He then advised the boy to take lessons in penmanship, in order to improve his writing.
“But,” the boy said, “why do I need to be a good penman? I’m going to be a manager some day, and I’ll have a stenographer to do my writing for me.”
“Yes,” said the man, “that may be true. But before you get to be a manager anywhere you will have to work up to it through a great many years of lower positions, and you must learn to write.” The boy could not see why, and went to find work elsewhere, before improving his writing.
There are a great many people just like that boy. They expect to be managers, superintendents, presidents, but they don’t see that they must work up to it, and every step must be faithfully and patiently taken.
Some boys expect to be good at long division, and they do not take any pains to learn subtraction thoroughly. Or they expect to be good in English, and will not study grammar. They are like the boy in this story.
Some girls expect to appear like ladies, but they pay no attention to what their mothers say about neatness,—such as keeping their hair in order and their shoes clean. These girls are also like the boy of the story.
Most things worth while in life have to be worked for, and as you cannot well get upstairs at one jump, but must take the steps between one by one, so the good things of life come by patiently filling in each task with care and faithfulness. Then the big things will take care of themselves.
Boys and girls like fairy-tales. So my sermon to-day is to be in that form. This fairy-tale comes from France, and it is told by Katherine Pyle in her book, “Fairy-Tales from Many Lands.”
A widow had two daughters. One was coarse and slovenly, with an ugly disposition, but because she resembled her mother the woman loved her and thought her beautiful. The other daughter had hair like gold and a complexion like a pink rose, while her eyes were as blue as the sky. She was sweet-tempered and kind, but her mother hated her, and gave her all the hardest work to do and the poorest food to eat.
One day she gave her a heavy jug and sent her into the forest to bring water for her sister. When the girl reached the spring she was tired and sad, and sat weeping on the stone. Presently a voice behind her asked for a drink, and she turned and saw a withered old woman sitting there. So she gently raised the jug to the woman’s lips, and then refilled it and started home.
But the old woman called her back and said: “Daughter, you have helped one who is able to repay you for your kindness. Every word you speak shall be a pearl or a rose.” The girl hastened home. Her mother met her with scolding words, asking her why she had been so long. And when her daughter explained to her, lo! every word she spoke was a pearl or a rose. The greedy old woman snatched up the pearls and left the roses.