“He came close up to me with a stick in his hand, and called me a dirty beggar-boy. But I went on with my gleaning as if I did not hear him, which vexed him so that he set the dog on me. I was very much frightened, and in fear and self-defence took up a handful of earth to throw at him, which so incensed its master, that he came up to me, pulled my bag violently from my neck, emptied all that I had gathered upon the ground, threw the bag in my face, and gave me several hard kicks and blows, and ended it all by setting the great dog upon me again, whose bites you see upon my feet.”
“What a bad boy!” cried Willy, “and did you treat him as he deserved?”
“No, indeed; I only begged that he would let me pick up my ears of corn; but he would not consent, and drove me out of the field, bidding me never enter there again, under pain of a sound drubbing from the workmen, who would be ready enough, for they laughed when they saw the squire’s son ill-treating me.” Then the poor sorrowful child began to weep afresh.
“Do your feet hurt you much, poor boy?” asked Willy, in a very sympathizing tone.
“Yes, sadly enough,” was the reply; “but I would not mind that at all, if I had not to go home with my bag empty. Father will think that I have been idling all day, and will be angry, and not give me any thing to eat; and I am very hungry now, for I have had only a small piece of dry bread before I came out this morning.”
“Oh, is that all?” rejoined Willy. “Here, take this,” said the kind boy, handing him a bun which his mother had given him for his luncheon, “for I am not hungry, and if I was, I had rather see you eat it than eat it myself.”
The poor boy hesitated to take the bun, but yielded to Willy’s kind entreaty, and ate it up very quick.
Then Willy said, “Now let us fill the bag, for I am going to help you.”
So they went to work where the sheaves had stood before the cart was loaded, and had nearly filled the bag, when Willy heard his father calling to him from under the walnut-tree.
HOW THE YOUNG GLEANER WAS MUCH FRIGHTENED, AND HOW HAPPY HE WAS MADE—AND HOW DELIGHTED WILLY WAS IN DOING KIND THINGS TO THE POOR.
“I wish you would allow me a few moments,” answered Willy to his father, “just to help a poor boy fill his bag from the gleanings of the field.”
“But I want you to go with me to the garden,” replied his father; “there are some pears to be gathered, and I know somebody that is very fond of pears.”
“Yes, I do like them, father—for I suppose you mean me—but to-day I like much better to stay here and help this poor boy. I pity him very much, he has been so cruelly treated by a bad boy.” Then Willy told his father of the little boy’s adventure in the squire’s field, how the squire’s son had beaten and set the dog upon him, and how the poor boy had cried and suffered with the pain, and the dread of taking home the empty bag.