[Illustration: The Fishermen.]
The story I told you about the Indian girl makes me think of a little boy that we once had in our ship. He was a very good boy. The captain liked him very much. He was not the captain’s child. But the captain used to say that he loved little George as much as if he was his child. The reason the captain loved him, and the reason everybody loved him, was because he was so kind and so good natured, and because he always did just as he was told to do.
I must tell you how George first came to live with us in the ship. We were once a great many hundred miles off, and the wind blew very hard. It blew so hard that we could not sail where we wanted to go, and by and by the ship went upon a bank of sand. There we had to stay a good while. We could not get away. Nobody was drowned. We ought to have been very thankful for that. I hope we were thankful. While we were lying on the sand bank, the waves dashed against the ship so hard, that we were afraid it would break in pieces. We did not know what to do. Some of us thought we might as well jump into the water, and try to swim to the shore. But the captain said that we should certainly get drowned if we tried to do that.
You wonder why we did not get into our boat, and row to the shore. We should have done so if we had not lost our boat. But we had no boat. The waves had dashed against it, and tore it away from the place where we kept it, so that we could not get it again.
But when we thought we must all be lost, we saw a boat coming toward the ship. Some fishermen had seen us, and were so kind that they came to us in their boat, so that we could get to the shore. Oh, how glad we were when we saw them coming! But the waves were so high, that for a good while we thought it would sink before it got to us. The men had very hard work to row the boat. The wind blew very hard at one time, and the little boat was blown back again almost to the shore. But they tried again, and after a long time they got to the ship. Then some of us got into the boat, and the men rowed us to the shore. After that, the boat went back to the ship again, and got the rest of the men.
But I have not told the best of the story yet. When we all got into the house, where it was warm, we told the fishermen that they were very good to come and help us get away from the ship. We thanked them very much. And then they told us that we must not thank them; and they pointed to a little boy about as old as you are, I guess. “There,” they said, “that little boy is the one to thank. We should not have gone, if it had not been for him. We were afraid the waves would dash over the boat, and that we should be drowned. We did not dare to go. But this good boy said, ’Do go! oh, do go! The poor men in the ship will get drowned, if you do not go. I will go if my father will let me. I do not think father’s boat will get lost. God will not let us drown, if we go and try to save the men.’” Well, the boy said so much, that the fishermen told him they would go, and they did go.