From Chicken Soup for the Country Soul

Deck of Cards

It was during the Vietnam conflict when a bunch of soldiers had been on a long hike. They arrived in a town called Saigon, and the next day being Sunday, several of the boys went to church. After the chaplain read the prayer, the text was taken out. Those of the boys that had prayer books took them out; but one boy had a deck of cards, so he spread them out.

The sergeant in charge of the boys saw the cards, and after the service the soldier was taken prisoner and brought before the provost marshal. The marshal asked, “Sergeant, why have you brought this man here?”

“For playing cards in church, sir.”

“And what do you have to say for yourself, son?”

“Much, sir,” the soldier replied.

The marshal said, “I hope so. If not, I shall punish you severely.”

“You see, I’ve been on the march for six days and I had neither a Bible or a prayer book; but I hope to satisfy you with the purity of my intentions.

“You see, when I look at the ace, it reminds me that there is one God. When I see the deuce, it reminds me that the Bible is divided into two parts—the Old and New Testaments. And when I see the three, I think of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. When I see the four, I think of the four evangelists who preached the gospel; that was Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And when I see the five, it reminds me of the five wise virgins who trimmed their lamps. There was ten of them—five were wise and were saved; five were foolish and they were shut out. When I see the six, it reminds me that in six days, God made heaven and earth. And when I see the seven, it reminds me that on the seventh day God rests. When I see the eight, I think of the eight righteous persons God saved when he destroyed the earth. There was Noah and his wife, their three sons and three wives. And when I see the nine, I think of the leper our Savior cleansed. When I think of ten, I think of ten heavenly saints, and when I see the king, it reminds me again that there is but one King of Heaven. And when I think of the queen, I think of the blessed Virgin Mary, who is Queen of Heaven, and the jack reminds me of the devil.

“When I count the number of spots on the deck, I find 365—the number of days in the year. There are fifty-two cards—the number of weeks in the year. There are thirteen tricks—the number of weeks in a quarter. There are four suits—the number of weeks in a month. There are twelve picture cards—the number of months in a year.

“So you see, sir, my deck of cards served me as a Bible, almanac and prayer book.”

Friends, this story is true. . . . because my son was that soldier.

T. Texas Tyler


Written by T. Texas Tyler.

Copyright ©1948 Songs of PolyGram International, Inc.

Trio Music Company, Inc., and Fort Knox Music, Inc.

Copyright Renewed.

Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.

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