The Quality of Mercy Tested in the Outback

I would like to express my appreciation for the Home Forum article ``History in the Hands of Mercy,'' Oct. 19.

As the author so ably expressed it: ``When mercy becomes a reality, even a child can respect the lifting faces of the spared.''

I was reminded of a television interview I heard this year. The happening was in the arid country of our ``outback'' - miles away from civilization.

A geologist had her vehicle hopelessly bogged. With no help at hand, and neither food nor water, she was really in a desperate plight. She set a trap to catch any animal, which was necessary to her very survival.

After some days she was attracted to the trap by the distressed cries of some creature. There she found a kangaroo caught in the trap, with its mate nearby crying piteously, so piteously, she said, ``I feel they must have been married!''

She had no compunction about killing the trapped one, for she was starving. But she could not ignore the pitiful cries of the mate.

Then came the wonderful thought: ``If I show mercy, then I may expect mercy.'' She released the captive and away bounded the two happily united ones.

In no time afterward she heard the sound of a car and her worries were over. The men in the car were not looking for her - as no one knew she was lost.

As Shakespeare so aptly put it: ``The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven!'' Gwendoline Kay, Booragoon, Australia

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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