Digest>Archives> October 2009

Everything Happens For A Reason

By Timothy Harrison


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The Dubh Artach Lighthouse off the west coast of ...

As a young boy Robert eagerly awaited the big day when he would go to the lighthouse built by his father on the rocky outcropping.

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Bell Rock Lighthouse off the east coast of ...

As the big day approached he kept asking questions of his father. “Is it really that tall?”

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The Barn’s Ness Lighthouse, built by David A. ...

“How did you get all that stone out to the island?” “Can it really warn ships far out to sea?”

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Robert Louis Stevenson 1850-1894) wrote some of ...

But it was bedtime, and Robert was told to get a good night’s sleep so he could be well rested before the big day and the visit to the lighthouse.. That night as he lay under the covers, he tossed and turn, not from the excitement, but because he was getting ill. By morning young Robert had a fever and was extremely ill.

It was the early 1860s and although Robert’s parents had access to the best medical care of the time, young Robert was extremely sick and the doctor told the boy’s parents that the outcome of Robert’s recovery was in a higher hands.

Robert recovered, but the illness had left him weak. He couldn’t run or climb the hills of his community and a visit to a lighthouse was out of the question and would be for a long time.

As Robert grew, he never gained the strength of other boys his age and was always sickly and he soon knew his dream of following in his father’s foot steps as a lighthouse man would never be realized. Robert’s father told him that everything happens for a reason, and that he had other talents. Soon Robert focused is mind on imaginary things and he put them to paper. He started writing short stories and poems.

Everyone who read his work was fascinated by his talent. As time went on the boy who wanted to be a lighthouse man like his father, his uncles, and grandfather before him, became one of the most famous authors of all time. Some of the books he authored were Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And so, Robert Louis Stevenson became more famous than his lighthouse father Thomas Stevenson who designed and oversaw the construction of over thirty lighthouses in Scotland.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s uncles, David Stevenson and Alan Stevenson were also lighthouse engineers as was his grandfather Robert Stevenson who started building lighthouses in the late 1700s. Also, his step great grandfather, Thomas Smith was also a lighthouse engineer.

Although Robert Louis Stevenson was not able to leave a lighthouse legacy like his family members before him, he left a legacy of writing that will be known to all future generations.

This story appeared in the October 2009 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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