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Monday, 9 February 2015
Willing to die
A story to share at Easter
He died for another
Over two hundred years ago, the French Revolution brought fear and terror to France. Rich and powerful people – even the king and queen -were killed by the revolutionaries. Every day, hundreds of people were arrested, dragged from their homes and flung into horrible prisons. They were given hardly any chance to defend themselves, but were sent off to the guillotine to be killed.
Some of those who died probably deserved to be punished, for they had been cruelly thoughtless of the poor and hungry peasants and city workers. But in those terrible days, many good and honest people suffered, too.
Francois-Simon Liozerolles was a young man of twenty two when he and his father, General Loizerolles, were arrested.
First, young Liozerolles was tried. The case went against him and every morning he wondered if it would be his last.
One afternoon, tired and miserable, he flung himself on a couch to rest. His father sat beside him and talked calmly till he fell asleep. When he awoke he looked around for his father and excitedly asked some friends what had become of him. They told him.
While he slept, the tumbrils* had arrived and the warder entered with the list of those who were to die. The name of Francois-Simon Loizerolles was called. The General promptly stepped forward, saying, “I am Loizerolles”. He walked out and climbed in to the cart and was carried away to die.
It was then too late to correct the error. Within a week the reign of terror came to an end and young Loizerolles walked out free!
But he was a changed man and for him the world was a changed world. Everything seemed different after that awakening. He went to sleep, unwilling to die and longing to live. We awoke to love life less and understand it more, because by dying in his place, his father had shown him how to live. All his days he lives as a man for whom another gave his life.
(*Tumbrils were carts used to take prisoners to be executed.)