“Little boy, will you help a poor old man up the hill with this load?” said an old man, who was drawing a hand cart with a bag of corn for the mill.
“I can’t,” said the boy, “I am in a hurry to be at school.”
As the old man sat on the stone, resting himself, he thought of his youthful days, and of his friends now in the grave; the tears began to fall, when John Wilson came along, and said,—“Shall I help you up the hill with your load, sir?” The old man brushed his eyes with his coat sleeve, and replied, “I should be glad to have you.” He arose and took the tongue of his cart, while John pushed behind. When they ascended the top of the hill, the old man thanked the lad for his kindness. In consequence of this John was ten minutes too late at school. It was unusual for him to be late, as he was known to be punctual and prompt; but as he said nothing to the teacher about the cause of his being late, he was marked for not being in season.
After school, Hanson, the first boy, said to John, “I suppose you stopped to help old Stevenson up the hill with his corn.”
“Yes,” replied John, “the old man was tired and I thought I would give him a lift.”
“Well, did you get your pay for it?” said Hanson, “for I don’t work for nothing.”
“Nor do I,” said John; “I didn’t help him, expecting pay.”
“Well, why did you do it? You knew you would be late to school.”
“Because I thought I ought to help the poor old man,” said John.
“Well,” replied Hanson, “if you will work for nothing, you may. No pay, no work, is my motto.”
“To be kind and obliging, is mine,” said John.
Here, children, is a good example. John did not perform this act of kindness for nothing. He had the approbation of a good conscience—the pleasure of doing good to the old man—and the respect and gratitude of his friends. Even the small act of benevolence is like giving a cup of cold water to the needy, which will not pass unnoticed. Does any body work for nothing when he does good? Think of this, and do likewise.
“Mary,” said George, “next summer I will not have a garden. Our pretty tree is dying, and I won’t love another tree as long as I live. I will have a bird next summer, and that will stay all winter.”