My parents were among the early pioneers of South Africa. They arrived in Natal in 1850, and in later years my mother would often tell us of the wild animals which surrounded them in those days, as many as twenty-five elephants being seen in one morning. There were also a great number of snakes of different kinds, some of which were thought to be very poisonous; others, which were considered harmless, we were allowed to play with. One of my brothers had made a pet of a young boa-constrictor. These snakes do not bite, but their power to harm lies in crushing, to do which it seems to be necessary for them to get their tails round a tree or stone or something firm to hold on to. My brother used to allow the young boa to coil itself around his body, but one day he was heard calling for help, and it was found that the snake had its tail around something and was squeezing so hard that my brother showed signs of distress. He was quickly set free, but after that he had to find another playfellow.

Years after, when studying Christian Science, the impersonality of evil was explained to me and I was told to be careful not to attach evil to any one's personality, as by so doing we give it power in belief. I at once remembered about the boa-constrictor, and I hope the little story may help others to see that evil can do no harm unless it is attached to some person or some things. Mrs. Eddy tells us on page 186 of Science and Health, "Every mortal must learn that there is neither power nor reality in evil;" and again on page 330 we read, "Evil is nothing, no thing, mind, nor power."

January 11, 1913

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