Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)


Carefree Childhood Days

With her brothers and sisters Ellen made little journeys into the woods. In later years she told her children of how on one fall day they went in search of hickory nuts, gathered and hidden by the squirrels. 1BIO 20.1

Ellen, always compassionate, took with her a little cloth bag of corn. When she found a cache of nuts in a hole in a hollow tree, she eagerly retrieved her find and then substituted the corn she had brought, hoping that the exchange would not be too disappointing to the provident squirrels. 1BIO 20.2

As with most families of modest circumstances in those days, the milk supply came from the family cow. Whether the story she was to tell in later years took place in Gorham before the family moved to Portland, or after they had taken up residence in the southern outskirts of the city, is difficult to determine. We do know that Ellen at an early age learned to milk and loved the animals for which she cared. 1BIO 20.3

One evening as she went to the pasture gate to bring the cow to the shed for milking, the bossy that usually was there waiting for her was nowhere in sight. Ellen went down through the woods, frequently calling the cow. Not until she had reached a little brook in the valley below, did she hear a response. To her dismay she found the cow in the middle of the stream, with all four feet stuck in the mud. Immediately Ellen set about devising a plan to get the cow unstuck. Picking some luscious grass nearby, she reached out to the cow, who was grateful for something to eat. After repeating this several times, Ellen offered the cow another generous handful of grass, but this time held it just a little beyond her reach. Then with her free hand grasping the nearest horn Ellen urged, “Come, Bossy,” and moved the grass away. The cow, fearful of losing the promised morsel, put forth extraordinary effort to break loose from the mud. Soon Ellen and cow were making their way back to home and shed. 1BIO 20.4