A Soldier and His Deck of Cards

Photo Credit: clarita via morguefile.com
Photo Credit: clarita via morguefile.com

During the North American Campaign, a bunch of soldier boys had been on a long hike, and arrived in a little town called Kasinok. The next morning being a Sunday, several of the boys went to church. A sergeant commanded the boys in church, and after the Chaplain had read the prayer, the text was taken up next. Those of the boys who had prayer books took them out, but this one boy had only a deck of cards, and so he spread them out. The sergeant saw the cards, and said “Soldier, put away those cards.”

After the services were over, the soldier was taken prisoner and brought before the provost marshal.

The marshal said, “Sergeant, why have you brought this man here!”

“For playing cards in church, sir.”

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

“Much, sir,” replied the soldier.

The marshal replied “I hope so, for if not, I will punish you more severely than any man has ever been punished.”

The soldier said, “Sir, I have been on march for about six days, and I have neither Bible, nor prayer book; but I hope to satisfy you, sir, with the purity of my intentions.”

And with that, the boy started his story.

“You see, sir, When I look at the ace, it reminds me that there is but one God. And the deuce, it reminds me that the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old and the New Testaments. And when I look at the trey, I think of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

“When I see the four, I think of the four evangelists who preached the Gospel: there were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And when I see the five, it reminds me of the five virgins who trimmed their lamps. There were ten of them: five who trimmed their lamps, five were foolish and were shut out.

“And when I see the six, it reminds me that in six days God made this great Heaven and Earth. When I see the seven, it reminds me that on the seventh day, God rested from His great work. And when I see the eight, I think of the eight righteous persons that God saved when He destroyed this earth. There was Noah, his wife, and their sons and their wives.

“And when I see the nine, I think of the lepers our Savior cleaned, because it was nine out of ten who didn’t even thank Him. When I see the ten, I think of the Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses on a table of stone.

“When I see the king, it reminds me that there is but one King of Heaven – God Almighty. And when I see the queen… I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. And when I see the jack of knaves, it is the devil.

“When I count the number of spots on a deck of cards, I find 365, the number of days in a year. There are 52 cards, the number of weeks in a year. There are four suits, the number of weeks in a month. There are 12 picture cards, the number of months in a year. There are 13 tricks, the number of weeks in a quarter.

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

With a tear, the marshal just waved the soldier away.


  1. I remember this beautiful saying from an old radio show many years ago. It was inspiring then and more inspiring now. Just beautiful.


  2. This story is retold from 1788 Looked it up on Wikipedia. However, the 4 suits represent the seasons, spring, summer, fall winter. The 13 tricks are the 13 lunar cycles in a year.


  3. Paul Harvey i think talked about this same thing on his news show years ago. Great story and a lot of truth behind it. Another way to look and think about the cards you playing with. Amen

    Liked by 1 person

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