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A Providential Escape.

It was in the summer of 1825 that a party of some thirty children, ranging in age from five to ten years, were returning to dinner from the District School, some fourteen miles west of Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, when one of those sudden thunder storms, art frequent during the hot season in that part of the world, burst on them. The school-house w as situated in the midst of a piece of waste land known as “ The School Common,” and before the children had cleared the common they were nearly wet through, and the terrific lightning and reverberating thunder were quite enough to appal older and stouter hearts, and they had still another quarter of a mile ere they could reach the village. Although the common itself could boast of neither tree nor shrub, yet just at its edge stood one of those gigantic oaks which the settlers’ axe had spared. Beneath its branches the whole party could easily find shelter, and although the storm had been ragiug five minutes, its foliage was so dense that the ground underneath was quite dry. “ Let us get under the oak,” said one little panting mortal. ‘ ‘ Ay, ay ! ” was echoed and re-echoed by several; whilst all as quickly as possible put the resolution into practice. Just then one one little suddenly said, “ We ought not to stay here. I’ve heard of lightning striking trees, and killing any one who happened to be under.” And at last she persuaded them to face the storm once more, nor did they stop again till they had reached the village, where they took refuge. The storm, furious in its character, soon spent itself ; and an hour and a half after, several of the same little people, well fed, and attired in dry clothing, were again making their way to the school, when suddenly, with blanched cheeks, they saw the old oak which had withstood the storms of centuries, still standing certainly, but with several of its branches torn off, others broken and hanging loose, and its huge trunk scorched as though a fire had been kindled all around it. The tree had been struck by lightning. The news of the narrow escape was soon known, and feelings of admiration for the presence of mind displayed by the little girl were mingled with thankfulness for the narrow escape which she and her companions had made. Perhaps the story may teach those who are unaware of the danger, to avoid the shelter of solitary trees during a thunderstorm. Nothing can he more hazardous, a fact which the death rates by lightning thus attracted show.—“ Chambers’s Journal.”

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A Providential Escape. Ashburton Guardian, 25 October 1879

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