written by Edith Whitney Whitson, granddaughter of Ira Joy Stoddard -- missionary to India
This is the story of a little boy who burned his hands on a cake of ice. Did you ever hear of such a thing? Did you ever hold a piece of ice in your hand? It didn't burn you did it? It was cold and you knew that it was cold. Grandpa and Grandma Stoddard, when they were missionaries in India, were so busy teaching and preaching that they did not have time to run errands for themselves. So they hired a little boy about nine years old to run errands for them. They paid him a penny a day and his meals.
It is always hot in India. In the winter it is hot as well as in the summer. There is no snow and ice. The children in the town where grandpa and grandma lived never slid down hill in the snow, because there never was any snow. They never went skating on the ice, because there never was any ice. This little boy, his name was Abdu, had never heard of ice or snow or cold.
One day Grandma heard that a ship had brought some ice to the nearest harbor and some of it had been brought miles over land packed in sawdust so it would not melt too much, to their town. So she called little Abdu, gave him a few pennies, and a cloth sack and told him to go and buy a piece of ice and bring it to her in the sack. She did not have an electric refrigerator as most people do now; and she did not have an ice box that would hold cakes of ice like the one
that we had when I was a small girl. She could not have gotten ice for it, if
she did have one. This was the first time there had been any ice close enough for her to get some and she thought it would be nice to get a little of it and make some ice cold lemonade. A lemon tree grew in her back yard like a cherry tree grows in your yard.
So Abdu went with the pennies and bag and brought home the ice and Grandmother made the ice cold lemonade and everyone had a taste of it. Abdu was quite a hero among his little friends because he had gone to town and brought back ice which none of them had ever seen before. Grandmother heard him talk1ng to the other children about it. Now, remember that. he bad never seen ice before or heard of it. He had to use the words that he knew. One of his friends asked him, "What was it like?"
He said, "I went to town and the merchant gave me a big stone and it was so hot that it burned my hands before I could get it into the bag. I put the bag over my shoulder and the stone was hot against my back all the way home.