to write any more because, you remember, they had no candles. What could he do? As he wrote, he thought. He must find a way to get that tract finished.
Elder White was a man who didn’t give up easily. If one way seemed closed, he would try to find another way. He would stick to it until the job was done. As he thought, he remembered that that very afternoon as they were out for their walk, some distance from the camp they had seen the body of a wolf. There was a hunter who had set traps on what they called a trapline. He had a trail and he would set traps here and there in likely places where he might catch the animals. He did this because he wanted the fur. And about every week or ten days, he would come through and if he found an animal in the tray, and leave the carcass there because he had no use for that. And that very afternoon, they had seen the carcass of a freshly-killed wolf. Elder White thought perhaps—perhaps, they could get some fat off the body of that wolf and he could use that fat to make a light. He called his boy, Willie.
“Willie, Willie, come here! I have got to have a light,” he said, “to finish this tract tonight. I have promised it and it must go at in the morning when the men take the fish to Black Hawk. Do you remember the body of that wolf we saw out there on the trail?”
“Yes,” Willie replied.
“Do you think you could find it?”
“Yes. I am pretty sure I can.”
“All right,” Elder White said, “I want you to take your knife and a pan and go to the body of that wolf, scrape off all the fat that you can. I must have a light.” And as Willie was leaving, James White called after him, “Don’t forget the shotgun.” There were brown bears up in that valley;
So with a double-barreled shotgun over his shoulder, and a pan and the knife, Willie started back over the trail to see if he could find the body of the wolf. He just hoped that a coyote hadn’t gotten it between the time when they saw it and the time when he hoped to find it. But when he came to the spot, there it was. He knelt down by the side of the carcass. He scraped a little yellow fat from here, and he found a little more yellow fat from someplace else, and then he cut the body of the wolf open. He found some fat here and some fat there, especially around the liver. As he told the story to his children many years later, he said that he never saw such a skinny wolf in all his life! When Willie had gotten about all the fat that he could from that wolf, he had just about a cup and a half full. It was getting dark now and he hurriedly walked back to the camp. Elder White took the pan and put it over the fire and the fat turned soft and melted into oil. Then he poured it into a dish, and he tore up some pieces of rag. He put them in the oil and twisted them and dipped them in the oil and twisted them until they took shape. Then he laid them up on the edge of the dish. He lit it. It sputtered a little bit and then it flared up in a nice flame. Elder White had his light;
And so he went on with his work of writing, writing, with the light given from the oil which came from the wolf. came, and he was still writing. came, and he hadn’t quite finished. He looked into the dish. Yes, there was plenty of oil. came and he looked again. He had finished the tract now and there was still some oil left. But he had the copy for the tract and his letter ready to go. He pinched out the flame and went to bed.
Early in the morning when the men took the fish to Black Hawk and
, they took the letter to be mailed to the publishing
house, and the copy for the tract. Elder White did not let them down. He
hadpromised and he kept the promise. He found a way to do what needed to be
We think that the pioneers did some great things, and they did. But they were prepared to do difficult things because when they were boys and girls, they had learned to do the hard things. We do not find them, when they found some difficult task saying, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it!” Now I know that you boys and girls never say that, but sometimes boys and girls are tempted to, when they are asked in school or at home to do what seems to be some very hard task. Elder and Mrs. White found a way to do what needed to be done.
About a week later, Mr. Walling came. How glad they were to see him! He brought some food with him too. He explained that he had had some trouble at the saw mill and it just wasn’t convenient to come. He hadn’t realized that Brother and Sister White were suffering actual hunger there in the mountains.
But be that as it may, Elder White “stuck to it.” He found a way to do what needed to be done. He didn’t give up.