Nor even shall be wanting here
The palm, the lily, and the spear,
The symbols that of yore
St. Filomena bore.
THE LITTLE HATCHET STORY.
WITH OCCASIONAL QUESTIONS BY A FIVE-YEAR-OLD HEARER.
Mrs. Caruthers had left her infant prodigy, Clarence, in our care for a little while that she might not be distracted by his innocent prattle while selecting the material for a new gown.
He was a bright, intelligent boy, of five summers, with a commendable thirst for knowledge, and a praiseworthy desire to understand what was said to him.
We had described many deep and mysterious things to him, and to escape the possibility of still more puzzling questions, offered to tell him a story—the story—the story of George Washington and his little hatchet. After a few necessary preliminaries we proceeded.
“Well, one day, George’s father—”
“George who?” asked Clarence.
“George Washington. He was a little boy, then, just like you. One day his father—”
“Whose father?” demanded Clarence, with an encouraging expression of interest.
“George Washington’s; this great man we are telling you of. One day George Washington’s father gave him a little hatchet for a—”
“Gave who a little hatchet?” the dear child interrupted with a gleam of bewitching intelligence. Most men would have got mad, or betrayed signs of impatience, but we didn’t. We know how to talk to children. So we went on.
“Who gave him the little hatchet?”
“His father. And his father—”
“Yes, George Washington’s. And his father told him—”
“Oh, yes, George.”
And we went on, just as patient and as pleasant as you could imagine. We took up the story right where the boy interrupted, for we could see he was just crazy to hear the end of it. We said:
“And he was told—”
“George told him?” queried Clarence.
“No, his father told George—”
“Yes, told him he must be careful with the hatchet—”
“Who must be careful?”
“Yes, must be careful with his hatchet—”
“Careful with the hatchet, and not cut himself with it, or drop it in the cistern, or leave it out of doors all night. So George went around cutting everything he could reach with his hatchet. At last he came to a splendid apple tree, his father’s favourite apple tree, and cut it down—”
“Who cut it down?”
“But his father came home and saw it the first thing, and—”