8. Now, you see that words which look hard, and which you find difficult to read, can be easily read, if you take the pains to divide them into parts or syllables, and not try to read the whole word at once.
9. I now propose to relate to you a little story which I read when I was a little boy, and which I think will make you remember what I have just told you about reading hard words, by first taking them to pieces, and reading a part of them at a time.
10. A father, who was dying, called his seven sons around his bed, and showed them a bundle of small sticks tied together, and asked each one to try to break all the sticks at once, without untying the bundle.
11. Each of the sons took the bundle of sticks, and putting it across his knee, tried with all his strength to break it; but not one of them could break the sticks, or even bend them, while they were tied together.
12. The father then directed his oldest son to untie the bundle, and to break each stick separately. As soon as the bundle was untied, each of the sons took the sticks separately, and found that they could easily break every one of them, and scatter them, in small pieces, all about the floor.
13. “Now,” said the father, “I wish you, my dear sons, to learn a lesson from these sticks. So long as you are all united in love and friendship, you need fear little from any enemies; but, if you quarrel among yourselves, and do not keep together, you see by these little sticks how easily your enemies may put you down separately.”
14. Now, this was a very wise father, and he taught his sons a very useful lesson with this bundle of sticks. I also wish to teach you, my little friend, whoever you are, that are reading this book, another useful lesson from the same story.
15. Hard words, especially long ones, will be difficult to you to read, unless, like the sons in the story, you untie the bundle; that is, until you take the long words apart, and read one part or syllable at a time. Thus you may learn what is meant by that wise saying, “Divide and conquer.”
The same subject, continued.
1. I have another lesson to teach you from the same story of the old man and the bundle of sticks, which I think will be very useful to you, and will make your lessons very much easier to you.
2. Whenever you have a lesson to learn, do not look at it all at once, and say, I cannot learn this long lesson; but divide it into small parts, and say to yourself, I will try to learn this first little part, and after I have learned that, I will rest two or three minutes, and then I will learn another little part, and then rest again a few minutes, and then I will learn another.
3. I think that in this way you will find study is not so hard a thing as it seemed to you at first, and you will have another explanation of that wise saying, Divide and conquer.