A Picture

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.