After this, my dear children, I hope you will not believe any foolish stories that ignorant, weak, or designing people may tell you about ghosts; for the tales of ghosts, witches, and fairies are the frolics of a distempered brain. No wise man ever saw either of them. Little Margery was not afraid; no, she had good sense, and a good conscience, which is a cure for all these imaginary evils.
OF SOMETHING WHICH HAPPENED TO LITTLE MARGERY TWO-SHOES IN A BARN, MORE DREADFUL THAN THE GHOST IN THE CHURCH; AND HOW SHE RETURNED GOOD FOR EVIL TO HER ENEMY, SIR TIMOTHY.
Some days after this, a more dreadful accident befell Little Madge. She happened to be coming late from teaching, when it rained, thundered, and lightened and therefore she took shelter in a farmer’s barn at a distance from the village. Soon after, the tempest drove in four thieves, who not seeing such a little creep-mouse girl as Two-Shoes, lay down on the hay next to her, and began to talk over their exploits, and to settle plans for future robberies. Little Margery, on hearing them, covered herself with straw. To be sure she was frightened, but her good sense taught her that the only security she had was in keeping herself concealed; therefore she lay very still and breathed very softly. About four o’clock these wicked people came to a resolution to break both Sir William Dove’s house and Sir Timothy Gripe’s, and by force of arms to carry off all their money, plate, and jewels; but as it was thought then too late, they all agreed to defer it till the next night. After laying his scheme, they all set out upon their pranks, which greatly rejoiced Margery, as it would any other little girl in her situation. Early in the morning she went to Sir William, and told him the whole of their conversation. Upon which he asked her name, then gave her something, and bid her call at his house the day following. She also went to Sir Timothy, notwithstanding he had used her so ill, for she knew it was her duty to do good for evil. As soon as he was informed who she was, he took no notice of her; upon which she desired to speak to Lady Gripe, and having informed her ladyship of the affair she went away. This lady had more sense than her husband which indeed is not a singular case; for instead of despising Little Margery and her information, she privately set people to guard the house. The robbers divided themselves, and went about the time mentioned to both houses, and were surprised by the guards and taken. Upon examining these wretches (one of which turned evidence), both Sir William and Sir Timothy found that they owed their lives to the discovery made by Little Margery; and the first took great notice of her and would no longer let her lie in a barn; but Sir Timothy only said that he was ashamed to owe his life to the daughter of one who was his enemy; so true it is, “That a proud man seldom forgives those he has injured.”