The Children's Portion
The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Children's Portion, by Various, Edited byRobert W. Shoppell
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Title: The Children's Portion Entertaining, Instructive, and Elevating Stories: The Golden Age — The Merchant of Venice — The Afflicted Prince — "His Ludship" — Pious Constance — The Doctor's Revenge — The Woodcutter's Child — Show Your Colors — Her Danger Signal — A Knight's Dilemma — "His Royal Highness" — Patient Griselda — Let It Alone — The Man Who Lost His Memory — The Story of a Wedge — Prince Edwin and His Page — Cissy's Amendment — The Winter's Tale — A Gracious Deed — "Tom" — Steven Lawrence, American
Editor: Robert W. Shoppell
Release Date: April 10, 2006 [eBook #18146]
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE CHILDREN'S PORTION***
E-text prepared by Al Haines
THE CHILDREN'S PORTION.
Entertaining, Instructive, and Elevating Stories.
Selected and Edited by
ROBERT W. SHOPPELL.
The Christian Herald,
Louis Klopsch, Proprietor,
Bible House, New York.
By Louis Klopsch.
The Golden Age. Rev. Alexander McLeod, D. D.
The Merchant of Venice. Mary Seymour
The Afflicted Prince. Agnes Strickland
"His Ludship." Barbara Yechton
Pious Constance. Chaucer
The Doctor's Revenge. ALOE
The Woodcutter's Child. Grimm Brothers
Show Your Colors. C. H. Mead
Her Danger Signal
A Knight's Dilemma. Chaucer
"His Royal Highness." C. H. Mead
Patient Griselda. Chaucer
Let It Alone. Mary C. Bamford
The Man Who Lost His Memory. Savinien Lapointe
The Story of a Wedge. C. H. Mead
Prince Edwin and His Page. Agnes Strickland
The Winter's Tale. Mary Seymour
A Gracious Deed
"Tom." C. H. Mead
Steven Lawrence, American. Barbara Yechton
THE CHILDREN'S PORTION.
THE GOLDEN AGE.
REV. ALEXANDER MACLEOD, D. D.
THE KING'S CHILDREN.
There was once, in Christendom, a little kingdom where the people werepious and simple-hearted. In their simplicity they held for true manythings at which people of great kingdoms smile. One of these thingswas what is called the "Golden Age."
There was not a peasant in the villages, nor a citizen in the cities,who did not believe in the Golden Age. If they happened to hear ofanything great that had been done in former times, they would say,"That was in the Golden Age." If anybody spoke to them of a good thinghe was looking for in years to come, they would say, "Then shall be theGolden Age." And if they should be speaking of something happy or goodwhich was going on under their eyes, they always said, "Yes, the GoldenAge is there."
Now, words like these do not come to people in a day. And these wordsabout the Golden Age did not come to the people of that ancient kingdomin a day. More than a hundred years before, there was reigning overthe kingdom a very wise king, whose name was Pakronus. And to him oneday came the thought, and grew from little to more in his mind, thatsome time or other there must have been, and some time or other therewould be again, for his people and for all people a "Golden Age."
"Other ages," he said, "are silver, or brass, or iron; but one is aGolden Age." And I suppose he was thinking of that Age when he gavenames to his three sons, for he called them YESTERGOLD, GOLDENDAY, andGOLDMORROW. Sometimes when he talked about them, he would say, "Theyare my three captains of the Golden Age." He had also a littledaughter whom he greatly loved. Her name was FAITH.
These children were very good. And they were clever as well as good.But like all the children of that old time, they remained childrenlonger than the children of now-a-days. It was many years before theirschool days came to an end, and when they ended they did not altogethercease to be children. They had simple thoughts and simple ways, justlike the people of the kingdom. Their father used to take them up anddown through the country, to make them acquainted with the lives of thepeople. "You shall some day be called to high and difficult tasks inthe kingdom," he said to them, "and you should prepare yourselves allyou can." Almost every day he set their minds a-thinking, how thelives of the people could be made happier, and hardly a day passed onwhich he did not say to them, that people would be happier the nearerthey got to the Golden Age. In this way the children came early to thethought that, one way or other, happiness would come into the worldalong with the Golden Age.
But always there was one thing they could not understand: that was thetime when the Golden Age should be.
About the Age itself they were entirely at one. They could notremember a year in their lives when they were not at one in this. Asfar back as the days when, in the long winter evenings, they satlistening to the ballads and stories of their old nurse, they had beenlovers and admirers of that Age. "It was the happy Age of the world,"the nurse used to say. "The fields were greener, the skies bluer, therainbows brighter than in other Ages. It was the Age when heaven wasnear, and good angels present in every home. Back in that Age, away onthe lonely pastures, the shepherds watching their flocks by night heardangels' songs in the sky. And the children in the cities, as they weregoing to sleep, felt the waving of angel wings in the dark. It was atime of wonders. The very birds and beasts could speak and understandwhat was said. And in the poorest children in the streets might befound princes and princesses in disguise."
They remembered also how often, in the mornings, when they went down toschool, their teacher chose lessons which seemed to tell of a GoldenAge. They recalled the lessons about the city of pure gold that wasone day to come down from heaven for men to dwell in; and other lessonsthat told of happy times, when nations should learn the art of war nomore, and there should be nothing to hurt or destroy in all the earth.
"Yes, my dear children," their mother would say, in the afternoon, whenthey told her of the teacher's lessons and the nurse's stories. "Yes,there is indeed a happy age for the children of men, which is all thatyour nurse and teacher say. It is a happy time and a time of wonders.In that time wars cease and there is nothing to hurt or destroy.Princes and princesses in poor clothing are met in the streets, becausein that Age the poorest child who is good is a child of the King ofHeaven. And heaven and good angels are near because Christ is near.It is Christ's presence that works the wonders. When He is living onthe earth, and His life is in the lives of men, everything is changedfor the better. There is a new heaven and a new earth. And the GoldenAge has come."
It was a great loss to these children that this holy and beautifulmother died when they were still very young. But her good teaching didnot die. Her words about the Golden Age never passed out of theirminds. Whatever else they thought concerning it in after years, theyalways came back to this—in this they were all agreed—that it is thepresence of Christ that makes the Gold of the Golden Age.
But at this point their agreement came to an end. They could neveragree respecting the time of the Golden Age.
Yestergold believed that it lay in the past. In his esteem the formertimes were better than the present. People were simpler then, andtruer to each other and happier. There was more honesty in trade, morelove in society, more religion in life. Many an afternoon he wentalone into the old abbey, where the tombs of saintly ladies, of holymen, and of brave fighters lay, and as he wandered up and down lookingat their marble images, the gates of the Golden Age seemed to open upbefore him. There was one figure, especially, before which he oftenstood. It was the figure of a Crusader, his sword by his side, hishands folded across his breast, and his feet resting on a lion. "Ay,"he would say, "in that Age the souls of brave men really trod the lionand the dragon under foot." But when the light of the setting sun camestreaming through the great window in the west, and kindling up thepicture of Christ healing the sick, his soul would leap up for joy, anew light would come into his eyes, and this thought would rise withinhim like a song—"The Golden Age itself—the Age into which all otherAges open and look back—is pictured there."
But on such occasions, as he came out of the abbey and went along thestreets, if he met the people hastening soiled and weary from theirdaily toils, the joy would go out of his heart. He would begin tothink of the poor lives they were leading. And he would cry withinhimself, "Oh that the lot of these toiling crowds had fallen on thathappy Age! It would have been easy then to be good. Goodness was inthe very air blessed by His presence. The people had but to see Him tobe glad." And sometimes his sorrow would be for himself. Sometimes,remembering his own struggles to be good, and the difficulties in hisway, and how far he was from being as good as he ought to be, he wouldsay, "Would that I myself had been living when Jesus was on the earth."More or less this wish was always in his heart. It had been in hisheart from his earliest years. Indeed, it is just a speech of his,made when he was a little boy, which has been turned into the hymn weso often sing:—
"I think when I read that sweet story of old,
When Jesus was here among men,
How He called little children, as lambs, to His fold,
I should like to have been with Him then.
"I wish that His hands had been placed on my head,
That His arms had been thrown around me,
That I might have seen His kind looks when He said,
'Let the little ones come unto Me.'"
Goldmorrow's thoughts were different. They went forward into thefuture. He had hardly any of Yestergold's difficulties about beinggood. He did not think much about his own state. What took up all histhoughts was the state of the world in which his brothers and he wereliving. How was that to be made better? As he went up and down in hisfather's kingdom, he beheld hovels in which poor people had to live,and drink-shops, and gambling-houses, and prisons. He was alwaysasking himself, how are evils like these to be put away? Whatever goodany Age of the past had had, these things had never been cast out. Hedid not think poorly of the Age when Christ was on the earth. He wasas pious as his brother. He loved the Lord as much as his brother.But his love went more into the future than into the past. It was theLord who was coming, rather than the Lord who had come, in whom he hadjoy. "The Golden Age would come when Christ