George had often seen his father’s men chop down the great trees in the forest, and he thought that it would be fine sport to see this tree fall with a crash to the ground. So he set to work with his little hatchet, and, as the tree was a very small one, it did not take long to lay it low.
Soon after that, his father came home.
“Who has been cutting my fine young cherry tree?” he cried. “It was the only tree of its kind in this country, and it cost me a great deal of money.”
He was very angry when he came into the house.
“If I only knew who killed that cherry tree,” he cried, “I would—yes, I would”—
“Father!” cried little George. “I will tell you the truth about it. I chopped the tree down with my hatchet.”
His father forgot his anger.
“George,” he said, and he took the little fellow in his arms, “George, I am glad that you told me about it. I would rather lose a dozen cherry trees than that you should tell one false-hood.”
It was a dark Sep-tem-ber morning. There was a storm at sea. A ship had been driven on a low rock off the shores of the Farne Islands. It had been broken in two by the waves, and half of it had been washed away. The other half lay yet on the rock, and those of the crew who were still alive were cling-ing to it. But the waves were dashing over it, and in a little while it too would be carried to the bottom.
Could any one save the poor, half-drowned men who were there?
On one of the islands was a light-house; and there, all through that stormy night, Grace Darling had listened to the storm.
Grace was the daughter of the light-house keeper, and she had lived by the sea as long as she could re-mem-ber.
In the darkness of the night, above the noise of the winds and waves, she heard screams and wild cries. When day-light came, she could see the wreck, a mile away, with the angry waters all around it. She could see the men clinging to the masts.
“We must try to save them!” she cried. “Let us go out in the boat at once!”
“It is of no use, Grace,” said her father. “We cannot reach them.”
He was an old man, and he knew the force of the mighty waves.
“We cannot stay here and see them die,” said Grace. “We must at least try to save them.”
Her father could not say, “No.”
In a few minutes they were ready. They set off in the heavy lighthouse boat. Grace pulled one oar, and her father the other, and they made straight toward the wreck. But it was hard rowing against such a sea, and it seemed as though they would never reach the place.
At last they were close to the rock, and now they were in greater danger than before. The fierce waves broke against the boat, and it would have been dashed in pieces, had it not been for the strength and skill of the brave girl.