Child's Morality Story
Adapted From Antique British Book
© James Dearmore, 2009
[Gospel Web Globe]

From Graphic Stories for Boys and Girls — published in England in the 1800's --- A series of morality stories and short stories of interest for children.

John Maynard was well-known in his native place as a God-fearing, true and honest man.

He was pilot on a steamer on one of the great lakes in the United States. One summer afternoon --- at that time those steamers seldom carried boats --- smoke was seen rising from below; and the captain called out, "Simpson, go below and see what the matter is down there."

Simpson came up with his face as pale as ashes, and said, "Captain, the ship is on fire !"

"Fire! Fire! Fire!" sounded over the ship.

All hands were called up; buckets of water were dashed on the fire ; but in vain.

There were large quantities of rosin and tar on board, and it was found useless to attempt to save the ship. The passengers rushed forward and inquired of the pilot, "How far are we from the shore ?"

"Seven miles."

"How long before we can reach there?"

"Three-quarters of an hour at our present rate of steam."

"Is there any danger?"

"Danger! See the smoke bursting out! go forward, if you would save your lives!"

Passengers and crew-men, women, and children --- crowded the forward part of the ship. John Maynard stood at the helm. The flames burst forth in a sheet of fire; clouds of smoke arose.

The captain cried through his trumpet, "John Maynard!"

"Ay, ay, sir!"

"Are you at the helm?"

"Ay, ay, sir!"

"How does she head?"

"South-east by east, sir."

"Head her south-east, and run her on shore," said the captain. Nearer, nearer, yet nearer, she approached the shore. Again the captain cried out, "John Maynard !" The reply came feebly this time, "Ay, ay, sir! "

"Can you hold on five minutes longer, John?" he said.

"By God's help, I will!"

The old man's hair was scorched from the skull; one hand was disabled; with the other upon the wheel, he stood firm as a rock. He beached the ship; every man, woman, and child was saved, as John Maynard dropped down, burned to death. - End of Story

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