Stones of Fire by Isobel Kuhn

R.S.B.S Students shaking hands at the close of the school, February 1950.
Frontispiece

The “Stone of Fire” of the title are the Lisu people of the Tibetan plateau, amongst whom Isobel Kuhn served. This title is still in copyright and appears here by kind permission of OMF International-UK. My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this book for digitisation.

Isobel Kuhn [1902-1957], Stones of Fire. London: China Inland Mission, 1951. Hbk. pp.152. [Click here to visit the download page for this title]

Contents

  • Prelude
  1. A Stone is quarried
  2. Stones in His Pocket
  3. A Stone Selected
  4. Two Stones are Set Together
  5. War—as Diamond Dust
  6. The Climax of the Lapidary’s Skill
  7. Made only of Desert Dust
  8. The Coomunist Stone of Fire
  9. From His Pocket to His Crown

Prelude

Stones of fire. The first time I ever saw them was in a setting as unique as unexpected.

It was many years ago, in the days of youthful agnosticism, and while travelling with the Players’ Club of our university. A yachting club had sponsored our play that night, and after the performance they gave us a dance at their clubhouse on the waters of a lovely lake.

A member of the club, given as partner and until then unknown to me, said, as the orchestra ceased playing, “Come out on to the verandah a moment. I want to show you something.” Dancing up to the clubhouse door which opened on to a balcony over the lake, he led me on to that unlit piazza. Electric light from the ballroom streamed through the doorway, whilst out on the lake the moon was making a softer brilliance on the rippling waters. Giving a quick glance at my puzzled face, this strange man thrust his hand into his trousers pocket, pulled out something and held it in the light from the doorway for me to look at.

“Have you ever seen anything like this?” he inquired. On his open palm lay about ten little pale stones, but as I gazed I became entranced, for each little stone was shooting fire ruby lights, emerald lights, golden lights, amethyst-they were indescribable. It was as if tiny living rainbows had been captured and put into pale translucent prisons from which they were sending forth rays of fire. I was enthralled.

“Oh how beautiful! What are they?” I cried.

“Mexican opals” my partner replied casually. “I like them, and so I carry them loose in my pocket. I like to put my hand down and feel them, even if there is not time to take them out and look at them. I carry them with me wherever I go.”

That was all; but I never forgot those beautiful stones. Not long after that, Christ challenged me and I yielded. In course of time He took me to the end of the earth, and there, in a setting as unique and as unexpected as in the first instance, I found the living counterpart of the little opals from that scene of my youth. The pocket this time was a canyon, thousands of feet deep in mother earth, tucked into the foothills of the Tibetan plateau. The geins were simple unpretentious tribesfolk, rock-like in their fidelities but flashing fire if the depths of their love was touched. Stones of fire. While watching them battle with untoward circumstance, the analogy dawned on me, sweeping me back a quarter of a century in time and over half the world in space. But there it was, perfect. Let us look at them in the light of a comment from Dr. Campbell Morgan….

Pages 7-8.