The father listened attentively to his son’s tale, and immediately went to the little ragged fellow, who was so busy gathering the fallen ears, that he did not hear him when he approached.
“Shall I help you?” said the loud voice of the master of the field.
The child was terrified, and replied, “Indeed, indeed, I have not touched a single stalk or ear of corn except those which were left on the ground.”
“I believe you, my little fellow, you need not tremble so; if you were a thief you would not be a gleaner. Come here, my boy.” He then took him to a sheaf of corn, and filled his bag.
As soon as this was done, Willy sprung up and flew into his father’s arms, and kissed him, exclaiming, “Thank you, thank you, dearest father, kindest father! this is so kind!”
“May God reward you,” said the boy, as he went away with tears in his eyes.
Little Willy was very happy, and expressed his interest in the poor boy several times on their way to the garden.
“Why are you so happy, my son? Is it on account of the ripe apricots, or because you have tasted a different pleasure?”
Willy looked into his father’s face said, “It is because that poor boy is made happier.”
After leaving the garden, he ran to his mother and gave her the flowers he had gathered for her, and related the adventure with the little boy. His mother was very much pleased to find her son possessed so much kindness for the poor, and she promised to assist him in his benevolent feelings, and to allow him in future to look after the poor little stranger, and supply him with clothes, books, and also food for the family, whenever it was necessary for their comfort.
Willy was never so happy and cheerful as when he was doing good and planning something useful to his poor neighbors and friends, for this was the way he lost sight of his own self-gratification, and grew up to be a worthy and honorable man, respected and beloved by all who knew him; for through his tender care and benevolence he dried many tears of penury and sorrow.
* * * * *
My master says this is done well,
How glad, how proud am I!
For I shall see a joyful smile
In mother’s dear kind eye.
She’ll lay her hand upon my head,
And kiss my forehead too,
And whisper softly in my ear,
“Did I not tell you true?”
For when I said, “Oh dear,
And breathed a heavy sigh,
My mother said, “Nay, do not fear;
Come, let me see you try.
[Illustration: THE PERSEVERING BOY.]
“For if you will I’m very
It will not be in vain;
You know a hard task really learnt
Is more than double gain.”
I’ve learned it all, and written
Without the least mistake,
And mother said, “I am right glad
To see the pains you take.”