A gentleman and his five-year-old daughter were walking hand in hand up and down the room at a railway station in England while waiting for a train. As they were waiting, two policemen came in, bringing with them a prisoner in chains. He was a very wicked man. He had just been sentenced to prison for twenty years. The policemen were taking him to the prison. They gave him a seat in a corner of the room. He was a mean-looking man, and everyone stayed away from him.
As the gentleman and his little girl walked up and down the room, the little girl could not keep her eyes off the prisoner. At first she was afraid of him, but when they reached the part of the room where he sat, she let go of her father’s hand and went to the prisoner. In a gentle voice, and with her eyes full of tears, she said to him, “I feel sorry for you.”
The prisoner frowned at her fiercely, and she ran back to her father’s side. They continued their walk, and when they came near him again, she let go of her father’s hand again, and spoke to the prisoner in the same tender tones, “The Lord Jesus is sorry for you, too.”
Then the train came, and the girl and her father climbed aboard. The policemen and the prisoner boarded a different car, and the little girl never saw the prisoner again.
When the policemen reached the end of their journey, they delivered the prisoner to the keeper of the prison. “We are sorry to have to tell you this,” said one of the policemen, “but this prisoner is ill-tempered and disobedient. He is very hard to manage and we are afraid he will give you great trouble.”
The keeper of the prison was worried. He had so many troublesome cases already, and he did not like having another one. He took extra precautions, making sure the prisoner could not escape and that he was never with any other prisoners.
But to the keeper’s surprise, he had no trouble with this man. The prisoner did whatever he was told to do, and was always respectful and pleasant in his manner. The keeper did not know what to make of it. So, after a while he spoke to the prisoner and asked him how it was that he was so different from what he had been reported to be.
“Sir,” answered the prisoner, “the report was true. I used to be as bad as possible but now I am a changed man.”
He went on to tell about what that dear child had said to him while waiting in the railway station. “Her sweet words melted my hard heart,” he said. “They reminded me of my godly mother … Her words led me to see what a sinner I was, and I turned in repentance to God. He heard my prayers. He gave me His pardon and peace in Christ. Now I am a new man and serve Jesus Christ.”
The keeper was amazed. After some months, when he was convinced the prisoner had told him the truth, he allowed him to speak to the other prisoners. He proved to be a great blessing in that prison. The prisoner never forgot the little girl whose words were used to prick his conscience and bring him to Jesus.
How God sent a Dog to Save a Family and Other Devotional Stories, by Joel Beeke and Diana Kleyn, published by Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapid, MI, 95–97.