Ruth May Fox's "The Parable of the Ten Talents" (1906)

Characters.

Mother and ten daughters, Rachel, Leah, Rebecca, Sarah, Hagar, Deborah, Naomi, Hannah, Mary, Ruth.

MOTHER: Come hither my daughters, the time has come when I must leave you. I go on a journey into a far country. And before I bid you farewell, I desire, as a token of my love, to bestow upon each of you a gift with which, if ye will use them wisely, ye may obtain others. Thus ye will be more fitted for the battle of life, and be much more useful in the kingdom of our Father. When I return I shall require a report of your proceedings and success.

Rachel, uon thee I bestow the gift of diligence. See that thou use it well, for remember "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute."

Thy gift Leah, shall be patience; 'tis a gift of the gods. May it possess thy soul.

Thine Rebecca, is consolation. Search out the poor, administer to their wants, heal up their wounds, and bind up the broken of heart.

Ah, my daughter, "Even in laughter thy heart is sorrowful and the end of thy mirth is heaviness." Thy gift shall be hope, Sarah. Look up, and do not forget, "Whatever is, is best."

Hagar, thy gift is prudence. "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout so is a fair woman without discretion."

Thou, Deborah, shalt have the gift of gratitude. "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name. Worship the Lord in beauty of holiness."

And thine, Naomi, is its twin sister, supplication. "Draw near unto the Lord, and He will draw near unto thee."

Hannah, the gift of faith give I unto thee. With it thou mayest encounter all dangers, remove all obstacles from they path, yea, though they be veritable mountains. So be faithful and fear not.

The wonderful gift of wisdom Mary, I give unto thee. "By her shall thy days be multiplied and the years of thy life be increased."

And now, Ruth, thou are last, but by no means least, I give unto thee that greatest of all gifts, even love, "Though thou speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love, thou art as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. Yea, though thou bestowest all thy goods to feed the poor, and though thou givest they body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth thee nothing." And now farewell, presevere in that which have appointed unto you. [Exit].

(Girls Compare Gifts.)

LEAH: O! I am so glad our good mother gave me patience. I do so much need it with all you girls to trouble about. However, I do hope you will put your gifts to the best possible use, and not trouble me any more than my patience will endure.

SARAH: My gift is hope. And I do hope that our sweet mother will return in safety.

REBECCA: I am most happy in my gift, I always wanted to be a sister of mercy. And to visit the fatherless, and the widow, is indeed pure and undefiled religion.

DEBORAH: How thankful we should be for our dear wise mother. Don't you think so, Hagar?

HAGAR: Well! I cannot see what good these gifts will be to us. I have more than I can do now without cultivating talents. Whay say you Rachel?

RACHEL: Well, [with a sigh] mine means work as usual, but I will be diligent.

NAOMI: Well said Rachel; let us pray for strength according to our several needs.

HANNAH: According to your faith so be it unto you.

RUTH: Each one to your task girls, with all diligence, until our mother returns. And see that "ye love one another."

(All the girls retire excepting Mary. Hagar reluctantly follows looking at Mary, who has ben reading a book.)

HAGAR: (tauntingly) How wise our Mary will be when mother returns! (Exit.)

MARY: (reads)

"O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

"Hear: for I will speak excellent things: and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

"For my mouth shall speak truth: and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

"All the words of my mouth are in righteousness: there is nothing forward or preverse in them.

"They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

"Receive my instructions, and not silver: and knowledge rather than choice gold."

(Curtain. If curtain can not be obtained, let a slight pause follow.)

MARY: (Alone on stage) Here comes mother, girls! prepare to meet her.

ALL: (Entering) Most welcome, gracious mother!

MOTHER: Heaven bless you, my daughters. Right glad I am to meet you all in good health. How have you prospered? And what have you to report?

LEAH: Dear mother, I have most earnestly endeavored to exercise the gift of patience, and with it I have checked many an unkind word, and have conquered many turbulent spirits; many a difficult task has become comparatively easy, and thorny paths have been made smooth; and above all, I have learned to subdue myself, to be contented with my lot and to bear calmly, and peacefully, whatever God hath sent.

MOTHER: 'Tis well, my daughter. "He that conquers himself is greater than he that taketh a city."

RACHEL: My gift is diligence. For me it has unlocked the doors to countless treasures. I have been enabled to gather around me many of the luxuries of life. And I find that igorance will flee before it, and sloth will vanish away. With it I may obtain knowledge and understanding to keep the commandments of God, so that eventually I may pass beyond the gates into the unseen worlds where glory, and honor, await those who are diligent in the cause of truth.

MOTHER: This is indeed good news, Rachel. The blessings of eternity shall be thine.

REBECCA: Good mother, I have indeed found joy in my gift. And with it I have gained others, for in visiting the poor and afflicted, I have received the gift of gratitude for the many blessings vouchsafed unto me. I have also received the gift of supplication, praying my heavenly Father to pour out His Spir[i]t upon those who mourn, and to preserve His people everywhere from needless affliction. Then, too, my faith has been increased because no matter what His people are called upon to endure, if they are humble and faithful, I find that He never forsakes them.

MOTHER: 'Tis true my daughter. "Though they walk through the valley of the shadow of death they need fear no evil." What sayest thou, Sarah?

SARAH: My most noble mother, precious indeed is the gift thou gavest me. It has taught me that whatever God sends is necessary for my weldfare; when the days are dark and dreary, I remember that tomorrow the sun may shine; and that even though I pass through afflictions, if I bear them hopefully, and cheerfully, they will but make me stronger and better, and a more profitable servant in the Church of God. I have learned that all that God has made is beautiful, and I can swith the poet,

"All times are summer to the heart that sings,
All places heaven to the soul with wings."

MOTHER: Noble girl! Thy joys shall be many.

DEBORAH: WIth all my soul I thank thee for the talent, which is mine. All day long I render gratitude to my Fahter for HIs goodness unto me, for my parents, my birth, and for the blessings of the everlasting gospel. And when I remember that Im even I, was reserved with other choice spirits to come forth in the latter days, to help in the redemption of those who know not God, nor acknowledge His bounteous mercies, my joy is boundless. And when I read that "the anger of the Lord is kindled against none, save those who acknowledge not His hand in all things," then O! mother, I do so wish that all His sons and daughters would be grateful to Him, who has given them all--even life itself, that they might be happy, even as I am.

MOTHER: My daughter, heaven dwelleth in thy heart, peace and joy attend thee.

NAOMI: What a comforting gift is mine, dear mother. I have cried unto the Lord and He hath heard my voice. I feel to exclaim with the Psalmist David,

"O give thanks unto the Lord. Call upon His name.
Make known His works among the people.
Sing unto HIm, sing psalms unto Him, talk ye of His wondrous works.
Glory ye in His holy name, let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord."

MOTHER: Naomi, Thou hast truly sought and found. Hannah, thy gift was faith. What hath it profited thee?

HANNAH: Sweet mother, in thine absence I was left entirely to myself, and many difficulties assailed me until I felt very weak and helpless, when, suddenly I remember my talent which thou didst so graciously bestow upon me. I besought God for strength to exercise it, and I found that according to my faith so did I accomplish. I discovered too smothing that I had not before though of, that faith prompts all my actions, and that by its use I could greatly increase it, until in the great future all things may be possible unto me.

MOTHER: Faithfully done my daughter, may nothing daunt thee.

MARY: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Mother, I believe that wisdom is the greatest gift of all, for it embraces all other gifts. If a man have wisdom he will be obedient, he will be just, honest, and virtuous; he will have diligence, prudence, and patience; he will love his neighbor as himself. He will have an understanding mind, "Faith, hope, and charity combined." And so, good mother, the gift of wisdom has gained all these other gifts for me. And words are too feeble to express my gratitude.

RUTH: Nay, mother, but thou didst give me the greatest gift, even love. For love, which is but another name for charity, never faileth. It will smooth the most difficult way. It will melt the most melt the hardest heart. It will win the smallest child and subdue the strongest man. It chains the earth to heaven, and will eventually make the earth a paradise.

MOTHER: Thou art right my child. Love is the lever that moves the universe. But what says my daughter Hagar?

HAGAR: Ah! 'Tis such a wonderful gift, my mother, to know how to speak, when to speak, and what to speak. So few women possess this rare attainment that I was afraid to use it. Here it is, mother, just as you gave it to me.

MOTHER: Foolish girl! with it thou mightest have gained many other talents. Even wisdom should not have been withheld from thee. But, because thou hast neglected, and in no wise tried to improve thy gift, it shall be taken from thee and given to they sister Rachel, whose diligence will magnify it until it shall become a power in her hands.

And because of they slothfulness thou hast also lost thy other gifts. In sorrow shall thy days be passed until thou dost truly repent. (Takes the gift and to Rachel and addresses the nine.) As for you, my daughters, you have been faithful over a few things. God will add to you yet many things. "For unto every one which hath shall be given, but from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away."

(Cards hanging from ribbons, may be used as gifts.)


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