That night Mickey was nowhere to be found, nor his little fellow-servant either. Where could they be? Their master sent people to search for them; but no one had seen them. It seemed strange indeed, that a boy who had been so kindly treated, and who had seemed as happy as Mickey, should run away. The good missionary and his children were in great grief, fearing that some accident had befallen the lads.
But when the time came to take the bread out of the oven, they began to suspect why Mickey had gone away. They saw some one had stolen large pieces of bread. They said, “Perhaps it was Mickey who stole the bread, and perhaps he is ashamed, and so he has run away.” What a pity it was that Mickey did not come, and confess his fault; he would have been pardoned and restored to favor. Even a good boy may fall into a great sin; but then he will own it, and ask forgiveness, both of God and man. Still Mickey was not like those hardened boys who robbed Mr. Eyre, for he was ashamed.
Month after month passed away, but no Mickey appeared. The missionary feared that the boy would never return, but live and die amongst his heathen countrymen.
One day, however, he was told that a man was at the door, who wanted to speak to him.
“Who is he?” inquired the missionary.
“A schoolmaster, sir,” replied the servant.
“And what does he want?”
“He has brought with him some native boys, and he wants you to come out and see them, and speak a few words to them about their Saviour.”
The missionary gladly consented to go out to behold so pleasing a sight, as a school of native boys. As soon as he appeared, several young voices called out, “Mickey no come.”
The missionary was surprised, and inquired of the boys, “What do you mean? where is Mickey?”
“Mickey no come,” repeated the boys. “He too much frightened.”
“Why is he afraid?” asked the missionary.
“Because he steal de bread,” replied the boys.
The missionary now began to look around, and soon espied Mickey, trying to hide himself behind a fence. He called him; but Mickey, instead of coming, went further off. Two or three boys then ran towards him, and attempted to bring him back, but Mickey resisted.
The missionary then went into the house hoping that the trembling culprit, seeing he was gone, would come out of his hiding-place.
Very soon he was told, that Mickey was standing with the other boys at the door. Then the good missionary appeared again. Looking kindly at Mickey, he said, “Why did you run away?”
“Because me steal de bread; me very sorry.”
The missionary held out his hand to the sorrowful offender, saying, “I forgive you, Mickey.” The boy eagerly seized the kind hand, and holding it fast, and looking earnestly up in the missionary’s face, he said, “When me steal again, you must whip me—and whip me—and whip me—very—very much.” Again the missionary assured the boy he had entirely forgiven him—and then Mickey began to jump about for joy.