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The Holy Family in Prayer

Heroism of a poor slave

Tom, a poor slave, bought on the coast of Africa, had been transported to the West Indies. There he embraced Christianity, whose principles he adopted; and as, by his regular conduct, he had won the good graces of his master, the latter freed him, made him his steward and entrusted him with important work. One day, the planter wanted to buy about twenty slaves. He went to the market with his faithful Tom. The unfortunate slaves were on display for sale, and he ordered him to choose those who seemed suitable to become good workers. To his astonishment, Tom also presented him with an old man who was no longer able to work, along with other slaves, and asked him to buy him. The master refused, and the old slave would not have been taken if the merchant had not promised to give him away, provided that twenty other slaves were bought; his proposal was accepted and the deal concluded. When they arrived at the plantations, Tom did not cease to lavish the most tender care on the old man. He housed him in his cabin and made him eat at his table; if he was cold, Tom took him out in the sun; if he complained of the heat, he made him sit in the shade of the coconut trees. In a word, he did everything that a devoted son could have done for the best of fathers. Surprised by this extraordinary attachment that Tom had for his subordinate, the master wanted to know the reason. One day he asked him, “Is this your father? – No, master, he is not my father. – Is this an older brother of yours? – No, it is not my brother. – Is it perhaps your uncle or another of your relatives? Because it is not possible that you hold in such great friendship a man who is completely foreign to you! – No, master! He is not my relative, he is not even my friend! – Explain to me why you show such consideration for him? – He is my enemy!” replied Tom. He sold me to the white men on the coast of Africa, but I cannot hate him, because the missionary Father said to me: If your enemy is hungry, give him food; if he is thirsty, give him drink…

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