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29 - How The Fish Came To Hants Harbor In 1868



from The Treasury of Newfoundland Stories published, by Maple Leaf Mills Limited, in 1961

A gloom hung over the little village of Hants Harbor, a usually bright community of 700 souls. Groups of strong men stood around listless and idle with downcast eyes. The fishing boats were anchored in the little harbor. Women sat at the doors of their homes, despondency written on their faces. Even the children seemed to have given up their usual games. two-thirds of the fishing season had passed and not a single fish was drying on the flakes. It was not that the fish were scarce, there were none. It seemed as if a curse had fallen.

Only one month of the fishing season remained. The flour barrels were getting low, and many families were on short allowance.

Parson Jabez Jones resolved that the time had come for action. He announced that on the following Wednesday a special prayer meeting would unite their hearts in petitioning for one thing only, the which they needed most just now - fish.

Never before had there been such a prayer meeting. Many had to look in through the open windows. After an appropriate hymn had been sung the pastor explained they were to pray for a temporal mercy of which they stood greatly in need. Then he said, "Let us pray". It was a memorable prayer, noteworthy for its directness, logical sequence and boldness, but touched with reverence.

After another hymn was sung Parson Jones asked for one to lead in prayer. A hushed silence fell on the meeting when Sister Lydia started to pray. She was regarded as a saint and was deeply loved. While she prayed there were no loud responses - a few suppressed sobs were heard. When she closed the pastor pronounced the Benediction. As we walked hone he remarked "Mark my words there will be an answer to that prayer". But in the morning all the enthusiasm of the night before seemed to have evaporated. No one seemed to want to go fishing. The one exception was Jeremiah Pelley.

But Jeremiah Pelley was a doubting Thomas. He said that the church was no place to be talking about fish. He did not believe that the prayer would have any effect and he was determined to prove it. He launched his boat, but hardly had he dropped his hook in the water, there was a jerk that nearly pulled the line from his hands. In less than two hours he had loaded his boat.

The news spread like wildfire. There was no cheering; hearts were too full. It wasn't long before every boat was afloat. For several weeks the men hardly allowed themselves two hours of sleep out of the twenty-four.

There are indeed more things wrought by prayer than his world dreams of.



Back to: The Treasury of Newfoundland Stories Menu

This page transcribed by James Butler, 2000
REVISED: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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