The Dancing Puritan: Shattering the Stereotypes Once Again

In the past I have gone on record as saying that I have never read through Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Some friends have been horrified at this admission. But this does not mean that I do not appreciate aspects of this remarkable work. For instance, there is a tremendous scene in Part II, that second half of the work which many never look at—I have looked at parts even if I have not read the whole! Part II stresses the communal nature of the Christian life, with Christian’s wife, Christiana, and her family taking the pilgrim way along with a company including such characters as Feeble-mind and Ready-to-halt (Oh those names! One reason I have not been able to persevere with the whole).

In one priceless scene, their guide, Mr. Great-heart slays the Giant-Despair and the company of pilgrims destroy the giant’s refuge, Doubting Castle. Two of the giant’s prisoners, Mr. Despondency and his daughter Much-Afraid, are rescued and they join the company of pilgrims, “for they were honest people.”

This liberation of the captives caused the pilgrims to rejoice greatly. Now, Christiana, we learn, “played upon the Vial and her daughter Mercy upon the Lute.” So they began to play, and “Ready-to-halt would dance.” So he took Despondency’s daughter, Much-Afraid, by the hand and “to dancing they went in the Road. True, he could not dance without one crutch in his hand, but I promise you, he footed it well; also the girl was to be commended, for she answered the music handsomely.”

If I didn't already have a name for my blog, I would be half-disposed to call it "The Dancing Puritan"!