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A BRAVE BOY.
1. Boys, like men, too often look only at the outside, and judge both persons and things merely by that false standard. But the lesson must be learnt that a fine dress will not make a man or woman really worthy, nor will a poor dress or a humble occupation prevent either a man or a boy from being truly noble.
2. An American gentleman tells the following story of his own school-day life, which should help us to judge our companions by something better than mere outside show:
3. One morning, as we were going to school, one of the scholars was seen driving a cow towards a neighbouring field.
A group of his schoolfellows met him as he was passing. One of the number, named Jackson, could not resist the temptation to ridicule the boy's humble occupation. “Holloa,” he exclaimed, “what's the price of milk? How do you fodder your beast to make it look so fat? Boys, look here; if you want to see the newest fashion in boots, just look at those boots of Watson's."
4. Watson's boots were very peculiar—in fact, decidedly ugly and clumsy; but he passed on with his cow to the field, just waving his hand to his companions with a pleasant smile. When he saw the animal safely inclosed, and had shut the gate, he turned back and quietly joined his schoolfellows in the school.
5. Directly school was over, away he ran to his cow and drove her off, no one knew whither. For two or three weeks, this was repeated day by day in all weathers, without a word of complaint or explanation.
6. Jackson did not forget to renew his sneers, and many a laugh did he create among the boys against Watson driving his cow, and against his strange ugly boots.
7. “I suppose, Watson,” said Jackson one day—“I suppose your father means to make a milkman of you!"
Why not?” asked Watson. “Oh, nothing: only don't leave much water in the cans after
rinse them—that's all.” 8. The boys laughed. Watson, however, was not moved or ruffled in the slightest degree, but replied, “Never fear; if I should ever be a milkman, I will give good measure and good milk too."
9. On the very day after this conversation there was a public distribution of prizes. Many ladies and gentlemen were present. Both Jackson and Watson received a fair share, for they were both industrious boys, and about equal in position in the school.
10. After all the ordinary prizes had been given out, the head-master stated that there was one very special prize, which was only given on very rare occasions. It was a gold medal, and was given as a prize for HEROISM. The last medal was awarded about three years ago to an elder boy who rescued a poor girl from drowning.
11. “This year," he said, “I think I may venture to award it again, and, that all the company present may judge for themselves whether the prize has been deserved or not I will relate the following story:
12. Not long since some boys were flying a kite in the streets just as a poor lad on horseback rode by on his way to the mill. The horse took fright and threw the boy, injuring him so badly that he was carried home, and confined for some weeks to his bed. None of those boys who had caused the accident had the thought to find out the wounded lad, or make any inquiry about him.
13. One boy from a distance, however, had seen the whole affair. Away he went to make inquiries and render what help he could. He found that the injured lad was the grandson of a poor widow. All her support was derived from the sale of the milk of her one cow. She was old and lame, and she depended on her grandson to drive the cow to and from its pasture every day. What she was to do while her grandson lay helpless, she could not conceive.
14. “Never mind,” said the sympathizing young visitor; "I will drive your cow." Nor was this all. Money was wanted to buy several articles required by the injured boy. The only article she could sell was a pair of heavy boots bought for her grandson Tom. The boy offered to give to the poor distressed woman some money that had been given him for some new boots. This she would not consent to receive. “ If, however, the young gentleman,” she suggested, “would buy Tom's boots from her, it would help her on capitally.”
15. The bargain was made. The heavy clumsy boots were purchased and worn. Day by day the poor widow's cow was driven to and from the field. And all this has been done amid the jeers and laughter of his schoolfellows, which have been silently endured by the brave boy. He went on quietly with his task, knowing he was doing right, and that neither his employment, however humble, nor his boots, however clumsy, was any real injury to his character.
16. And now, ladies and gentlemen, knowing how very hard it is for
and still more for a young boy, to endure the laughter and ridicule of his companions, even when doing what is right and noble, I ask you if this is not true heroism.
17. Nay, Watson, my boy, do not try to hide yourself behind that black-board. You are not afraid of ridicule, you must not be afraid of praise.
As Watson advanced to receive the medal, with blushing cheeks and downcast eye, the hearty rounds of applause told how he had won all hearts by his conduct. Jackson and his friends felt thoroughly ashamed of themselves, and at once came forward to seek the forgiveness and the friendship of the boy they had wronged.
standard, way of judg- ordinary, usual. ing.
awarded, given out. peculiar, out of the com- rescued, saved.
sympathizing, kindsneers, scoffs or jeers. hearted. ruffled, disturbed.
ridicule, taunts, jeers.
neigh-bour-ing slightest spe-ci-al cap-it-al-ly pleas-ant
he-ro-ism bar-gain qui-et-ly in-dus-tri-ous in-qui-ries laugh-ter
What common mistake is made both by boys and men in judging of other people? What did the boys see on going to school? What strong temptation did these boys feel? How did Jackson behave himself ? How did Watson reply to Jackson? What was there peculiar in Watson's dress? Give the explanation of Watson's conduct. Show in what respects Watson proved himself a hero. How did Jackson act when he heard the whole truth?
1. "Oh, blessed, blessed rain!" thus breathed the corn,
Raising its withered head
“ Thank God!”