By Timothy Shay Arthur
Charles Murray left home, with his books in his satchel, for school. Before starting, he kissed his little sister, and patted Juno on the head — and as he went singing away, he felt as happy as any little boy could wish to feel. Charles was a good-tempered lad, but he had the fault common to a great many boys, that of being tempted and enticed by others to do things which he knew to be contrary to the wishes of his parents. Such acts never made him feel any happier; for the fear that his disobedience would be found out, and the consciousness of having done wrong — were far from being pleasant companions.
On the present occasion, as he walked briskly in the direction of the school, he repeated over his lessons in his mind, and was intent upon having them so perfect as to be able to repeat every word. He had gone nearly half the distance, and was still thinking over his lessons, when he stopped suddenly, as a voice called out,
Turning in the direction from which the voice came, he saw Archy Benton, with his school basket in his hand; but he was going from — instead of in the direction of the school.
"Where are you going, Archy?" asked Charles, calling out to him.
"Into the woods, for chestnuts."
"Ain't you going to school, today?"
"No, indeed. There was a sharp frost last night, and Uncle John says the wind will rattle down the chestnuts like hail."
"Did your father say you might go?"
"No, indeed. I asked him, but he said I couldn't go until Saturday. But the hogs are in the woods, and will eat the chestnuts all up before Saturday. So I am going today. Come, go along, won't you? It is such a fine day, and the ground will be covered with chestnuts. We can get home at the usual time, and no one will suspect that we were not at school."
"I would like to go very much," said Charley; "but I know father will be greatly displeased, if he finds it out, and I am afraid he will get to know it, in some way."
"How could he get to know it? Isn't he at his store all the time?"
"But he might think to ask me if I was at school. And I never will tell a lie."
"You could say yes, and not tell a lie, either," returned Archy. "You were at school yesterday."
"No, I couldn't. A lie, father says, is in the intent to deceive. He would, of course, mean to ask whether I was at school today, and if I said yes, I would tell a lie."
"It isn't so clear to me that you would. At any rate, I don't see such great harm in a little fib. It doesn't hurt anybody."
"Father says a falsehood hurts a boy a great deal more than he thinks for. And one day he showed me in the Bible where liars were classed with murderers, and other wicked spirits, in Hell. I can't tell a lie, Archy."
"There won't be any need of your doing so," urged Archy; "for I am sure he will never think to ask you about it. Why should he?"
"I don't know. But whenever I have been doing anything wrong, he is sure to begin to question me, and lead me on until I betray the secret of my fault."
"Never mind. Come along with me. It is such a fine day. We shan't have another like it. It will rain on Saturday, I'll bet anything. So come along, now, and let us have a day in the woods, while we can."
Charles was very strongly tempted. When he thought of the confinement of school, and then of the freedom of a day in the woods — he felt much inclined to go with Archy.
"Come along," said Archy, as Charles stood balancing the matter in his mind. And he took hold of his arm, and drew him in a direction opposite from the school. "Come! you are just the boy I want. I was thinking about you the moment before I saw you."
The temptation to Charles was very strong. "I don't believe I will be found out," he said to himself; "and it is such a pleasant day to go into the woods!"
Still he held back, and thought of his father's displeasure if he should discover that he had played the truant. The word "truant," that he repeated mentally, decided the matter in his mind, and he exclaimed, in a loud and decided voice, as he dragged away from the hand of Archy, that had still retained its hold on his arm, "I've never played truant yet, and I don't think I ever will. Father says he never played truant when he was a boy; and I'd like to say the same thing when I get to be a man."
"Nonsense, Charley! come, go with me," urged Archy.
But Charles Murray's mind was made up not to play the truant. So he started off for school, saying, as he did so —
"No, I can't go, Archy; and if I were you, I would wait until Saturday. You will enjoy it so much better when you have your fathers consent. It always takes away more than half the pleasure of any enjoyment, to think that it is obtained at the cost of disobedience. Come! go to school with me now, and I will go into the woods with you on Saturday."
"No, I can't wait until Saturday. I'm sure it will rain by that time; and if it don't, the hogs will eat up every nut that has fallen before that time."
"There'll be plenty left on the trees, if they do. It's as fine sport to knock them down, as to pick them up."
But Archy's purpose was settled, and nothing that Charles Murray could say had any influence with him. So the boys parted, the one for his school, and the other for a stolen holiday in the woods.
The moment Charles was alone again, he felt no longer any desire to go with Archy. He had successfully resisted the temptation — and the allurement was gone. But even for listening to temptation he had some small punishment — for he was late to school by nearly ten minutes, and had not his lessons as perfect as usual, for which the teacher felt called upon to reprimand him. But this was soon forgotten; and he was so good a boy through the whole day, and studied all his lessons so diligently, that when evening came, the teacher, who had not forgotten the reprimand, said to him:
"You have been the best boy in the school today, Charles. Tomorrow morning try and come in time, and be sure that your lessons are all well committed to memory."
Charles felt very light and cheerful as he went running, skipping, and singing homeward. His day had been well spent — and happiness was his reward. When he came in sight of home, there was no dread of meeting his father and mother, such as he would have felt if he had played the truant. Everything looked bright and pleasant, and when Juno came bounding out to meet him, he couldn't help hugging the favorite dog in the joy he felt at seeing her.
When Charles met his mother, she looked at him with a more earnest and affectionate gaze than usual. And then the boy noticed that her countenance became serious.
"Ain't you well, mother?" asked Charles.
"Yes, my dear, I am very well," she replied; "but I saw something an hour ago which has made me feel sad. Archy Benton was brought home from the woods this afternoon, where he had gone for chestnuts, instead of going to school, as he should have done, dreadfully hurt. He had fallen from a tree. Both his arms are broken, and the doctor fears that he has received some internal injury that may cause his death."
Charles turned pale, when his mother said this.
"Boys rarely get hurt, except when they are acting disobediently, or doing some harm to others," remarked Mrs Murray. "If Archy had gone to school, this dreadful accident would not have happened. His father told him that he might go for chestnuts on Saturday, and if he had waited until then, I am sure he might have gone into the woods and received no harm, for all who do right are protected from evil."
"He tried to persuade me to go with him," said Charles, "and I was strongly tempted to do so. But I resisted the temptation, and have felt glad about it ever since."
Mrs. Murray took her son's hand, and pressing it hard, said, with much feeling,
"How rejoiced I am that you were able to resist his persuasions to do wrong. Even if you had not been hurt yourself, the injury received by Archy would have revealed to us, and that you were with him, and then how unhappy your father and I would have been, I cannot tell. And you would have been unhappy, too. Ah! my son, there is only one true course for all of us, and that is, to DO RIGHT. Every deviation from this path brings trouble. An act of a moment may make us wretched for days, weeks, months, or perhaps years. It will be a long, long time before Archy is free from pain of body or mind — it may be that he will never recover. Think how miserable his parents must feel; and all because of this single act of disobedience."
We cannot say how often Charles said to himself, that evening and the next day, when he thought of Archy, "Oh, how glad I am that I did not go with him!"
When Saturday came, the father and mother of Charles Murray gave him permission to go into the woods for chestnuts. Two or three other boys, who were his school companions, likewise received liberty to go; and they joined Charles, and altogether made a pleasant party. It did not rain, nor had the hogs eaten up all the nuts, for the lads found plenty under the tall old trees, and in a few hours filled their bags and baskets. Charles said, when he came home, that he had never enjoyed himself better, and was so glad that he had not agreed to go with Archy Benton.
It was a lesson he never afterward forgot. Whenever he was tempted to do what he knew was wrong, he thought of Archy's day in the woods, and the temptation instantly left him. The boy who had been so badly hurt, did not die, as the doctor feared; but he suffered great pain, and was ill for a long time.
by Timothy Shay Arthur
Not many years ago, Farmer Jones had an old horse named "Ned," who appeared to have almost as much sense as some people. Ned was a favorite with his master, who petted him as if he were a child instead of a animal. The horse seemed to understand every word that the farmer said to him, and would obey him quite as readily and with as much intelligence as Rover, the house dog. If his master came into the field where he was grazing, Ned would come galloping up to meet him, and then caper around as playfully, though not, it must be owned, as gracefully, as a kitten.
Farmer Jones, on these occasions, generally had an ear or two of corn in his pocket; and Ned, after sweeping around his master two or three times, would stop short and come sideling up, yet with a knowing twinkle in his eye, and commence a search for the little tidbit that he had good reason for knowing, lay snugly stored away in the pocket.
If anyone besides his master went into the field and tried to catch Ned, he was sure to have a troublesome time of it; and if he succeeded in his object before circling the field a dozen times in pursuit of the horse, he might think himself lucky. But a word or a motion of the hand from Farmer Jones was all-sufficient. Ned would become, instantly, as docile as a child, trot up to his side, and stand perfectly still to receive the saddle and bridle.
When Farmer Jones was on the back of Ned, or sitting behind him in the old carriage, no horse could be more steady in his gait, or more orderly in all his movements. But it wasn't safe for anyone else to try the experiment of riding or driving him. If he escaped without a broken neck — he might think himself exceedingly fortunate; for the moment anyone but his master attempted to govern his actions in any way, he became possessed with a spirit which was sometimes more than mischievous. He would kick up, bite, wheel suddenly around, rear up on his hind feet, and do almost everything except go ahead in an orderly way, as a respectable horse ought to have done.
Ned was too great a favorite with his master, for the latter to think of trying very hard to correct him of these bad practices. He would talk to him, sometimes, about the folly of an old horse like him prancing about, and cutting up as many antics as a young colt; but his words, it was clear, went into one of Ned's ears and out of the other, as people say — for Ned did not in the least mend his manners, although he would nod his head in a knowing and obedient way, while his master was talking to him.
Ned spent at least two thirds of his time, from the period when the grass sprung up, tender and green, until it became pale and crisp with frost — in a three-acre field belonging to his master, where he ate, walked about, rolled himself on the soft sward, or slept away the hours, as happy as a horse could be. Across one corner of this field, a little boy and his sister used every day to go to school. The little boy was a namesake of the horse; but he was usually called Neddy. One day Neddy felt rather mischievous, as little boys will feel sometimes. He had a long willow switch in his hand, and was whipping away at everything that came within his reach. He frightened a brood of chickens, and laughed merrily to see them scamper in every direction; he made an old hog grunt, and a little pig squeal, and was even so thoughtless as to strike a little lamb with his slender switch, that lay close beside its mother on the soft grass.
"Don't, don't, Neddy!" Jane, his sister, would say.
But the little fellow gave no heed to her words. At last, in crossing the field, they came to where the old horse lay under the shade of a great walnut tree. The temptation to let him have a taste of the switch, was too strong for Neddy to resist; so he passed up close to the horse, and gave him a sharp whip across the shoulders.
Now that was an indignity to which the old fellow was not prepared to submit. Why, it was at least ten years since the stroke of a whip had been felt upon his glossy skin. Whip and spur, were of the times long since gone by. Springing up as quickly as if he were only a colt, instead of an old horse, Ned elevated his mane, and swept angrily around the now frightened lad, neighing fiercely, and striking out into the air with his heels at a furious rate. Jane and Neddy ran, but the horse kept up, and by his acts threatening every moment to kill them. But, angry as the old fellow was, he did not really intend to harm the children, who at length reached the fence toward which they were flying. Jane got safely over, but just as Neddy was creeping through the bars, the horse caught hold of his loose coat, with his teeth, and pulled him back into the field, where he turned him over and over on the grass with his nose, for half a dozen times, but without harming him in the least — and then let him go, and went trotting back to the cool, shady place under the old walnut tree, from which the switch of the thoughtless boy had aroused him.
Neddy, you may be sure, was dreadfully frightened, and went home crying. On the next day, when they came to the field in which Ned lived at his ease and enjoyed himself, the old horse was grazing in a far-off corner, and the children thought they might safely venture to cross over. But they had only gained half the distance, when Ned espied them, and, with a loud neigh, gave chase at full gallop. The children ran, in great alarm, for the fence, and got through, safely, before the horse came up.
After this, whenever they ventured to cross the field, Ned would interfere. Once he got Neddy's hat in his mouth, and ran off with it. But he didn't harm it any, and after keeping the children waiting at the fence for about half an hour, came and threw it over; after which he kicked up both his heels in a defiant manner, and giving a "horse laugh," scampered away as if a locomotive were after him.
At last, Neddy's father complained to Farmer Jones of the way in which his old horse was annoying the children, who had to pass through the field, as they went to school, or else be compelled to go a long distance out of their way. The farmer inquired the cause of Ned's strange conduct, and learned that the little boy whipped him across the shoulders with a willow switch.
"Ho! ho!" said he, "that's the trouble, is it? Ned won't bear a stroke from anyone! But I will make up the matter between him and the children. So let them stop here on their way from school this evening."
The children stopped accordingly. Ned was standing in the barnyard, the very picture of innocence. But when he saw little Neddy and his sister, he pricked up his ears, shook his head, and neighed loudly.
"Come, come, old boy!" said the farmer, "we've had enough of that. You must learn to forgive and forget. The little fellow was only playing with you."
Ned appeared to understand his master, for he looked a little ashamed of himself, and let his pointed ears fall back again to their old places.
"Now, my little fellows," said Farmer Jones, "take up a handful of that sweet new hay, and call him to the bars."
"I'm afraid," returned Neddy. "He'll bite me."
"Not he. Why the old horse wouldn't harm a hair of your head. He was only trying to frighten you as a punishment for the stroke you gave him. Come. Now's your time to make friends."
Neddy, thus encouraged, gathered a handful of the sweet new hay that was scattered around, and going up to the fence, held it out and called to the horse —
"Here! Ned, Ned, Ned!"
The horse shook his head, and stood still.
"Come along, you old horse!" said Farmer Jones, in a voice of reproof. "Don't you see the lad's sorry for the whipping he gave you? Now walk up to the bars, and forgive the little fellow, as a sensible horse ought to do."
Ned no longer hesitated, but went up to the bars, where Neddy, half trembling, awaited him, and took the sweet morsel of hay from the child's hand. Jane, encouraged by this, put her hand on the animal's neck, and stroked his long head gently with her hand, while Neddy gathered handful after handful of hay, and stood close by the mouth of the old horse, as he ate it with the air of one who enjoyed himself.
After that, the children could cross the field again as freely as before, and if Ned noticed them at all, it was in a manner so good-natured, as not to cause them the slightest uneasiness.
A Day in the Woods
by Timothy Shay Arthur
"School!" said Richard White, to himself. "School! I don't want to go to school. Why am I sent to school every day? What good is there in learning grammar, and arithmetic, and geography, and all them things? I don't like school, and I never did!"
"Dick!" called out a voice; and the lad, who had seated himself on a cellar door, and placed his satchel beside him, looked up, and met the cheerful face of one of his school-fellows.
"What are you sitting there for, Dick? Don't you hear the school bell?"
"Yes, I hear it, Bill."
"Then get up and come along, or you will be late."
"I don't care if I am. I don't like to go to school."
"No, indeed. I'd never go to school, if I could help it. What's the use of so much learning? I'm going to a trade as soon as I get old enough; and Pete Elder says that a boy who don't know the A B C's, can learn a trade just as well as one who does."
"I don't know anything about that," replied William Brown; "but father says, the more learning I get when a boy, the more successful in life will I be when a man; that is, if I make a good use of my learning."
"What good is grammar going to do a mechanic, I wonder?" said Richard, contemptuously. "What use will the double rule of three, or fractions, be to him?"
"They may be of a great deal of use. Father says we cannot learn too much while we are boys. He says he never learned anything in his life, that did not come of use to him at some time or other."
"Grammar, and geography, and double rule of three, will never be of any use to me!"
"Oh, yes, they will, Dick! So come along. The bell is nearly done ringing. Come, won't you?"
"No, I'm going out to the woods."
"Come, Richard, come! That will be playing truant."
"No, I've made my mind up not to go to school today."
"You'll be sorry for it, Dick, if you do stay away from school."
"Why will I?" said the boy, quickly. "Are you going to tell?"
"If I would be asked about you, I will not tell a lie; but I don't suppose anyone will inquire of me."
"Then why will I be sorry?"
"You'll be sorry when you're a man."
Richard White laughed aloud at the idea of his being sorry when he became a man, for having neglected his school when a boy.
"If you are not going, I am," said William Brown, starting off and running as fast as he could. He arrived at the door of the schoolhouse just as the bell stopped ringing. In stopping to persuade Richard not to play truant, he had come near to being late.
As soon as William left him, Richard White got up from the cellar door where he had been reclining lazily, and throwing his satchel over his shoulder, started for the woods. His books and satchel were in his way, and rather heavy to carry about with him for six or seven hours. But he did not think it prudent to leave them anywhere, for the person with whom they were left, would suspect him of playing truant, and through that means his fault might come to the knowledge of his parents.
After thinking over this, as he went on his way, it occurred to Richard that the satchel was as likely to betray him if carried along, as if left at some store to be called for on his return. Finally, he concluded to ask for a newspaper at a shop.
With this, he wrapped up his satchel, and taking it under his arm, went on without any more fears of betrayal from this source.
As soon as the foolish boy reached the woods, he hid his satchel, so as to get clear of the trouble it was to him, beside a large stone, and covered it with leaves and long grass. Then he felt free, and, as he thought, happy.
But it was not long before he got tired of rambling about alone. He listened, sometimes, to the birds, and sometimes tried, with stones, to kill the beautiful and innocent creatures. Then he thought how pleasant it would be to find a nest, and carry off the young ones; and he searched with great diligence for a long time, but could find no nest.
Once a little striped squirrel glided past him, and mounted a high tree. As it ran around and around the great trunk, appearing and disappearing at intervals, Richard tried to knock it off with stones. But his aim was not very true. Instead of hitting the squirrel, he managed to get a severe blow himself; for a stone which he threw very high, struck a large limb, and, bouncing back, fell upon his upturned face, and cut him badly.
From that moment, all the pleasure he had felt since entering the woods, was gone. The blood stained his shirt, and covered his hand when he put it up to his face. Of course, the wound, and the blood upon his shirt, would betray him. This was his first thought, as he washed himself at a small stream. But, then, all at once it occurred to him — for evil suggestions are sure to be made to us when we are in the way to receive them — that it would be just as easy to say that a boy threw a stone, which struck him as he was walking along the street — as to say that he got hurt while playing truant in the woods. And, without stopping to think how wicked it would be to tell a lie, Richard determined to make this statement when he got home.
The smarting of the wound, and the uneasiness occasioned by a sight of the blood, so disturbed Richard's feelings, that he was unable to regain enough composure of mind to enjoy his day of freedom in the woods. By twelve o'clock, he was tired and hungry, and heartily wished himself at home. But it would not do to go now; for if he were to do so, his father would understand that he had not been to school. There was no alternative for him but to remain out in the lonely woods, without anything to eat, for five hours longer. And a weary time it was for him.
At last the sun, which had been for a very long time, it seemed to him, descending toward the western horizon, sank so low that he was sure it must be after five o'clock, and then, with sober feelings, he started for home. The day had disappointed him. He was far from feeling happy. When he thought of the wound on his face and the blood upon his shirt, he felt troubled. If he told the truth, he knew he would be punished; and if he told a lie, and was found out, punishment would as certainly follow.
These were his thoughts and feelings, when he came to the place where he had concealed his satchel. But, lo! his books were gone. Someone had discovered and carried them off.
Sadly enough, now, did Richard White return home. We will not pain our young readers with an account of his reception. The father already knew that his son had not been to school, for a man had found the satchel in the woods. Richard's name was on it, and this led the man to bring it to his father, with whom he was acquainted.
Richard never went to school again. On the very next week, he was sent to learn a trade, and he soon found that there was a great difference between a school-boy and an apprentice.
William Brown continued to go to school two years longer, when he also went from home to learn a trade. He was then a good scholar, and had a fondness for books. Because he was learning a trade, he did not give up all other kinds of learning, but, whenever he had leisure time, he applied himself to his books. Both he and Richard were free from their apprenticeships about the same time. Richard had learned his trade well, and was as good a workman as William; but he had not improved his mind. He had not been able to see the use that learning was going to be to a mechanic.
Fifteen years have passed since these two lads completed their terms of apprenticeship, and entered the world as men; and how do they now stand? Why, William Brown has a large manufactory of his own, and Richard White is one of his workmen. By his superior intelligence and enterprise, the former is able to serve the public interests by giving direction to the labors of a hundred men, and his reward is in proportion to the service he thus renders; while the latter serves the public interest to the extent of only one man's labors, and his reward is in exact ratio thereto.
Did Richard White gain anything by his day in the woods? We think not. Is there any use in education to a mechanic? Let each of our young readers answer the question for himself.
A Garden Overrun with Weeds
by Timothy Shay Arthur
"Father, I don't like to go to school," said Harry Williams, one morning. "I wish you would let me always stay at home. Charles Parker's father doesn't make him go to school."
Mr Williams took his little boy by the hand, and said kindly to him, "Come, my son, I want to show you something in the garden."
Harry walked into the garden with his father, who led him along until they came to a bed in which peas were growing, the vines supported by thin branches which had been placed in the ground. Not a weed was to be seen about their roots, nor even disfiguring the walk around the bed in which they had been planted.
"See how beautifully these peas are growing, my son," said Mr Williams. "How clean and healthy the vines look. We shall have an abundant crop. Now let me show you the vines in Mr Parker's garden. We can look at them through a great hole in his fence."
Mr Williams then led Harry through the garden gate and across the road, to look at Mr Parker's pea vines through the hole in the fence. The bed in which they were growing was near to the road; so they had no difficulty in seeing it. After looking into the garden for a few moments, Mr Williams said —
"Well, my son, what do you think of Mr Parker's pea vines?"
"Oh, father!" replied the little boy; "I never saw such poor looking peas in my life! There are no sticks for them to run upon, and the weeds are nearly as high as the peas themselves. There won't be half a crop!"
"Why are they so much worse than ours, Harry?"
"Because they have been left to grow as they pleased. I suppose Mr Parker just planted them, and never took any care of them afterward. He has neither taken out the weeds, nor helped them to grow right."
"Yes, that is just the truth, my son. A garden will soon be overrun with weeds and briars, if it is not cultivated with the greatest care. And just so it is with the human garden. This precious garden must be trained and watered, and kept free from weeds — or it will run to waste. Children's minds are like garden beds; and they must be as carefully tended, and even more carefully, than the choicest plants. If you, my son, were never to go to school, nor have good seeds of knowledge planted in your mind, it would, when you become a man, resemble the weed-covered, neglected bed we have just been looking at, instead of the beautiful one in my garden. Would you think me right to neglect my garden, as Mr Parker neglects his?"
"Oh, no, father; your garden is a good garden, but Mr Parker's is all overrun with weeds and briars. It won't yield half as much as yours will."
"Or, my son, do you think I would be right if I neglected my son as Mr Parker neglects his son, allowing him to run wild, and his mind, uncultivated, to become overgrown with weeds?"
Little Harry made no reply; but he understood pretty clearly what his father meant.
"I send you to school," Mr Williams continued, "in order that the garden of your mind may have good seeds sown in it, and that these seeds may spring up and grow, and produce plentifully. Now which would you prefer, to stay at home from school, and so let the garden of your mind be overrun with weeds — or go to school, and have this garden cultivated?"
"I would rather go to school," said Harry. "But, father, is Charles Parker's mind overrun with weeds?"
"I am afraid that it is. If not, it certainly will be, if his father does not send him to school. For a little boy not to be sent to school, is a great misfortune, and I hope you will think the privilege of going to school, to be a very great one indeed."
Harry Williams listened to all his father said, and, what was better, thought about it, too. He never again asked to stay home from school.
by Timothy Shay Arthur
What have we here? That kind-looking old gentleman must have something for these children; his hand is in his pocket, and they are all gathering around him. I wonder who he is, and what he is going to give them?
"He's their uncle, perhaps."
"Or their grandfather."
"Or somebody else who is kind to children."
No doubt of it in the world. He is someone who likes children, you may be sure. And I suppose he's got a pocket full of sugar-plums or nuts for his favorites. The little girl who has seized his cane, I rather think, will get the largest share; but I don't suppose her young companions will be at all displeased at this, for no doubt she is a very good girl, and beloved by all. Indeed, if we may judge by the faces of the children, not one of them will look at what the other receives, to see if he has not obtained the largest share.
This is not always so, however. I know some little boys and girls, who, when their parents, relatives, or friends give them cakes, candies, or playthings — immediately look from what they have themselves, to what the others have received; and, if one thinks his share smaller or inferior, becomes dissatisfied, and, from a jealous and envious spirit, sacrifices his own pleasure and that of all the rest. Because there is a square inch more of cake in his brother's piece, that which he has, doesn't taste good. If he has one sugar-plum less than the others, they become tasteless, and he throws them all, perhaps, upon the floor.
How bad all this looks, and how very bad it really is! The friends of such children are never encouraged to make them presents. They rather avoid doing so; for they know that their greedy, envious, covetous spirit, will turn the good things they would offer them into causes of strife and unhappiness.
Edgar and William, or
How to Avoid a Quarrel
by Timothy Shay Arthur
"Here! lend me your knife, Bill; I've left mine in the house," said Edgar Harris to his younger brother. He spoke in a rude voice, and his manner was imperative.
"No, I won't! Go and get your own knife," replied William, in a tone quite as ungracious as that in which the request, or rather command, had been made.
"I don't wish to go into the house. Give me your knife, I say. I only want it for a minute."
"I never lend my knife, nor give it, either," returned William. "Get your own."
"You are the most disobliging fellow I ever saw," retorted Edgar, angrily, rising up and going into the house to get his own knife. "Don't ever ask me for a favor — for I'll never grant it."
This very unbrotherly conversation took place just beneath the window near which Mr Harris, the father of the lads, was seated. He overheard it all, and was grieved, as may be supposed, that his sons should treat each other so unkindly. But he said nothing to them then, nor did he let them know that he heard the language that had passed between them.
In a little while Edgar returned, and as he sat down in the place where he had been seated before, he said,
"No thanks to you for your old knife! Keep it to yourself. I wouldn't use it now, if you were to give it to me."
"I'm glad you are so independent," retorted William. "I hope you will always be so."
And the boys fretted each other for some time.
On the next day, Edgar was building a house with sticks, and William was rolling a hoop. By accident the hoop was turned from its right course, and broke down a part of Edgar's house. William was just going to say how sorry he was for the accident, and to offer to repair the damage that was done, when his brother, with his face red with passion, cried out —
"Just see what you have done! If you don't clear out with your hoop, I'll call father. You did it on purpose!"
"Do go and call him! I'll go with you," said William, in a sneering, tantalizing tone. "Come, come along now."
For a little while, the boys stood and growled at each other like two mad dogs, and then Edgar commenced repairing his house, and William went to rolling his hoop again. The latter was strongly tempted to repeat, in earnest, what he had done at first by accident, by way of retaliation upon his brother for his spiteful manner toward him; but, being naturally of a good disposition, and forgiving in his temper, he soon forgot his bad feelings, and enjoyed his play as much as he had done before.
This little circumstance Mr. Harris had also observed.
A day or two afterward, Edgar came to his father with a complaint against his brother.
"I never saw such a boy," he said. "He won't do the least thing to oblige me. If I ask him to lend me his knife, or ball, or anything he has — he snaps at me with a refusal."
"Perhaps you don't ask him right," suggested the father. "Perhaps you don't speak kindly to him. I hardly think that William is ill-disposed and disobliging naturally. There must be some fault on your part, I am sure."
"I don't know how I can be in fault, father," said Edgar.
"William refused to let you have his knife, the other day, although he was not using it himself, did he not?"
"Do you remember how you asked him for it?"
"No, sir, not now, particularly."
"Well, as I happened to overhear you, I can repeat your words, though I hardly think I can get your very tone and manner. Your words were, 'Here, lend me your knife, Bill!' and your voice and manner were exceedingly offensive. I did not at all wonder that William refused your request. If you had spoken to him in a kind manner, I am sure he would have handed you his knife, instantly. But no one likes to be ordered, in a domineering way, to do anything at all. I know you would resent it in William, as quickly as he resents it in you. Correct your own fault, my son, and in a little while you will have no complaint to make of William."
Edgar felt rebuked. What his father said, he saw to be true.
"Whenever you want William to do anything for you," continued the father, "use kind words instead of harsh ones, and you will find him as obliging as you could wish. I have observed you both a good deal, and I notice that you rarely ever speak to William in a proper manner, but are rude and overbearing. Correct this evil in yourself, and all will be right with him. Kind words are far more powerful than harsh words, and their effect a hundred-fold greater."
On the next day, as Edgar was at work in the garden, and William standing at the gate, looking on, Edgar wanted a rake that was in the summer-house. He was just going to say, "Go and get me that rake, Bill!" but he checked himself, and made his request in a different form, and in a better tone than those words would have been uttered in.
"Won't you please get me the small rake that lies in the summer-house, William?" he said. The words and tone involved a request, not a command, and William instantly replied —
"Certainly," and bounded away to get the rake for his brother.
"Thank you," said Edgar, as he received the rake.
"Don't you need the watering-pot?" asked William.
"Yes, I do; and you may bring it full of water, if you please," was the reply.
Off William went for the watering-pot, and soon returned with it full of water. As he stood near one of Edgar's flower-beds, he forgot himself, and stepped back with his foot upon a bed of pansies.
"There! just look at you!" exclaimed Edgar, thrown off his guard.
William, who had felt drawn toward his brother on account of his kind manner, was hurt at this sudden change in his words and tone. He was tempted to retort harshly, and even to set his foot more roughly upon the pansies. But he checked himself, and, turning away, walked slowly from the garden.
Edgar, who had repented of his rude words and unkind manner the moment he had time to think, was very sorry that he had been thrown off his guard, and resolved to be more careful in the future. And he was more careful. The next time he spoke to his brother, it was in a kind and gentle manner, and he saw its effect. Since then, he has been watchful over himself, and now he finds that William is one of the most obliging boys anywhere to be found.
"So much for kind words, my son," said his father, on noticing the great change that had taken place. "Never forget, throughout your whole life, that kind words are far more potent than harsh ones. I have found them so, and you have already proved the truth of what I say."
And so will every one who tries them. Make the experiment, young friends, and you will find it to succeed in every case.
Harsh Words and Kind Words
by Timothy Shay Arthur
William Baker, and his brother Thomas and sister Ellen, were playing on the green lawn in front of their mother's door, when a lad named Henry Green came along the road, and seeing the children enjoying themselves, opened the gate and came in. He was rather an ill-natured boy, and generally took more pleasure in teasing and annoying others, than in being happy with them. When William saw him coming in through the gate, he called to him and said, in a harsh way,
"You may just clear out, Henry Green, and go about your business! We don't want you here."
But Henry did not in the least regard what William said. He came directly forward, and joined in the sport as freely as if he had been invited instead of repulsed. In a little while he began to pull Ellen about rudely, and to push Thomas, so as nearly to throw them down upon the grass.
"Go home, Henry Green! Nobody sent for you! Nobody wants you here!" said William Baker, in quite an angry tone.
It was of no use, however. William might as well have spoken to the wind. His words were entirely unheeded by Henry, whose conduct became ruder and more offensive.
Mrs Baker, who sat at the window, saw and heard all that was passing. As soon as she could catch the eye of her excited son, she beckoned him to come to her, which he promptly did.
"Try kind words on him," she said; "you will find them more powerful than harsh words. You spoke very harshly to Henry when he came in, and I was sorry to hear it."
"It won't do any good, mother. He's a rude, bad boy, and I wish he would stay at home. Won't you make him go home?"
"First go and speak to him in a gentler way than you did just now. Try to subdue him with kindness."
William felt that he had been wrong in letting his angry feelings express themselves in angry words. So he left his mother and went down upon the lawn, where Henry was amusing himself by trying to trip the children with a long stick, as they ran about on the green.
"Henry," he said, cheerfully and pleasantly, "if you were fishing in the river, and I were to come and throw stones in where your line fell, and scare away all the fish, would you like it?"
"No, I would not," the lad replied.
"It wouldn't be kind in me?"
"No, of course it wouldn't."
"Well, now, Henry," William tried to smile and to speak very pleasantly, "we are playing here and trying to enjoy ourselves. Is it right for you to come and interrupt us by tripping our feet, pulling us about, and pushing us down? I am sure you will not think so if you reflect a moment. So please don't do it any more, Henry."
"No, I will not," replied Henry, promptly. "I am sorry that I disturbed you. I didn't think what I was doing. And now I remember, father told me not to stay, and I must run home."
So Henry Green went quickly away, and the children were left to enjoy themselves.
"Didn't I tell you that kind words were more powerful than harsh words, William?" said his mother, after Henry had gone away; "when we speak harshly to our fellows, we arouse their angry feelings; but when we speak kindly, we affect them with gentleness, and excite in them better thoughts and intentions. How quickly Henry changed, when you changed your manner and the character of your language. Do not forget this, my son. Do not forget, that kind words have double the power of harsh ones."
Rover and his Little Master
by Timothy Shay Arthur
"Come, Rover!" said Harry, as he passed a fine old Newfoundland dog which lay on a mat at the door; "come, Rover! I am going down to the river to sail my boat, and I want you to go with me."
Rover opened his large eyes, and looked lazily at his little master.
"Come! Rover! Rover!"
But the dog didn't care to move, and so Harry went off to the river alone. He had not been gone a great while, before a thought of her boy came suddenly into the mother's mind. Remembering that he had a little vessel, and that the river was near, it occurred to her that he might have gone there.
Instantly her heart began to throb with alarm.
"Is Harry with you?" she called up to Harry's father, who was in his study. But Harry's father said he was not there.
"I'm afraid he's gone to the river with his boat," said the mother.
"To the river!" And Mr. Lee dropped his pen, and came quickly down. Taking up his hat, he went hurriedly from the house. Rover was still lying upon the mat, with his head upon his paws and his eyes shut.
"Rover!" said his master, in a quick, excited voice, "where is Harry? Has he gone to the river? Away and see! quick!"
The dog must have understood every word, for he sprang eagerly to his feet, and rushed toward the river. Mr. Lee followed as fast as he could run. When he reached the riverbank, he saw his little boy in the water, with Rover dragging him toward the shore. He was just in time to receive the half-drowned child in his arms, and carry him home to his mother.
Harry, who remained insensible, was placed in a warm bed. He soon, however, revived, and in an hour or two was running about again. But after this, Rover would never leave the side of his little master, when he wandered beyond the garden gate. Wherever you found Harry, there Rover was sure to be — sometimes walking by his side, and sometimes lying on the grass, with his big eyes watching every movement.
Once Harry found his little vessel, which had been hidden away since he went with it to the river, and, without his mother's seeing him, he started again for the water. Rover, as usual, was with him. On his way to the river, he saw some flowers, and, in order to gather them, put his boat down upon the grass. Instantly Rover picked it up in his mouth, and walked back toward the house with it. After going a little way, he stopped, looked around, and waited until Harry had got his hand full of flowers. The child then saw that Rover had his boat, and tried to get it from him; but Rover played around him, always keeping out of his reach, and retreating toward the house, until he got back within the gate. Then he bounded into the house, and laid the boat at the feet of Harry's mother.
Harry was a little angry with the good old dog, at first, but when his mother explained to him what Rover meant, he hugged him around the neck, and said he would never go down to the river again any more.
Harry is a man now, and Rover has long since been dead; but he often thinks of the dear old dog that saved him from drowning when he was a child; and it gives him great pleasure to remember that he never beat Rover, as some boys beat their dogs, when they are angry, and was never unkind to him. Had it been otherwise, the thought would have given him great pain.
by Timothy Shay Arthur
What's the matter here? There is something wrong in this picture. It is clear that the little boy in the picture is not receiving kind treatment at the hands of his sister. But what is she doing to him? Not pulling his ear, we hope. Something is wrong; what can it be? We must try and make it out. There is a whip and a top on the floor, and also a chair thrown down, to which a string is tied.
The little boy, we suppose, was whipping his top, while his sister was playing with the chair.
"Take care, now, Johnny," says the sister, as the lash of her brother's whip comes every little while close to her face; "take care, or you will cut me in the eyes."
But Johnny either doesn't hear, or doesn't heed, and keeps on whipping his top.
"There, now!" says Anna, "you came as near as could be to striking me. I wish you would go out into the passage or down into the dining-room with your top."
"John," says mamma, looking up from her work, "you must be careful and not cut your sister with that whip."
"No, ma'am," replies Johnny, and keeps on with his sport as carelessly as ever.
Presently there is a cry, and then an angry exclamation. The lash of Johnny's whip has fallen with a smarting stroke on Anna's neck. The little girl, without waiting to reflect, follows the impulse of her feelings, and seeks to punish her brother by pinching and pulling his ears.
This is the story of the picture, and we are sorry it will not bear a more favorable explanation.
We do not think that any of our young readers will approve the conduct of either of the children. Undoubtedly, Johnny was wrong not to have been more careful how he threw his lash about. Anna had as much right to be in the room as he had, and if Johnny wanted to whip his top, it was his place to do it so cautiously as not in the least to endanger his sister's face and eyes; and he deserved to have his top taken from him as a punishment for his carelessness and indifference; and no doubt this was done by his mother.
And Anna was wrong, likewise, for permitting her angry feelings to so carry her away as to lead her to hurt her brother, in revenge for what he had done to her. So, you see, Johnny's wrong act was the cause of a still greater departure from right in his sister. If Johnny had loved his sister, he would have been much more careful how he used his whip; and if Anna had loved her brother, she would never have been tempted to strike him or pull his ear, even if he had hurt her.
It is a very sad thing for little brothers and sisters to quarrel with each other.
We hope, among all our little readers, there is not a brother and sister who have quarreled — who have ever called each other hard names — or, worse, who have ever lifted their tiny hands to hurt each other.
What Shall We Build?
by Timothy Shay Arthur
Four children were playing on the sea-shore. They had gathered bright pebbles and beautiful shells, and written their names in the pure, white sand; but at last, tired of their sport, they were about to go home, when one of them, as they came to a pile of stones, cried out:
"Oh! let us build a fort; and we will call that ship away out there, an enemy's vessel, and make believe we are firing great cannon balls into her!"
"Yes, yes! let us build a fort," responded Edward, the other lad.
And the two boys — for two were boys and two girls — ran off to the pile of stones, and began removing them to a place near the water.
"Come, Anna and Jane," said they, "come and help us."
"Oh, no thanks. We don't want to build a fort," said Jane.
"Yes, we will build a fort," returned the boys. "What else can we build? You wouldn't put a house down here upon the water's edge?"
"No; but I'll tell you what we can build, and it will be a great deal better than a fort."
"Well — what can we build?"
"A light-house," said the girls; "and that will be just as much in place on the edge of the sea as a fort. We can call the ship yonder a vessel lost in the darkness, and we will hang out a light and direct her in the true way. Won't that be much better than to call her an enemy, and build a fort to destroy her? See how beautifully she sits upon and glides over the smooth water! Her sails are like the open wings of a bird, and they bear her gracefully along. Would it not be cruel to shoot great canon balls into her sides, tear her sails to pieces, and kill the men who are on board of her? Oh! I am sure it would make us all happier to save her when in darkness and danger. No, no; let us not build a fort, but a light-house; for it is better to save than to destroy."
The girls spoke with tenderness and enthusiasm, and their words reached the better feelings of their companions.
"Oh, yes," said they; "we will build a light-house, and not a fort." And they did so.
Yes, it is much better to save, than to destroy. Think of that, children, and let it go with you through life. Be more earnest to save your friends, than to destroy your enemies. And yet, when a real enemy comes, and seeks to do evil, be brave to resist him.