Mean-while a crowd of men and women and children had come into the market place, eager to learn what cause the judges were about to try. When they saw the horse, all stood still in wonder. Then every one was ready to tell how they had seen him wan-der-ing on the hills, unfed, un-cared for, while his master sat at home counting his bags of gold.
“Go bring the miser before us,” said the judges.
[Illustration: “Some one has done me wrong!”]
And when he came, they bade him stand and hear their judg-ment.
“This horse has served you well for many a year,” they said. “He has saved you from many a peril. He has helped you gain your wealth. Therefore we order that one half of all your gold shall be set aside to buy him shelter and food, a green pasture where he may graze, and a warm stall to comfort him in his old age.”
The miser hung his head, and grieved to lose his gold; but the people shouted with joy, and the horse was led away to his new stall and a dinner such as he had not had in many a day.
About a hundred years ago there lived a great gen-er-al whose name was Na-po’le-on Bo’na-parte. He was the leader of the French army; and France was at war with nearly all the countries around. He wanted very much to take his soldiers into It-a-ly; but between France and Italy there are high mountains called the Alps, the tops of which are covered with snow.
“Is it pos-si-ble to cross the Alps?” said Na-po-le-on.
The men who had been sent to look at the passes over the mountains shook their heads. Then one of them said, “It may be possible, but”—
“Let me hear no more,” said Napoleon. “Forward to Italy!”
People laughed at the thought of an army of sixty thousand men crossing the Alps where there was no road. But Napoleon waited only to see that everything was in good order, and then he gave the order to march.
The long line of soldiers and horses and cannon stretched for twenty miles. When they came to a steep place where there seemed to be no way to go farther, the trum-pets sounded “Charge!” Then every man did his best, and the whole army moved right onward.
Soon they were safe over the Alps. In four days they were marching on the plains of Italy.
“The man who has made up his mind to win,” said Napoleon, “will never say ‘Im-pos-si-ble.’”
There was a man named Cin-cin-na’tus who lived on a little farm not far from the city of Rome. He had once been rich, and had held the highest office in the land; but in one way or another he had lost all his wealth. He was now so poor that he had to do all the work on his farm with his own hands. But in those days it was thought to be a noble thing to till the soil.