And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go . . . And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him, And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. I Samuel 17:38-40
For my father
There was a ten-dollar hill in Joseph Champlin's pocket on an evening in early March in 1933.
Five Smooth Stones is the story of one man's search for dignity and love. It moves swiftly from a New Orleans ghetto, where a black child reaches out for a better life, to the scenes of intense beauty and bitterness that mark his journey to manhood. Five Smooth Stones is the story of one man's initiation into love, passionate love -- rare and tender, consuming and tragic -- a forbidden love. Five Smooth Stones is the story of one man who gives up everything -- hard-won personal victories, a lofty diplomatic position, comfort, security and respectability -- to battle against an overwhelming enemy. Five Smooth Stones is the unforgettable story of David Champlin. It is as contemporary as today's news flashes, yet as timeless is the biblical account of David from which the title is derived. It is a story which will remain alive long after its final page is read.