During the entire length of his journey, he met with equal kindness and consideration at the hands of all those with whom he came in contact; and, when he reached the academy, the principal and his wife were so pleased with his frank, modest, yet self-confident bearing, that they at once adopted himself and his cow into the family. He worked for his board, and the cow ungrudgingly gave her milk for the general good.
In due time the youth was graduated with honors from the academy. He was then ready to enter college, but had no money. The kind-hearted principal of the academy and his wife again came to his aid and helped him out of the difficulty by purchasing his cow. The money thus obtained enabled him to take the next step forward. He bade his good friends farewell, and the same year entered college. For four years he worked steadily with hand and brain. In spite of the hard work they were happy years, and at their close the persevering student had won, in addition to his classical degree, many new friends and well-wishers. His next step was to take a theological course in another institution. When he had finished the course, he was called to be principal of the academy to which honest ambition first led him with his cow.
Years afterward a learned professor of Hebrew, and the author of a scholarly “Commentary,” cheered and encouraged many a struggling youth by relating the story of his own experiences from the time when he, a simple rustic, had started for college with naught but a cow as capital.
This story was first related to the writer by the late Frances E. Willard, who vouched for its truth.
Farther back than the memory of the grandfathers and grandmothers of some of my young readers can go, there lived in a historic town in Massachusetts a brave little lad who loved books and study more than toys or games, or play of any kind. The dearest wish of his heart was to be able to go to school every day, like more fortunate boys and girls, so that, when he should grow up to be a man, he might be well educated and fitted to do some grand work in the world. But his help was needed at home, and, young as he was, he began then to learn the lessons of unselfishness and duty. It was hard, wasn’t it, for a little fellow only eight years old to have to leave off going to school and settle down to work on a farm? Many young folks at his age think they are very badly treated if they are not permitted to have some toy or story book, or other thing on which they have set their hearts; and older boys and girls, too, are apt to pout and frown if their whims are not gratified. But Theodore’s parents were very poor, and could not even indulge his longing to go to school.