“Arthur felt very sorry about losing his apples, and he began to cry, but he soon wiped his eyes, and said to his grandmother:
“’It is hard to lose my nice apples, but it was much worse for that naughty boy to commit so great a sin as to steal them. I am sure God must be very angry with him; and I will go and kneel down and ask God to forgive him.’
“So he went and prayed for the boy who had stolen his apples. Now, William, do you not think that was returning good for evil?”
“O, yes,” said William; “and I thank you, mother, for your pretty story. I now understand what my new book means.” Little Arthur grew to be a man, and always bore a good name.
THE MOTHERLESS BIRDS.
There were two men who were neighbors to each other, living in a distant country where they had to labor hard for the support of their families. One of them was greatly troubled to know who would take care of his children if he should die. But the other man was not so troubled, and was always very cheerful, saying to his neighbor: “Never distrust Providence.”
One day as the sorrowful man was laboring in the fields, sad and cast down, he saw some little birds enter a bush, go out and then return again. He went towards the bush, and saw two nests side by side, and in both nests some little birds, newly hatched and still without feathers. He saw the old birds go in a number of times, and they carried in their bills food to give their little ones.
At one time, as one of the mothers returned with her beak full, a large vulture seized her and carried her away; and the poor mother, struggling vainly under its talons, uttered piercing cries. He thought the little young birds must certainly die, as they had now no mother to take care of them. He felt so bad about them that he did not sleep any that night. The next day, on returning to the fields, he said to himself: “I will see the little ones of this poor mother, some without doubt have already perished.”
He went up to the bush, and saw that the little ones in both nests were all alive and well. He was very much surprised at this, and he hid himself behind the bush to see what would happen. After a little time he heard a crying of the birds, and soon the second mother came flying into the bush with her beak full of food, and distributed it all among the little birds in both nests. He now saw that the orphan birds were as well provided for as when their own mother was living.
In the evening he related the whole story to his neighbor, and said to him:
“I will never distress myself again about who will take care of my children, if I should die before them.”
His neighbor replied: “Let us always believe, hope, love, and pursue our course in peace. If you die before me, I take care of your children, and if I die before you, you will be a father to mine; and if we are both taken away before our children are able to provide for themselves, there is a Father in heaven.”