At last, after picking and selling several bushels of ripe berries, he had enough money to buy the coveted dictionary. Oh, what a joy it was to possess a book that had been purchased with his own money! How it thrilled the boy and quickened his ambition to renewed efforts! “Well done, my boy! But, Theodore, I cannot afford to keep you there.”
“Well, father,” replied the youth, “but I am not going to study there; I shall study at home at odd times, and thus prepare myself for a final examination, which will give me a diploma.”
Theodore had just returned from Boston, and was telling his delighted father how he had spent the holiday which he had asked for in the morning. Starting out early from the farm, so as to reach Boston before the intense heat of the August day had set in, he cheerfully tramped the ten miles that lay between his home in Lexington and Harvard College, where he presented himself as a candidate for admission; and when the examinations were over, Theodore had the joy of hearing his name announced in the list of successful students. The youth had reached the goal which the boy of eight had dimly seen. And now, if you would learn how he worked and taught in a country school in order to earn the money to spend two years in college, and how the young man became one of the most eminent preachers in America, you must read a complete biography of Theodore Parker, the hero of this little story.
Long, long ago, in the shadowy past, Ali Hafed dwelt on the shores of the River Indus, in the ancient land of the Hindus. His beautiful cottage, set in the midst of fruit and flower gardens, looked from the mountain side on which it stood over the broad expanse of the noble river. Rich meadows, waving fields of grain, and the herds and flocks contentedly grazing on the pasture lands, testified to the thrift and prosperity of Ali Hafed. The love of a beautiful wife and a large family of light-hearted boys and girls made his home an earthly paradise. Healthy, wealthy, contented, rich in love and friendship, his cup of happiness seemed full to overflowing.
Happy and contented, as we have seen, was the good Ali Hafed, when one evening a learned priest of Buddha, journeying along the banks of the Indus, stopped for rest and refreshment at his home, where all wayfarers were hospitably welcomed and treated as honored guests.
After the evening meal, the farmer and his family, with the priest in their midst, gathered around the fireside, the chilly mountain air of the late autumn making a fire desirable. The disciple of Buddha entertained his kind hosts with various legends and myths, and last of all with the story of the creation.