Collection 1

March 27, 2017

Arty from the Arctic

The snowman stood there, glistening in the pale sunlight. This was a masterpiece, this snowman. Uncle George had helped them. Benny gave it a final pat and stood back to inspect their work.

“This is the best snowman we ever made,” he said, clapping the snow off his gloves.

“You know, I think it really is,” said David. “What shall we call him this year?”

“Frosty,” yelled little Susie.

“We want something a bit more original than that,” replied David. “Now let me think.”

“I know, Arctic. Yes, Arty from the Arctic,” said Benny.

“Oh yes,” squealed Susie. “That’s a lovely name for him, Mr. Arty Arctic.”

“I hereby christen you Arty from the Arctic. There, it’s official now,” declared David.

March 16, 2017

The Letter of Certainty

"Grandpa, tell me how the Kitáb-i-Iqán was written," Justice Ray said to his grandfather one afternoon during his grandfather's visit.

"Do you have your schoolwork done?"

"Almost." A few minutes later he reappeared. "I'm done now.” 

"Okay. First, you need to tell me the three people who were involved."

"The Báb, His uncle, and Bahá'u'lláh," Justice remembered.

"What did the Báb do?"

"He said He was a Messenger of God. And a lot of people didn't like that. They had their own ideas of Who a Messenger of God should be."

"What did the uncle do?"

"He was confused, so he wrote to Bahá'u'lláh," replied Justice.

"And..." prompted his grandfather.

"And Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Kitáb-i-Iqán," Justice finished proudly.

March 7, 2017

Flowers for the Ancient King

Once Baha'u'llah had passed from this earthly realm, there remained at least one special way to honor Him. 'Abdu'l-Baha grieved for His Father. He was burdened by the affairs of the infant Baha'i Faith as well. Yet, He found a way to beautify His Father's Shrine outside of ‘Akka. It was not easy in that semi-arid land where the desert always lurks, waiting for a chance to reclaim the land. 

Focused and determined, ‘Abdu'l-Baha made a flower garden for Baha'u'llah.It adorned the path to the Shrine next to the mansion of Bahji. Many, many times He filled His cloak with fresh, fertile soil. Then He gathered up its corners, swung it onto His strong shoulder, and paced steadily to the appointed place. There He dropped His heavy load and spread the precious soil into place.

Then ‘Abdu'l-Baha carefully planted the flowers in a perfect arrangement of color and fragrance. It was a good way to honor the spirit of the Ancient King Who so loved the natural world, particularly flowers.

February 26, 2017

Happy Holidays!

"Happy Easter, Carla!"

Rosemary called to her friend in the hallway as she entered the classroom. "Happy Naw-Ruz everyone!"

The members of the New Era Baha'i Club looked up from their lunches. Everyone smiled. 

"Happy Naw-Ruz to you, too, Rosemary," Michael said. "Come join us."

The New Era Baha'i Club was having its regular lunch meeting. Every day kids from all different religions and races got together to talk, to plan Unity Fairs, to make plans and to consult about problems. Rosemary looked around the room at the diverse faces. Michael was white, Desiree was black, Juana and Julia were twins from Mexico. Jason was Asian, Mas'ud was from Africa and there was a new boy.

"Hi, I'm Rosemary," she said. "What holiday are you celebrating this time of year?"

"This is my new friend, Marty," Michael said, introducing them.

"I'm Jewish," Marty said. "So I'm celebrating Purim this time of year."

November 15, 2016

An Amazing Night

All the Bahá'ís of 'Akka knew that Bahá'u'lláh would soon move from His home in 'Akka to the Mansion of Bahji out in the country. His family was already there, making everything ready for Him. On the night that Bahá'u'lláh was actually to move, Two Bahá'ís, Nabil and Hájí Muhammad Táhir, were sitting by their window in 'Akka waiting for Bahá'u'lláh to pass by. They treasured every glimpse of Him. When they saw Bahá'u'lláh riding by on His white donkey, they decided to follow Him to the Mansion of Bahjí, circumambulate it, and then walk back home.

To circumambulate means to walk around something. Bahá'ís often circumambulate the holy places where Bahá'u'lláh has lived, saying prayers as they walk. It is a sign of their love for Bahá'u'lláh.

Nabil and Hájí Muhammad Táhir followed quietly about fifty steps behind Bahá'u'lláh all the way to Bahjí. When Bahá'u'lláh went inside the Mansion, they came closer so they could walk on the footpaths close to the Mansion's walls. They were amazed to see that the footpaths on all four sides of the Mansion were crowded with people. They could hear their breathing and their low voices. They could not get close to the Mansion but had to walk in the muddy wheat fields surrounding it as they prayerfully circumambulated Bahá'u'lláh's new home.

September 12, 2016

Sacred Moments with Grandpa

"Grandpa," Brently's imploring 7-year-old eyes looked panicked. Brently trudged from his two-story house across the dry lawn to Grandpa Burrell's porch. Burrell was a porch-sitter whenever the chores were done and the weather allowed it. He held his arms out to his favorite grandson.

"What'sa matter, son?" Grandpa knew the answer even before asking. Brently's asthma-strained breaths could be heard before he'd left his own porch 20 yards away. The child often sought comfort in Grandpa's lap during attacks.

"It's bad, Grandpa," Brently wheezed, climbing onto Grandpa Burrell. The Kansas sky was vividly blue with just a few clouds, the temperature in the nineties; this was harvest weather - hot, dry, and breezy - bringing asthmatic people like Brently a heap of trouble.

Brently's long brown legs reached the ground as he draped himself over Grandpa. He smelled the familiar smells of being on Grandpa's lap: peppermints and pipe tobacco. These were his favorite smells because he so loved his Grandpa.

August 22, 2016

Humble Mouse Meets the First Ray of Sun

Humble Mouse is small and quiet, but she searches for answers to big questions. She often gazes at the sky and wonders, "Where do stars come from? Why are they so bright?" Humble Mouse wants to learn everything about the never-ending forest in which she lives, and about the mountain she climbs when the sun comes out. The sun - she is most curious about the sun, and the rays of light that shine from it.

"Where do all of these things come from?" she asks her friends.

"Humph!" snorts Gruff Bear, when Humble Mouse asks him this big question.

"Why would I need to know that?" Gruff Bear continues. "All I need to know is which berries are tasty, which make me sick, and where I should sleep in winter. Go away now, and stop thinking about silly things." 

Every morning, Humble Mouse wakes up excitedly in her home, which is nestled in the trunk of an old pine tree. Eagerly, she scurries up her tree and plops herself on a thick branch, where she waits to meet the first ray of sun.

She remembers what her Grandmother shared with her before she passed away. "She told me that if I sit quietly and look closely, I can meet the first ray of sun, and it will give me answers to my questions!"

July 10, 2016

Glimpses of the Báb

Suppose you and I had been born in Persia more than a hundred years ago. Suppose we had grown up as Muslim children, hearing the beautiful words of the Qur'an. Suppose we were playing with our cousins and friends, learning to wash before prayers, turning toward Mecca, bowing our heads to the ground on our own prayer rugs. Suppose we were content.

Then we heard about a young Man. This young Man spoke with such power and with such love that our parents took us to listen to Him. When we heard His voice and saw His tender young face, would we see that He had come to change the world?

Suppose the people in our neighborhood were afraid of this young Man, Who called Himself the Báb, which means the ‘Gate’. Suppose we heard shouting from groups of people outside the walls of our home “We are going to find Bábís and drag them through the streets!" What would we feel? Would we want to be part of the small group of devoted Bábís?

Maybe we could get a better idea if we could get a glimpse of what people saw when they actually met the Báb. Here are three stories about the Báb in the words of those who loved Him when He was a child and a grown Man.

May 6, 2016

The Good Reward for an Evil Deed

Some of the Governors of 'Akka were very kind to 'Abdu'l-Baha, but others listened more to His enemies than to His friends and did very cruel things. For instance, some enemies of 'Abdu'l-Baha at one time started a rumor that 'Abdu'l-Baha had left 'Akka and gone to Haifa. With the help of His many friends, they said, He was building a strong fort on Mount Carmel. Very soon, He would take over all of Palestine and Syria, and the Turkish Government would be driven out.

It was true that 'Abdu'l-Baha had moved to the fresh air of Haifa with His family, and it was true that He had many friends of all nationalities, but the so-called fort He was building was really the sacred Shrine of the Báb. The Governor, however, believed the stories the enemies told, and 'Abdu'l-Baha's family was brought back to the prison-city of 'Akka once again.

On one occasion an unfriendly Governor who hated the Baha'is decided to take over their shops and leave them with no means of making a living. So he gave orders to the police: "There are fifteen shops owned by Baha'is; go tomorrow morning early, lock them up, and bring the keys to me."

April 14, 2016

A Living Spirit: Thomas Breakwell

On a hot summer day in 1901, a young man named Thomas Breakwell walked the quiet streets of Paris, France, where he was visiting. The day was very still. Flowers did not nod in the gardens; there was no wind to make them dance. Leaves did not hum in the tall trees; there was no wind to make them sing.
Suddenly, Thomas felt the air begin to move. It rushed all around him, and the breeze seemed like a sweet voice saying "Christ has come again! Christ has come again!" The sound was so loving and happy that it made Thomas happy, too. He wondered if Christ really had come again, and when and where it might have happened.

The next day, Thomas went to see his friend, May Maxwell. May Maxwell was a Baha'i from America who went all over the world teaching the Baha'i Faith. She and Thomas had talked about God before, but she had not told him about the Baha'i Faith. When he spoke to her of the sound like a sweet voice in the wind that had said "Christ has come again! Christ has come again!", she told him that she was a Baha'i, and that Baha'is believe in Baha'u'llah, the Glory of God. Baha'u'llah, she said, had the same spirit as Christ, the Holy Spirit, and He was the One Who Christ promised would come. She also said that Baha'is must help all people to know and love Baha'u'llah, so that they will love each other and live in peace together.

March 8, 2016

Tahirih - The only woman ‘Letter of the Living’

The Letters of the Living were the first people who, each individually, and without help from others, recognized the promised One, the Báb, in 1844. They became His first Disciples and they are known to posterity by the title bestowed on them by the Báb! All but one of them were men. Tahirih was the only woman among the Letters of the Living. Here is the story of how she found the Promised One and the incredible role that she played in proclaiming His Message to the world.

Tahirih lived in Persia over one hundred and seventy years ago. In fact, she lived there at the time when the Báb began teaching His message and she became one of His first followers.  She was the only woman among the first special nineteen followers to believe in Him who the Báb named ‘The Letters of the Living’.

One day, while Tahirih was visiting her cousin, she found some books that interested her very much. They were written by a holy man of Persia called Shayk Ahmad, who had been preparing for a long time for the coming of a new Teacher from God. Shaykh Ahmad was sure that this was the time when such a great Prophet would appear and he had written many books about it. These were the books that Tahirih had found. She borrowed them from her cousin and spent most of her time reading and studying them.

February 15, 2016

Brothers and Sisters for Twinkle

Ever since Mary Ann Snow was a wee baby her eyes were so big and twinkly, that her father called her "Twinkle" and so did everyone else. When she was eight years old she was a pretty little girl with soft brown hair and pink cheeks. Her feet were dancing feet and her hands were clapping hands whenever she was happy. She lived in a nice white and green house in the country with her father, her mother and her Grannie. She should have been a happy child most of the time but I am sorry to say that sometimes she was sad indeed. Why was she sad, you ask? Well, because she had no brothers or sisters and there were no children nearby.

There were many pets: Rufus the big white cat; Blackie the little black dog; Chee-Chee, the yellow singing canary bird; and Do-Re-Me, the three gold fish in the bowl on the window seat near Daddy's favorite chair. These were Twinkle's very own pets and she loved them dearly. She would talk to them and they would talk back to her in their own special way.

Then there were birds in the trees outside; hens and baby chicks in the hen yard; there were ducks and ducklings in the pond; cows in the pastures, some with tinkling bells around their necks; there were horses in the barn that loved to lick sugar off of Twinkle' s hand and would sometimes take her riding; sometimes garter snakes slithered past Twinkle in the tall grass and Twinkle loved them all , second best to her in-doors pets. She counted them all as her friends, yet they belonged to the animal kingdom and Twinkle was lonely for children, belonging to the human kingdom like herself and Mother and Daddy and Grannie and Katy who worked in the kitchen and Tom and Ken who worked in the fields. So each evening Twinkle would pray for a brother or sister and then she would fall asleep and dream about them.

January 10, 2016

The Lost Kitten

Calla was a kitten that nobody wanted. She was a little grey and white kitten with blue eyes. She was not fat and frisky like most kittens because she had no home where there was milk in a saucer on the floor. She just wandered about trying to find something to eat but being such a baby kitten, she did not know exactly where to look for food. Usually the big cats found it first.

Calla followed many different people, mewing in her sad little voice as she ran after them. She seemed to be coaxing to· be taken home. But usually the people would hurry along paying no attention to the homeless kitten, scampering after them. Sometimes a person would stop and say, Scat!, which scared Calla and made her run away.

"Oh Jerry," said Mother, "put that dirty cat down."

"I want to take it home, "Jerry answered." She is a hungry kitten I know."

"But," replied Mother, "we do not have much food at our house."

December 20, 2015

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s temporary separation from Baha’u’llah

‘Abdu’l-Baha was with His Father, Baha’u’llah, all the time and they loved each other very, very much. But one day Baha'u'llah had to go away into the mountains and did not come back for two long years. ‘Abdu’l-Baha was about nine years old.

Missing His Father so much, ‘Abdu’l-Baha sometimes cried. He read the books of the Báb and prayed and helped the Family as much as He could.

There was a bad uncle who was living in their house. So afraid of being arrested as a Bábí, he would lock the main gate of the house and would not let the children go out to play. During this sad time many of the Bábís in Baghdad forgot the good teachings of the Báb and began to quarrel among themselves.

Then one day Baha'u'llah returned! His clothes were made of rough cloth, His hair and beard were long and His face was brown from being so many months outside in the wind and sun. ‘Abdu’l-Baha fell to the ground and kissed His Father's feet, and tears fell from Baha'u'llah's eyes as He looked at His beloved Son.

November 15, 2015

The little girl who saw ‘Abdu’l-Baha

There was once a little child who saw ‘Abdu’l-Baha. She lived in America, and her story is rather strange, for she knew about Him before she actually saw Him. He was far across the ocean when she said to her mother one day, “Mummy, if Jesus were here what would you do?”

Her mother answered, “I would go to Him as fast as I could!”

“Well, Mummy, He is here in the world somewhere,” she told her mother.

“Now Precious, what do you mean? How do you know?”

Her little girl then said," He told me so Himself, so He must be here."

The mother was puzzled because her daughter was so sure, and the mother prayed that she would know what it all meant.

The next day, the child asked her mother why she had not gone to see Lord Jesus." He's told me two times that He is here," she insisted.

September 13, 2015

Theresa makes Baha’u’llah’s Birthday a special Day

The little girl lay in her bed under soft covers. As the light of dawn slowly filled the room, a small bird flitted onto a tree outside and began to chirp. In the barnyard, the rooster crowed loudly and Theresa stirred in her sleep.

Her brown eyes opened. Her first thought was: "Today is a special day. It is Someone's birthday - Someone important. It is Baha'u'llah's Birthday." Theresa jumped out of bed, eager for the day to start. Birthdays were one of her favorite things. There were always fun things to do - candle-lit cakes and parties and friends. How she did love it all!

She stood before her closet. Mother had said that she did not have kindergarten today because it was a Holy Day. So Theresa did not choose a schooldress to wear. After slipping into some play clothes, she went into the bathroom, where she brushed her teeth and hair until they shone.

Mother was cooking breakfast in the warm kitchen. She set a plate in front of Theresa, who drew in a deep breath of the sweet pancake smell. Mother kissed the top of her head and told her it was like kissing the ebony wings of a bird. It was very nice to think that her black hair matched the color of a bird's feathers. She liked birds. In fact, she felt close to all of God's animal creatures.

August 15, 2015

The Horse Show

Carrie Willis stood at the wooden fence surrounding the pasture, and brushed the flowing blonde mane of her palomino mare, Lady. Her large eyes filled with tears as she said good bye to the horse she had raised from a colt. "Oh, Lady, I'm going to miss you so much. Any minute someone will come and take you away and I may never see you again."  

Carrie still remembered the pain she felt when her father first told her they had to sell Lady. "Winter will be coming soon," he had said, "and we cannot afford to buy hay and grain this year. I wish there was some other way, Carrie. But I am afraid we must sell her."

She tried talking her father out of it. She even offered to get a job after school to help buy Lady's feed. But her father would not hear of it. So the next week, Lady was sold to the Lion's Club. They were going to give her away as a prize at the annual Labor Day horse show.

So, engrossed in her thoughts, Carrie did not hear the truck and trailer pull into the driveway. Only when the doors of the truck slammed shut did she awaken to see two men walking toward her.  

"Hello there, miss," said the tallest man. "Is this the horse that is going to the fair grounds?"  

Carried nodded.  

"She sure is a beauty," said the other man, busily tying a rope into a lasso. "I would like to win her myself."  

July 12, 2015

Waiting for the Master

One day, behind the hot stone walls of the prison city of 'Akká, Bahá'u'lláh said, "I have not gazed on verdure for nine years." It had been nine years since He had rested His eyes on green and growing things. 'Abdu'l-Baha knew how much His Father longed for the countryside. He was determined to gain for Him His heart's desire.

First, it seemed impossible to get permission for a prisoner to leave the city. However, Bahá'u'lláh had lived among the inhabitants of 'Akká for nine years. He had already won them over with His love and good will. Even the governor, longed to see Bahá'u'lláh happy and comfortable. Eventually, he said that Baha'u'liah was free to pass beyond the prison walls whenever He wished. He could find a home in the countryside nearby.

The best wishes of the people of' Aká were in hand. 'Abdu'l-Bahá set to work immediately to find a suitable place. First. He was able to arrange for the Blessed Beauty to live at Mazra'ih, a lovely home surrounded by vegetable gardens and orange groves. But by 1879, two years later, that beautiful house was no longer big enough. Bahá'u'lláh’s family was large, and there were many pilgrims. 'Abdu'l-Bahá set out to find a bigger home. He discovered Bahjí, the beautiful palace that Bahá'u'lláh called the Lofty Mansion. At Bahjí, Bahá'u'lláh met with the believers and revealed His Writings. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá continued to live in 'Akktá. There He met with the many city officials and countless other people. He made sure that no one interfered with His Father's Revelation. No one was allowed to disrupt His peace and comfort. 'Abdu'l-Bahá was ever His Father's Shield. Bahá'u'lláh often said,"It is the Master who is able to endure all of these demands and still see to the comfort of the believers."  

June 7, 2015

One Meritorious Act

Sanam sat on a rooftop in a bed draped with a white mosquito net, not wanting to go to sleep.

"Tell me just one more story," she begged her grandmother. "Then I'll go to sleep. I promise."

"Get under your covers, then," her grandmother replied.

Sanam got under the covers while her grandmother sat on the edge of the bed and closed the mosquito net tightly behind her.

"When I was a young girl like you," her grandmother recounted, "I loved being with my grandmother, Naneh-joon, just as much as you love being with me.  

"Naneh-joon was a very devout Muslim. She got up to pray before the sun rose and went to bed after her midnight prayer. Even in her old age and poor health, she went to the mosque every day. She gave money to the poor and was kind to all.