The Sacrifice (Abram's Daughters Series, #3) The Sacrifice (Abram's Daughters Series, #3) The Sacrifice
Cover design by Dan Thornberg
The portion of a poem cited in chapter thirty-four is as quoted in A Joyous Heart
by Corrie Bender, published by Herald Press of Scottdale, Pennsylvania, in 1994-
The author of the poem is unknown.
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retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic,
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Published by Bethany House Publishers
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Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
Bethany House Publishers is a Division of '.
Bilker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
./: ' Printed in the United States of America
;.; ; ISBN 0-7642-2875-7 (Hardcover)6Cf) A y
.'., . For , :., ,.;
:'"'' Jeannette Green, '
wonderful friend and "sister."
Beautiful in every way.
\; The Betrayal
The Heritage of Lancaster County
; The Shunning ; v
The Confession , ,
1 ,,, , The Reckoning ,,
The Redemption of Sarah Cain
The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook
*with David Lewis8BEVERLY LEWIS, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, fondly recalls her growing-up years. A keen interest in her mother's Plain family heritage has led Beverly to set many of her popular stories in Lancaster County.
A former schoolteacher and accomplished pianist, Beverly is a member of the National League of American Pen Women (the Pikes Peak branch) and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is the 2003 recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award at Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri, and her blockbuster novel, The Shunning, recently won the Gold Book Award. Her bestselling novel October Song won the Silver Seal in the Benjamin Franklin Awards, and The Postcard and Sanctuary (a collaboration with her husband, David) received Silver Angel Awards, as did her delightful picture book for all ages, Annika's Secret Wish. Beverly and her husband have three grown children and one grandchild and make their home in the Colorado foothills. 9/Jyis-0-4,'&
v_>ome June, the first song of the whippoorwill reminds me of berry picking . . . and bygone days. Although it has been over two years since Jonas Mast left for Ohio, I still wonder about him, along with my older sister, Sadie, and am able to pray for their happiness more readily than at first.
Especially now, at summer's onset, when strawberries are ripe and ready for pies and preserves, I think of Jonas. He loved strawberry-rhubarb pie like nobody's business, and both his mamma and mine made it for him with sugar and raw honey, so it was nothing short of wonderful-good. "Desserts ;ire s'posed to be plenty sweet," Mamma has said for as long as I can remember. This, with her irresistible wide-eyed smile. These days Sadie is the one baking such delicious fruit pies for Jonas.
Now and again I feel almost numb for the way things turned out between Jonas, Sadie, and me. Close as I was to each of them, it seems they should have cared enough to send some word early on prior to Bishop Bontrager's strict decree offering an explanation. Anything would've been10
better than this dreadful silence. It's the not knowing how things got so verkehrt topsy-turvy that causes the most frustration in me. The lack of word from Ohio confirms my worst fears. I expect even now Sadie probably wonders if I have any idea she is married to Jonas, or that I feel strongly she stole him away from me. How on earth does she live with herself?
I'm slowly accepting the split between my beau and me, since it would be wrong to pine for a man who belongs to another. Most folk just assume I've passed the worst of it and am moving on with life. They will never know truly, because I tend to go about things rather cheerfully .. . and, too, so much time has passed since that devastating autumn. It does still puzzle me, if I think on it, how one minute we were so happily planning our wedding, and then, clear out of the blue, a most peculiar letter arrived saying Jonas suspected Gideon Peachey of carrying a torch for me. Even though I promptly wrote to reassure him of my devotion and love, I never again heard from him. Downright baffling it is.
Of course, if Jonas were privy to my present friendship with Smithy Gid, he might have a little something to go on. But, back then, nothing was further from the truth. Fact was, my heart belonged wholly to Jonas, and nothing and no one could make me think otherwise. Not Smithy Gid, nor his sister Adah, my closest friend. Not even dear Dat and Mamma, though my father has long hoped Gid might one day win my affections.
With the revelation of Aunt Lizzie's secret to me to Mary Ruth and Hannah, too my father's and grandfather's health seems much improved and both Mamma and Aunt
Lizzie have a new spring in their step, in spite of the vacant spot at the supper table. Sadie's absence is a constant source of worry, especially since she's been shunned from the Gobbler's Knob church. And Dat was right; the bishop after a reasonable time insisted Sadie's letters be returned unopened. It's no wonder she stopped writing along about C Christmastime after leaving for Ohio. I wish to heavens I might've been allowed to read those things she wrote to us.
Some days it seems as if my sister has been away for years on end. But if that were true, I'd be thought of as a maidel by now, which I'm surely not. I am still only nineteen a few years under the limit of the expected marrying age though if Smithy Gid had his way, he and I would be hitched up already.
The berry patch calls to me even now as I help Dat with morning milking. Seems there's something nearly sacred about creeping along the mounded rows, the blissful buzz of nature in my ears, long runners tripping at my bare feet as the blistering sun stands high and haughty in the sky and the tin bucket steadily fill^' with plump red fruit. Being out there alone with the birds and the strawberry plants, beneath the wide and blue heavenly canopy, soothes my soul and sets my world aright. At least for a time . . .
What doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
If I he morning Mamma quietly announced her baby news, Leah hung back a bit, standing near the kitchen door, while Bier twin sisters, especially Mary Ruth, were overjoyed at Mamma's being in the family way again. Many of the Old fcrder viewed it as shameful to share such things with unmarftied children, but both Mamma and Dat felt otherwise and Eidn't hesitate to include their four eldest daughters, though (Hiscreetly.
"Since Lydiann's* a toddler and not so little anymore, it'll uhe fun to have a baby around again," declared Mary Ruth. I "And wonderful-gut for Lydiann to have a close-in-age
['brother or sister." Hannah's smile stretched from ear to ear as
jtghe seemingly took the news in her stride, much as Dat must
surely have, too, when Mamma told him in private earlier.
Leah had suspected nothing of this from Dat, although
I ic'd had plenty of opportunity to say something during early -
' morning chores. Her father had never been one to speak of
personal things; she knew this firsthand, because, for some
time now, she had been asking for information relating to her
own birth, to no avail. "For goodness' sake, Leah," he would say each time she brought it up, "be grateful the Good Lord made you healthy and strong, that you were born headfirst. What else wouldja care to know?"
But there were certain things she did ponder, such as who her first father might be. Lizzie, however, seemed unable to discuss the subject. Is it too hard to dredge up the past? Leah wondered. Or was Lizzie simply unwilling to bring it up for fear of implicating a member of the Hickory Hollow Amish church, miles away? There were also nagging questions concerning the day Leah was born in the Ebersol Cottage, but she couldn't bear to ask them of Lizzie.
Mary Ruth broke the stillness, glancing furtively at Leah as she said, "Maybe Dat will finally get a real son."
"Aw, pity's sake," Mamma said, shaking her head at Mary Ruth. She went to sit on the wooden bench next to the kitchen table, fanning herself with the hem of her long black apron. Her round face was flushed from the heat of the wood stove, where she had two strawberry pies baking.
"But ... if the baby is a girl," Hannah spoke up, "there'll be less sewing to do."
Leah spoke at last. "Only if we get busy and make plenty of little afghans 'tween now and December. Lydiann was a spring baby, don't forget."
At this Leah caught Mamma's sweet and gentle smile. "That's my Leah, always leaning toward the practical."
Mary Ruth continued to chatter, asking where Lydiann would sleep once the wee one came.
Quickly Hannah suggested, "Why, she can sleep with us. Ain't so, Mary Ruth?" , > ;: ^
17 O a c r if I
c rif lc e
I Mamma laughed at that. "I daresay there wouldn't be In inch sleeping goin' on. Not as wiggly as that one is!" I Leah turned and slipped outdoors, going to the hen house, where she scattered feed to the chickens. Inside, she leaned Iftgninst the rickety wall, watching them peck the ground near IIht bare feet. "Honestly," she said right out, "I don't know whether to be happy or sad about a new baby."
The hens paid her no mind, but the lone rooster cocked his head and eyed her curiously. In all truth, she had forced a smile about Mamma expecting a little one come next Christinas. Here, with only the chickens for company, she recalled (he months before two-year-old Lydiann came into the world. Mamma had been ever so tired . . . nauseated, too. At close In forty-five, she was not nearly as energetic and strong as in years past, but there were a good many women that age or older in the family who had no trouble birthing babies. Leah was glad her mother came from a long line of such women.
11 uleed, she was happy at the prospect of Dat's having his first son should the baby turn out to be a boy.
Heading qSt of the hen house toward the barnyard, Leah was suddenly aware of Smithy Gid calling to her from the brink of the cornfield. "Wie geht's, Leah. Do ya have a minule?"
Out of habit, she glanced toward the back door, curious if Mamma or one of the twins was observing her with Gid, who was not only breathless from running, but his eyes were strangely aglow. "What is it?" she asked.
He grinned down at her. "I've got a whole new litter of German shepherd pups, and I think there's another dog Abram your pop might just take a shinin' to."
e a e r I y
It was common knowledge Dat wanted a third dog, after having purchased from Gid his second German shepherd, Blackie, well over a year ago. "With a houseful of women folk, another male dog might be worth thinkin' about. 'Least I won't be so outnumbered anymore," he'd said that very morning, chuckling heartily.
She walked alongside Gid to the barn, listening as he described the various puppies' coloring.
"Does Dat know about the recent pups?" she asked.
"He oughta, 'cause I ain't been talkin' to myself all these weeks." They both laughed at that; then Gid added, "I believe Abram's just waitin' for the gut word."
She felt her cheeks warm. "Then you best be tellin' him."
His eyes lit up. "Well, now, I wanted to tell you, Leah."
She held her breath, scared he might take this opportunity to say more, them alone this way.
And he did, too ... at least started to. "I've been wantin' to ask ya something."
She took a small step back. In fact, she had been inching away from him, romantically at least, her whole life long, and for all good reason. She had always loved her second cousin Jonas, though she had made a conscious effort to bury her bitter sadness, hiding it from her family and especially from Smithy Gid, who remained a right good friend as he'd always been even more so lately. Yet Leah shuddered at the thought of Gid showing kindness to her out of mere pity. Surely their friendship was more special than that. But she had no intention of leading him on just because he was clearly fond of her.
Ach,, she groaned inwardly, wishing someone anyone
might come flying into the barn. But no one did, and not wen the barn doves, high in the rafters, made a sound as the Httllthy's son reached for her hand. "Uh, Gid . . ." What she rBttlly wanted to tell him was please don't say another word, but the words got trapped in her throat. She knew all too well the ftl'he of' rejection, and the way his eyes were intent on hers