I was reading Martyrs’ Mirror tonight, perusing some of the (horrific) stories about the suffering of our Anabaptist ancestors over the past five hundred years. It really struck me how strong those early believers were! Would we be as loyal and faithful as Maeyken Wens who had her tongue screwed to stop her from spreading her beliefs? I’m not always so sure. Her story always strikes me as being especially touching, especially since my edition of the book has a hand-drawn picture of her children looking through the ashes where she was burned in order to find the tongue screws in order to keep them. The letters that she wrote to her family during her final days really stick with me.
This book is a staple in the Amish home. It amazes me that the young children learn the stories and continue reading it until they are elderly. Truly, they believe the power of history and I often wonder if that is one of the things that helps keep the community together, keeps people from straying.
I encourage all of the readers of Amish fiction…those of you who love these dear, gentle people as much as I do…to read some of this book. It’s truly a powerful journey into the past, one that I believe helps me understand the present (and future) of these amazing people. And, of course, along the way, I learn a little bit about myself with each reading of the stories contain in this amazing book of faith, loyalty, and love.
By the way, you can download it for free from Google Books if you don’t care to buy the entire book (although it sure is beautiful).