Kristina Roy

"Without God in the world"

Martinko was found clasped in the arms of his mother, who had frozen to death. The mayor's wife cared for him until he was about thirteen; then he was given to the care of the old village shepherd. Follow Martinko as he searches for God and someone to teach him.

This simple little Slovak idyll was written before World War 1 when Slovakia was the northern portion of Hungary. In 1918 the new Republic of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed, which consists of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Ruthenia, and part of Silesia. Slovakia, the scene of this little story extends from the highest peaks of the Carpathian Mountains to the Danube: a truly romantic country, particularly in the more northern reaches. Here beautiful rivers flow rapidly down deep valleys, upon whose dizzy crags the ruins of picturesque old castles are perched, about which cling many almost blood-curdling tales. The language is Slovak, a Slavic tongue so nearly akin to Czech (Bohemian) that the two peoples understand one another quite well. In fact, among the Lutherans the Czech Bible and a Czech hymnbook are used. The majority of the Slovaks are Roman Catholics, but the village of Raschowo, where the shepherd boy Martinko spent his short life, is a Lutheran place.

There is scarcely any spiritual life in these villages, but God by His Spirit is working, and in the district where the gifted authoress lived and worked many have been brought to Christ. Dr. Baedeker and others have visited the authoress and those associated with her many times. Our desire in translating this little story into English is that prayerful interest may be awakened, not only in Slovakia, but also for all the Slavic races of Eastern and South Europe. This book has also appeared in German (with innumerable editions), Hungarian, Russian and Chinese.

Village life in Slovakia, as well as in most Continental lands, is different from that in England. The mayor so often mentioned is usually a well-to-do peasant of some intelligence who is supposed to see that order is maintained in the village and to settle minor disputes. The notary, on the other hand, is an educated state official, acting as registrar and assessor of taxes.

Each village has a parish shepherd, who tends all the cattle and sheep on the common, meadows and grazing fields enclosed by hedges or fences being unknown. One is reminded of Isaiah 1:3 when observing the returning herd as the evening comes on. "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib." Each animal, as they skelter down the village street, aims instinctively for its own home, whose big gate-like door is thrown open to welcome it. May each reader of this touching story know that, if one really belongs to the Good Shepherd, the entrance to the many mansions of the Father's house on high will be opened wide to receive him.

The story is not really founded on fact, but the setting is typically Slovak and many such out of the way ones have truly been brought to Christ. The authoress had the joy of pointing many young hearts to Him, particularly in the Orphan Home she maintained by faith for many years.

80 pages -- hardcover with dustcover
Dimensions: 5.4" x 7.5"
ISBN: 962745804X
Copyright: early 1900s
Bible Light Publishers
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SUMMARY: 6308 Martinko by Kristina Roy