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 stories of interest for children. (A crown is a unit of British money).

Tom's father was rich. He lived in a fine house in the country. Tom had a pony and many other pets, and was always well dressed. He came to think that being rich was better than anything else --- better than being good. He grew very rude and cross to those he thought below him.

One day Tom saw a boy standing at the gate. His hat was torn, and his feet were bare, but he had a pleasant face. In one hand he carried a pail half full of blackberries.

"Go away," said Tom. "We are rich, and we don't want dirty, ragged boys about."

"Please give me a drink," said the boy.

"If you are so rich, you can spare me a little water."

"We can't spare you anything," said Tom. "If you don't go, I shall set the dogs on you."

The boy laughed and walked away swinging the tin pail in his hand.

"I think I shall get some blackberries, too," said Tom to himself. He went out of the gate, into a lane leading to a meadow where there were plenty of berries.

Tom saw some fine large ones growing just across a ditch. He thought he could leap over it easily. He gave a run and a very big jump. The ditch was wider than he had thought, and instead of going over, he came down in the middle of it.

The mud was thick and soft, and Tom sank down to his waist. He was afraid, and screamed for help. But he had not much hope that help would come, for he was a long way from any house.

He began to think he would have to spend the night in the ditch, when he heard steps on the grass. Looking up, he saw the ragged boy he had driven from the gate.

"Please help me out," said Tom, crying.

"I shall give you a crown."

"I don't want the crown," said the boy, lying flat on the grass. He held out both his hands, and drew Tom out of the ditch.

Tom was covered with mud, his hat was gone, and one shoe was lost in the ditch. He looked very miserable.

"Who is dirty now," said the boy.

"I am," said poor Tom; "but I thank you very much for helping me out of the mire. And I am sorry I sent you away from the gate."

"The next time I come, perhaps you will treat me better," said the boy. "I am not rich, but I am stronger than you are, and I think I have better manners."

"I think so, too," said Tom.

The next day, when Tom saw the boy going past the gate, he called him in, showed him his rabbits, doves, and little ducks, and gave him a ride on his pony.

"Thank you," said the boy; "you have good manners now."

"Yes," said Tom; "I found them yesterday." - End of Story

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