Howard Colby Ives wrote about an illiterate miner who walked a great distance to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá while He was in San Francisco:
‘This man, though uneducated, had great spiritual capacity. He attended a meeting at which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke. He seemed enthralled as the measured, bell-like tones fell from the Master’s lips. When the interpreter took up the passage in English this miner started as if awakening. ‘Why does that man interrupt?’ he whispered. Then again ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke, and again the visitor was lost in attention. Again the interpreter translated as the speaker paused. At this the miners indignation was aroused. ‘Why did they let that man interrupt? He should be put out‘.
‘He is the official interpreter‘, one sitting beside him explained. ‘He translates the Persian into English.’
‘Was He speaking in Persian?’ Was the na´ve answer, ‘Why anyone could understand that‘.
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 232)
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s first morning in Washington was filled with many interviews, but he spent a Half-hour with Agnes Parsons’ young Son, Jeffrey. They looked at Jeffrey’s toys, books and pictures, then went to the roof to see the view. Mrs. Parsons noted that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá never required an interpreter when with a child.
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 94)
There is the story of the coal miner in California who had walked many miles to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Who, of course spoke that evening as He always did through an interpreter. The coal miner became more and more impatient. Finally, unable to stand it any longer, he leaned toward the man sitting next to him. “Why does that man continually interrupt the Master?” he asked. The man explained, “‘Abdu’l-Bahá is speaking in Persian it must, be translated.” “Translated!” the coal miner was outraged. “Nothing ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says needs translating - anybody can understand Him.” (Reginald Grant Barrow, Mother’s Stories: Stories of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Early Believers told by Muriel Ives Barrow Newhall to her son, p. 38)