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THE GENEROUS CHILD.
A poor labourer, of the name of Bernard, had six young children, and found himself at a loss to maintain them. To make matters worse, the season chanced to be severe, and therefore bread was much dearer than usual. Bernard worked day and night; but in spite of his labours could not possibly earn sufficient to provide food for six hungry children.
He was reduced to a state of extreme want. Calling, therefore, one day his little family together, he said to them, with tears in his eyes, “My dear children, bread is now so dear, that with ail my labour I am not able to earn sufficient for your maintenance. You see how I am situated. This piece of bread in my hand must be paid for with my whole day's labour, and therefore you must be content to share with me the little I have been able to earn. There certainly will not be
. sufficient to satisfy you all, but at least there will be enough to prevent you perishing with hunger.' The poor man could
say no more: he lifted up his eyes to heaven and wept. His children cried also, and prayed God that He would come to their assistance so that they might have bread to eat. Bernard divided the bread into seven equal shares; he kept one for himself and gave out the others to his six children.
But one of them, named Arthur, refused to take his portion, saying, “I cannot eat anything, father, I find myself sick ; do you take my part, or divide it amongst the rest.” “My poor child," said his father, “what is the matter with you ?” “I am ill,” replied Arthur, "very ill, and I should like to go to bed." His father carried him to bed, and the next morning he went to a doctor, and prayed him for the love of God to come and see his sick child.
The doctor, who was a very generous man, went to Bernard's house, though he knew very well he should not be paid for his visits. He approached Arthur's bed and felt his pulse, but could not discover froin it any symptoms of illness. He found him, however, very weak, and in order to raise his spirits was going to prescribe a cordial draught, but Arthur said, “Do not order anything for me, sir, for I cannot take anything."
“Cannot take anything!" said the doctor, “and why not, pray?" "Do noteask me, sir,” said Arthur, “I am not able to tell you.” “ What hinders
you from telling me, child?” said the doctor, “ You seem a very obstinate little boy.” Oh no, sir,” said Arthur, “it does not arise from that, I assure you." "I shall not press you more," said the doctor, “but will go and ask the reason from your father, who will perhaps be able to tell me more about it.”
“I do beg of you," replied Arthur, "not to let iny father know anything about it.” “You are a very strange child,” said the doctor, “and I must certainly acquaint your father with this, since you will not confess the truth.” "Do not, sir, I beseech you,” said Arthur, “I would much rather
tell you all myself; but first let all my brothers and sisters leave the room.”
The doctor told the other children to leave the room, and then Arthur continued, “ Alas, sir, in this hard season my father can scarcely earn a loaf of bread to divide between us. Each of us can have but a small part, and he will take scarcely any for himself.
It makes me wretched to see my little brothers and sisters suffer from hunger. I am the eldest and have more strength than they. I prefer, therefore, not eating anything myself that they may divide my share amongst them. This
. is the reason why I pretended that I was ill, and could not eat; but I entreat you
do not let my father know this."
The doctor wiped the tears from his eyes and said, “But, my dear little fellow, are you not hungry?”
Yes, sir, I am hungry enough, certainly,” replied Arthur, “but that does not give me so much pain as to see my brothers and sisters suffer.” “But you will soon die,” said the doctor, " if you
take no food.” “I know that," answered Arthur,“ but I shall die contented. My father will have one mouth less to feed; and when I shall be with God I will pray Him to give bread to my little brothers and sisters.”
The kind-hearted doctor was struck with pity and wonder at hearing the generous child speak in this manner. Taking him up in his arms he clasped him to his heart, and said, “No, my dear little friend, you shall not die. God, who is the
. Father of us all, will take care of you and your
family. Return Him thanks that He has led me here. I shall come back
soon.” He then hastened to his own house, and ordering one of his servants to take a quantity of provisions, returned with him at once to Arthur and his famished little brothers and sisters. He made them all sit down at table, and eat heartily until they were satisfied. It was a delightful sight for the good doctor to witness the joy of these poor children.
When he departed he told Arthur not to be anxious for the future, for that he would see that they were provided with food. This promise he faithfully kept, and furnished them every day with a plentiful supply of food. Other charitable persons also, to whom he related this story, came to their aid. Some sent them provisions, some money, and others clothes and linen, so that very few days passed before this little family had more of everything than was sufficient for their wants.
THE BLIND BOY.
Which I must ne'er enjoy;
O tell your poor blind boy.
You say the sun shines bright;
Or make it day or night?
My day or night myself I make
Whene'er I sleep or play ;
With me 'twere always day.
You mourn my hapless woe;
A loss I ne'er can know.
My cheer of mind destroy;
THE TINDER BOX.
(From Hans Christian Anderson's Tales for Children.)
A soldier came marching along the high road. He had his knapsack on his back and his sword at his side, for he had been in the wars, and was now going home.
He fell in with an old witch on the road—oh, she was so frightful! for her under lip hung down right upon her breast. “Good day, soldier,” she said ; “what a fine sword, and large knapsack you have! you are a real soldier, and shall have as much money as you can possibly wish for.”
“ Thank you, old witch?” the soldier said,