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The Thief and the Child.
N the neighbouring town there was a fair; and
therefore all the people were gone from the village to the town to be merry there, and make
purchases. In the village, when evening came it was quite silent. No one was either seen or heard
there. The draw-well, usually such a noisy place in the evening, where the girls come to fetch water, was quite deserted. The great linden-tree beneath which the peasant lads sit in an evening and sing, was also deserted. There was only now a solitary little bird singing among the branches. The very roots of the old tree, the great play-place of the village children, were deserted; you only saw a few ants which had over-stayed their time at work, hurrying home as fast as they could.
Twilight sank down gradually over everything. When the merry noisy birds had crept into their roosting places, the queer little bats glided forth from holes in the tree stem, and flew gently and softly about through the evening sky.
A man came round the corner of a barn. silently and in fear along the wall, where the shadow was strongest. He glanced around him with anxiety to see whether
other men were out who would see him. When he believed himself unobserved, he climbed over the wall ; then he crept along on all-fours like a cat, till he came to an open window of a house, and then he disappeared through the window.
The man had bad thoughts in his heart : he was a thief, and had determined to rob the people of the house.
When he had entered by the window he found himself in an empty room ; and close to this room was a chamber. The door leading into the chamber was not locked.
The thief imagined it possible, that although the people were gone to the fair, some one might still be in the room ; therefore he listened with his ear against the door.
He heard a child's voice, and looking in through the keyhole, by the glimmering light from the window he saw that a little child was sitting up all by, itself, in its little bed, praying. The little child was saying the Lord's Prayer before going to sleep, as it had been taught by its mother to do.
The man was pondering how he might best rob the house, when the child's clear, loud voice fell upon his ear as it prayed these words
“ AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL !"
The words smote the man's heart, and his slumbering conscience awoke. He felt how great was the sin he was about to commit. He also folded his hands and prayed—" And
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil !” And our dear Lord heard him.
By the same road that he had come he returned, and crept back into his chamber. Here he repented with his whole heart all the evil he had done in his life ; besought God for forgiveness, and returned thanks to him for the protection he had sent to him through the voice of a pious child.
He has since become an industrious and honest man.
HERE was once a man whose name was
Timothy, but he drank so much rum, brandy, and whiskey, that his limbs trembled, and even when he was not drunk, he walked in an
unsteady fashion like a child. For this reason, he got the name of Tottering Tim.
Now one cold winter's night, Tim went to the tavern as usual, and drank so much liquor that he felt very merry. It was late at night, and the ground was covered with snow; but he set out to go home, not doubting that somehow or other, he would find his way, as he had done before.
Now when Tim came to the lane that turned up to his house, he looked forward, but to his amazement, his little brown house appeared to be double, and so he took it for two houses ! “Faith," said he—"I thought I had got almost home, but here I am only half way-for there are the two houses of Squire Smith and Captain Nash. It's bitter cold ;-but courage, Tim-courage-go a-head—that's the music !” So he left the lane and plodded on, expecting to find his house further along.
He walked on for half-an-hour, till at last he found
himself in a broad open space, with only two or three small cedar trees in the centre. By this time, he was very weary, and besides, the liquor had got into his head, and he was quite bewildered. He now fancied that he had found the spot where his house had been situated, but somehow or other it was gone. He was gazing about in wonder, when a terrible noise seemed to issue from the air.
“ Hoot-toot-toot!-awah-awah ! -cree-e-e-e!" said the voice.
“What in the name of Ned, is that?” said Tim, trembling from head to foot.
“ Hoot-toot—toot—awah !-awah !”– was the reply.
“Turn about !” go away !—is that what you say, Mister?” said Tim. At the same time, he looked up to the branches of the trees, where he saw a white object, with large goggling eyes. To Timothy's excited imagination, it appeared like a man dressed in a white sheet, so he took it to be a ghostthough it fact it was only a large white owl.
“Hoot-toot-awah-awah !” —said the bird.
“I'm a-goin.--I am a-goin !”—said Tim, in haste, and turning about he started in the opposite direction. Now it chanced that his little dog had followed him, and was close at his heels. Seeing his master set his face homeward, the animal trotted along before, and Tim, according to his custom, went after him. Both stepped lightly over the snow, for Tim's fright had cleared away his intoxication. They soon arrived at the lane that led to his house, but by this time, Timothy was a-dry, and concluded to go back to the tavern. But just as he had turned in that direction, he heard the voice issuing from the tree before him—"Hoot,