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he returned home, he was surprised at seeing a bag of dollars on the table, which, upon opening, he discovered to contain a letter, in the following words :
“ MASSA THORNTON,—The black free man, once a slave, send you the money for the horse which he took away when he fled from your whip. Cato he no thief, he honest mansend two hundred dollars, horse not worth so much. Hopes Massa well, and Cato forgive him for all dat flogging.
Cato had been baptized, and he had taken the name of Freeman-a very good name indeed for one in his circumstances—but this letter did not soften the heart of his cruel master, who said upon reading the epistle,—“Yes, this is all very fine; but Master Cato cost me seven-hundred-and-fifty dollars, and as he stole away from me his flesh, blood, and sinews, he stole seven-hundred-and-fifty dollars in live meat, and I'll have seven-hundred-and-fifty dollars' worth out of him, or I will have seven-hundred-and-fifty bullets in him.”
So, after settling his estate a bit, whipping three or four women and twice as many men, he took his double-barrelled rifle, and transporting himself over the boundary line, he soon found himself close to the old quarters of Cato, who was now a merry-hearted thriving man in a little half-black, halfwhite village, on the British side. The planter crept about for several days, in the hope of coming upon the path of Cato, but without a single chance. At last, growing desperate, he drew nearer and nearer to the little village, and stationing himself on the skirts of a wood and behind a huge mass of rock, he thence watched, as a cat would watch a mouse, for
the appearance of his former slave within shot. At last he saw several blacks among their goats at the outskirts of the village, and, among the rest, Cato. He fired, but instead of hitting Cato, he struck a poor black girl and broke her leg. He again fired, and the ball grazed the curly wool of Cato's head; and the blacks seeing themselves thus menaced by some one in the bush, set up a great shout, while Cato, who imagined that the bullet was meant for him, snatched up a gun from the door of his hut, and boldly went forth against his unseen enemy.
As he advanced, Thornton loaded both his barrels, and concealing himself a little way from the spot which he had formerly fired from, waited till Cato came so close to him that he could not miss hitting him. But, just as his finger was about to press the trigger, a huge brown bear leaped out from
, the wood, and pounced upon Thornton's shoulder, and with the impetus of his spring forced him down the rocky bank, and tumbling him over two or three times, laid hold of his neck by his teeth, and prepared to give him what is called the bear's death-hug. Cato in a moment distinguished his old master and enemy, and conviction, swifter than a flash of light, told him his life had been aimed at; but resolving to return good
: for evil, he levelled his gun and shot the bear through the head, and then ran and staunched the blood which flowed from his enemy's head, and gave him a sip out of his brandy bottle to revive his fainting spirits.—“Ah, Massy, Massy! why you kill poor Cato ?-him no kill you—he make you well. God keep you from commit murder! Cato lub you, so he not harm you. Come Massy, lub Cato-Cato lub you."
” Thornton was so struck with this generous behaviour, that
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he lost at once all his revengeful feelings, and clasping the poor black in his arms, said—“Forgive me, Cato! Pray for
“Let us pray together,” said Cato. So both knelt down on their knees, and prayed to God for each other; and Thornton in the end was Cato's best friend, and at no great distance of time made all his slaves free.
Such is a very short story of returning good for evil, and well worthy of imitation by all Peter Parley's young friends, whether boys or girls.