The little boy went on a little further, his dog still following him and fawning upon him with the greatest gratitude and affection, when he saw a poor old horse lying upon the ground, and groaning as if he was very ill. He went up to him, and saw that he was almost starved, and so weak that he was unable to rise. “I am very much afraid,” said the little boy, “if I stay to assist this horse that it will be dark before I can return, and I have heard there are several thieves in the neighborhood. However, I will try. It is doing a good action to attempt to relieve him, and God Almighty will take care of me.” He then went and gathered some grass, which he brought to the horse’s mouth, who immediately began to eat with as much relish as if his chief disease was hunger. He then fetched some water in his hat, which the animal drank up, and seemed immediately to be so much refreshed that after a few trials he got up and began grazing.
He then went on a little further, and saw a man wading about in a pool of water without being able to get out, in spite of all his endeavors. “What is the matter, good man?” said the little boy to him. “Can’t you find your way out of this pond?” “No, God bless you, my worthy master, or miss,” said the man, “for such I take you to be by your voice. I have fallen into this pond, and know not how to get out again, as I am quite blind, and I am almost afraid to move for fear of being drowned.” “Well,” said the little boy, “though I shall be wetted to the skin, if you will throw me your stick, I will try to help you out of it.”
The blind man then threw the stick on to that side on which he heard the voice; the little boy caught it, and went into the water, feeling very carefully before him, lest he should unguardedly go beyond his depth. At length he reached the blind man, took him very carefully by the hand, and led him out. The blind man then gave him a thousand blessings, and told him he could grope his way home, and the little boy ran on as hard as he could to prevent being benighted.
But he had not proceeded far when he saw a poor sailor, that had lost both his legs in an engagement by sea, hopping along upon crutches.
“God bless you, my little master!” said the sailor. “I have fought many a battle with the French to defend poor old England, but now I am crippled, as you see, and have neither victuals nor money, although I am almost famished.” The little boy could not resist his inclination to relieve him, so he gave him all his remaining victuals, and said: “God help you, poor man! This is all I have, otherwise you should have more.”
He then ran along, and presently arrived at the town he was going to, did his business, and returned towards his own home with all the expedition he was able.
But he had not gone much more than half-way before the night shut in extremely dark, without either moon or stars to light him. The poor little boy did all he could to find his way, but unfortunately missed it in turning down a lane which brought him into a wood, where he wandered about a great while without being able to find any path to lead him out.