Mary Rowlandson’s life is in jeopardy. Two weeks ago she was shot at and taken as spoils of the siege on her small village in Bay Colony, Massachusetts called Lancaster. Her husband left the night before the ambush to get help from a Boston militia. She still awaits his return.
In the fight, Mary lost her sister, Beth. She saw Beth being struck down at the threshold of her burning house by a devil that looked like he was enjoying the experience. One blow by the club would have sufficed, but the devil continued to defile her and then set her aflame.
Mary viewed other horrors as she tried to run but the buckshot that was mostly taken by her small daughter Sarah was also causing her to see double. Or, was the excruciating pain around Mary’s waist a result of Sarah’s legs squeezing tight on the wound in order to stay on Mary as they made haste?
The same devil that fouled Beth was ready to club Mary when he suddenly stopped. He pulled off her kerchief and yanked at her hair. He stepped closer to her and began to lick a curl as if it was made of honey. He then pushed the woolen cap off of Sarah’s head.
Instead of being killed, the devil herded them to an opening in the stockade. Shoving them through, another devil grabbed her and threw a noose made of hemp around her neck. The other end of the long rope was attached to a horse, one of Mary’s own.
Sarah has been dead now for a week and Mary is doing her best to forget the child and concentrate on her living children. She spoke with her son, Josh, earlier that week and found he and his sister were slaves to an Indian family in a nearby village.
In that brief encounter, Josh had to tell Mary what happened to Goody Joslin. He cried as he retold the ugly affair. Ann Joslin was going into labor as they walked away from the fighting and her wails were irritating the warriors. Josh said he and some other children were made to dance around her in a circle. When that did not stop the noise, one of the devils jumped atop her and cut her wailing throat.
All Mary could think to console him with was trust in the Lord. All her Puritan beliefs were not helping though. And where was her husband? Was she not worth rescuing?
Set in 1672 early America, Amy Belding Brown’s book Flight of the Sparrow is an intriguing page turner and the first book in this semester’s Reading Roundtable at Northwest. Digital Librarian Maya Berry will lead the discussion and Amy Brown will Skype in on January 27 at 2 p.m. at the R. C. Pugh Library in Senatobia.