A Little Colored Boy and Other Stories
Little Colored Boy
A LITTLE COLORED BOY.
“YOU can’t helpthinking when youlisten to that boy,”said Mrs. Warner,“that the Lordmust want him inheaven. He hassuch a heavenlyvoice.”
“I think it morelikely that Godput an angel’svoice in Neddy’s throat to give us a tasteof heavenly music,” said grandma, lookingup from the apples she was paring.
“Bosh! you women folks are so everlastinglysimple and silly that you encouragethe boy in his mischief;” and FarmerWarner set down the milk pail with sucha thud that the milk slopped over intothe sauce his wife was dishing for supper.
“Now, Henry, you have ruined that dishof apple sauce,” expostulated Mrs. Warner;“and they’re the first apples of theseason, too.”
“Never mind,” said grandma, “we’ll findsomething else. Just call the boy to supper,Henry.”
“Indeed I won’t call him,” he sputtered.“For the past hour I’ve been calling himto help with the chores, and I’ll call nomore.”
Just then, in sweet, rich tones, came inthe melody—
“And your body, too,” growled Mr. Warner.“If you women had the trials I havewith Ned, you would not set so much storeby him.”
“I won’t deny that he’s trying, Henry;but when one is weary and fretted with along, hot day’s work, it is the most soothingthing in the world to hear the childsinging in the twilight about rest for hissoul. It rests me way tomy toes.”
“It would rest me a heapmore if he did his work.Now, you see when I calledhim to help he was singingabout rest, but supper beingready, he comes alongwithout being called even.”
Bare feet came patteringalong the porchand a little black facepeeped in the window.
“Did you call me, Mis’serWarner?” The farmergrunted and drew up tothe table.
“Henry called you a long time ago,Neddy; why did you not come?”
“I camed jes’ as soon as I heerd him,’deed I did. I only stopped to pick thesefur you,” and he placed his hat on the tablelined with leaves and filled to the brim withluscious blackberries; then he laid a greatbunch of wild flowers beside them. Mrs.Warner buried her face in the fragrantflowers. How long it was since anyonehad brought her flowers! Henry used tokeep her supplied; but he was too busynow.
“Deary me,” said grandma; “these willjust take the place of the apple sauce;” andshe began to pick over the berries.
Ned sat at a side table and did full justiceto an ample supper. When Mr. Warnercalled for pie his wife gave him half ofone, and, notwithstanding his frown, gavethe other half to Ned. After supper theyboth went out, but Ned soon returned andbegan helping clear the table.
“Henry may need you, Ned,” said Mrs.Warner.
“No’m, he don’t; he tole me to clear out.You put some flowers on your dress an’ goout an’ get some air. I’ll clean up.”
It was a great temptation, and Mrs.Warner walked through the fields to aneighbor’s, while Ned warbled over thedishes and her husband finished thechores.
A few months before this a lady fromthe South had brought Ned to sing in thechurch, and had told how anxious she wasto get a home for him with Christian peoplewho would educate him. Mrs. Warner’sheart had softened at once, and her husbandwas nothing loath to have a littlehelper and do God service at the sametime. But they had not found it an easytask to train Ned up in the way he shouldgo. A sweet-tempered little singing birdwas he, as neat as a pin and as quick as awink, but having no more idea of responsibilitiesthan the little warblers he imitatedin his throat.
But his kind thoughtfulness for othersgave Mrs. Warner courage to keep on withhim, and, as soon as she had, with verygentle teaching, made him to understandthat promptness was the one thing requiredby Mr. Warner, and that the lack of itoften caused serious inconvenience, thelittle fellow began to mend his ways.
It was hard for him to understand atfirst. The fact that a thing would givepleasure to some one seemed reason enoughfor its being done at once. In fact, someof the unpleasant things seemed to himhardly worth the doing.
But Mrs. Warner was very patient, andthe heart that beat under the dark skin wasvery loving and sweet.
“Yes; I see it now,” he said one day, ashe dropped the first sweet harvest appleinto grandma’s lap. “It took a good while,but I understand. If you are told to doa thing, you must do it. Then, if there’sany time left, or, if you can crowd thepleasant thing in along with it, all right.But sometimes it’s powerful hard.
“There’s the sky. I s’pose he’d like tosmile all the time and be bright and jolly.But sometimes God tells him to rain, andhe just goes and does it, like a major.
“Didn’t use to seem ’s if I was selfish ifI kept the cows waiting while I pickedsome wild flowers for Mrs. Warner. ButI really suppose it was.”
Dear little Ned! God bless him!
THE GOLDEN RULE.
LIZZIE had a present of a wild bluebirdfrom her auntie, who caught it whenit was a wee baby bird. It was a beauty,and Lizzie was very happy with her pet.One day she hung the cage on the verandaand saw how pleased the little creaturewas. Pretty soon it burst into a beautifulsong, and she saw another bird near by,and that was a bluebird, too. Lizzie fanciedher bird looked sad when the otherone flew away, and that made her wonderif she had a right to keep a wild bird shutup in a cage. “I wouldn’t like to be caughtand shut up, I know,” thought Lizzie, “andwhat I would not like to have done to meI ought not to do even to a bird.” And soLizzie wrote a letter to her auntie, askingif she might set her dear bird free. Auntiesaid she might, and the very next morningLizzie opened the prison door and birdiewent free, all because a loving-hearted littlegirl was willing to do as she would liketo be done by.
A LITTLE FLOWER MISSION OF HER OWN.
“PICK your poppies every day,” saidgrandma, “and then others willcome to take their place; and if you leavea fine one here and there with a bit ofthread of the same color tied to its stem,you will know how to sort them.”
So all summer Bessie picked the poppiesand gave them to her friends, who criedout with delight over their lovely colors;and she did not forget the poor childrenwho live in tenements without gardens, andwho looked longingly at the bright bed asthey passed.
The seeds had only cost a nickel in thespringtime; and caring for the flower bedsmade the little girl well and strong. So itwas wise in Uncle Harry to suggest thispleasant task to Bessie.
AN EASTERN LEGEND.
What poor woman was
commended by Christ as
having been more generous
than all the rich?
A RAINY DAY STORY.
THE water in the kettle decided to takea sail one day. What do you thinkwas its boat? Why, the soft, balmy air.What kind of a dress do you think it wore?A beautiful white one made of vapor.Where do you suppose it sailed to? Awayto Cloudland. It remained away severaldays. When it came back it had changedits dress, and then everybody said, “It israining.”
“FORGOT my nickel,” mumbled theboy with the gold watch.
“Spent all my money yesterday,” laughedthe one with the spike-toed shoes.
“Saving up to buy a ’bike,’” said theone with his hands in his pockets.
The envelope passed around the classand came back with six cents. Everybodyknew who put in that nickel and penny.It was the boy who earned sixty cents aweek on a newspaper route. His trouserswere too short for his fast-lengtheninglegs, and his carefully polished shoesshowed a break here and there; but one-tenthof his earnings was given without failinto the Lord’s treasury.