THE GREAT BLONDIN
...Do You Believe?
The most famous tightrope walker of the late 1890s was Charles Blondin.
His real name was Jean-François Gravelet, and was known also by the names Charles Blondin or
Jean-François Blondin, or more simply “The Great Blondin”.
He was sent to the École de Gymnase at Lyon when he was only five years old. After six months
training as an acrobat, he made his first public appearance as "The Little Wonder."
His superior skill and grace as well as the originality of the
settings of his acts, made him a popular favorite.
He conquered Niagara Falls as no man or woman has done
since. To cross Niagara Falls by walking across a 1100-foot
cable over the 160-foot gorge above the water was a breath-
taking feat in itself, but Blondin was able to cross the falls a
number of times, the first in 1859, with great theatrics,
- Doing a backwards somersault at the middle of the Falls
- Taking a chair to the middle and sit on it, balancing the
chair on two legs
- Going across it on stilts
- Walking across blindfolded
- Standing on his head in the middle of the tightrope
- Taking a small stove half-way across, sitting down, cooking himself an omelette and dining
while dangling precariously above the gorge
As the legend goes, on one of those occasions, 10,000
cheering, excited people from Canada and the U.S.
appeared to watch the titan of the tightrope perform his
A tense cheer rose from both sides of the falls as he
stepped onto the mist-slippery, torturously-thin strand. For
four hours he inched from the Canadian side to the United
States side, and the masses screamed louder. As he finally
stepped from the cable, the people exploded in noise,
chanting his name: "Blondin! Blondin! Blondin!"
He raised his arms to quiet the American throng. When the
crowd's noise sank to a whisper, he shouted dramatically, "I
am Blondin. Do you believe in me?"
Thousands immediately roared as one voice, "We believe!
He thundered, "To prove that I am the greatest, now and evermore, I will walk back across this
The crowd gasped, then roared its approval.
He gestured for quiet once more, then continued, "This time I am going to carry someone on my
shoulder. Do you believe I can do this?"
Without hesitation the men, women and children screamed, "We believe! We believe! We
He allowed the chanting to go for some time. When it subdued, he looked over the audience and
asked, "Who will be that brave person?"
Silence! Nobody said anything. It seemed as if no one breathed.
He repeated his question: "You believe in me -- who will be that brave person who goes back with
Again, more silence. After many heart-pounding minutes,
one man stepped out of the crowd and silently climbed onto
Blondin's shoulders. For the next agonizing moments, the
two men moved slowly back to the Canadian side of the falls.
Ten-thousand people had shouted, "We believe! We
believe!" But only one had acted on his belief (who, as it
turned out, was Blondin’s manager, Harry Colcord).
Belief in ourselves, in God or in others requires that we act
on those beliefs. Believing moves far beyond wishing, or
even hoping. It carries the conviction that will transform
visions to realities.
Do you believe in God?
Belief requires action:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
If you believe Him, then receive Him into your heart.
FROM THE BEST BOOK
But as many as received him, to
them gave he power to become
the sons of God, even to them
that believe on his name.
has tended to hurts
and hearts in North
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