The Children Reap

Fate in the hinterland of Formosa

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 September 2006
Last updated 1 September 2006


H.B. Drake
London: The Bodley Head, 1929
347 pages, hardcover

H.B. [Henry Burgess] Blake (1894-1963) wrote a number of novels and non-fiction works related to East Asia -- Japan, Korea, Formosa, China.

The Children Reap (1929), a "romance with adventure" (jacket), is set in Taiwan when the islands were part of the Empire of Japan.

The scene is laid among the headhunters in the unexplored hinterland of Formosa. Into this forbidding and forbidden land are introduced a girl, her father, and the boy she loves, who have come there to obtain release from the secret which holds them in its grip.

The theme of the story as stated on the title page:

"The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the
children's teeth are set on edge."

This is an allusion to both Jeremiah 31:29 and Ezekiel 18:2 in the Old Testament (King James).

Jeremiah 31

29. In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.

30. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Ezekiel 18

1. The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying,

2. What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.

3. As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.

4. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

The Children Reap is not, however, a Christian inspirational.

To be continued.