Stories Worth Re-Reading

Read and Listen

48. The Handy Box''

"Grandmother, do you know where I can find a little bit of wire?" asked Marjorie, running from the shed, where an amateur circus was in preparation.''

Grandmother went to a little closet in the room and disappeared a moment, coming out presently with the wire.''

"O, yes! and Fred wanted me to ask if you had a large safety-pin." Marjorie looked a little wistful, as if she did not quite like to bother grandmother.''

There was another trip made to the closet, and the safety-pin was in
Marjorie's hand.''

"You are a pretty nice grandma," she said, over her shoulder, as she ran out.''

Not very long after, Marjorie came into the kitchen again. This time she stood beside the sink, where grandmother was washing dishes, and twisted her little toes in her sandals, but seemed afraid to speak.''

"Fred wants to know"—began grandmother, laughing.''

"Yes'm," said Marjorie, blushing.''

"If I can't find him a piece of strong string?" finished grandmother.''

"O, no—it's a little brass tack!" declared Marjorie, soberly.''

She was a patient, loving grandmother, and she went to the little closet again. Marjorie could hardly believe her eyes when she saw the tacks, for there were three!''

"He—said—" she began slowly, and stopped.''

"You ought to tell him to come and say it himself," and grandmother laughed; "but we will forgive him this time. Was it 'Thank you,' he said?"''

"He feels 'Thank you' awfully, I'm sure," said Marjorie, politely, "but what he said was that if wasn't too much bother—well, he could use a kind of hook thing."''

Her grandmother produced a long iron hook, and Marjorie looked at her wonderingly. "Are you a fairy?" she asked, timidly. "You must have a wand and just make things."''

Grandmother laughed. "Come here," she said. And she opened the little dark closet, and from the shelf took a long wooden box. This she brought to the table, and when she opened it, Marjorie gave a little cry of delight. It seemed to her that there was a little of everything in it. There were bits of string, pins, colored paper, bobbins, balls, pieces of felt, and every sort of useful thing generally thrown away.''

"When I knew my grandchildren were coming here to spend the summer," she said, "I began on this box, and whenever I find anything astray that would naturally be thrown out I just put it in."''

"Do you want me to help save, too?" asked Marjorie, who thought the story should have a moral.''

"You must start a handy box of your own when you go back, and keep it in the nursery. You don't know how many times a day you will be able to help the others out. A little darning yarn, an odd thimble, a bit of soft linen, and all the things that clutter and would be thrown away, go to fill up a handy box. You can be the good fairy of the nursery."''

"It is just wonderful!" said Marjorie. "If I had a little—just a little wooden box, I would begin today, and when I go home I can have a larger one."''

Grandmother smiled, and brought out a smaller wooden box, just the right size. From that moment Marjorie was a collector, and her usefulness began.—Mira Jenks Stafford, in Youth's Companion.''

49. The Result of Disobedience''

My parents and their six children, including myself, lived in Flintville, Wisconsin, near the Suamico River and Pond, where a great number of logs had been floated in for lumber. On the opposite side from us were woods, where wintergreen berries were plentiful. One pleasant Sunday morning in October, 1857, one of our playmates came to ask mother if we, my older sister, a younger brother, and I, might go with her to pick some of these berries.''

Mother said we might go if we would go down the river and cross the bridge. She knew that we had crossed the pond several times on the logs, but the water was unusually high for that time of the year, and there was danger in crossing that way. We promised to cross by the bridge, really intending when we left home to do so. Mother let my two younger sisters, one four and the other six years old, go with us.''

We left the house as happy as could be. My mother smiled as she stood in the door and watched us go. She had always trusted us, and we seldom disobeyed her. But this time we had our playmate with us, and the had been in the habit of having her own way. As she was a little older than we were, we thought that what she said or did was all right.''

We had gone but a short distance when this girl, whose name was Louise, suggested that we run across the logs, and get to the berries so much the sooner. We reminded her of what our mother had told us; but she said, "Your mother does not know how snug the logs are piled in, and that it would be such fun, and no danger, to cross on them."''

We began to look at the matter in the same way, and after playing a few minutes, we started across. I took one of my little sisters, and Louise was going to take the younger one; but, as she was about to start, her brother, whom she had not seen for some time, drove up and took her home with him. My brother, thinking he could take our little sister across, started with her, but I called to him to go back and wait for me to do it; for I was then about half-way over. The stream was not wide, and he thought he could take her over as well as I.''

Just as I started back, O, what a sight met my eyes! I saw my little sister slip off the log into the water. I ran to catch her, but was not quick enough. As I reached for her, my brother and I both rolled from the log into the water with her. Then my sister, who had been standing on the bank to see if we got over safely, came to our rescue; but we were so frightened that we caught hold of her, and, instead of her pulling us out, we pulled her in with us.''

By that time our screams had reached our mother's ears, and she came running to see what the trouble was. She saw only one of us, as the others were under water, or nearly so, and, supposing there was only one in the water, she came on the logs to help. By the time she got to us, the logs were under motion, so that she could not stand on them; and she, too, fell into the water.''

The six-year-old sister, whom I had taken across, saw it all and made an attempt to come to us. Mother called to her to go back. She turned back, and reached the shore all right. Just as mother spoke, she felt something come against her feet. She raised her foot with the weight, and caught the dress of little Emeline, who was sinking for the last time. Mother managed to hold her till help came.''

It being Sunday, nearly every man that lived near was away from home. Fortunately, a Mr. Flint, who had company visiting him, was at home. The men were eating their dinner when a woman who had seen us in the water rushed into the dining-room and told them that Mr. Tripp's family were in the mill-pond drowning. They rushed from the table, tipping it over and breaking some dishes.''

When they reached us, the logs and water were so disturbed that nothing could be done for us until boards were brought to lay on the logs. During this time I had caught hold of a log that was crowded between others, so I could pull myself up without rolling, but could get no farther. My sister Sarah and brother Willard were helped ashore. Emeline, whom mother had been trying hard to hold up, was taken out, but showed no signs of life. She was laid on a log while they helped mother out.''

As soon as mother saw Emeline, she told the men to turn her on her stomach. They then saw that there was life. She was quickly taken to the house, and cared for by an old lady we called Aunt Betsey, who had come to help.''

While taking mother to shore, the nine men who had come to our rescue fell into the water. They all had to walk on the same long board to get to shore. The boards having been placed so very quickly, it was not noticed, until too late, that one was unsafe. The men were near enough to shore where they fell in, so that they could touch bottom, and were not long in getting out.''

Mother had to be taken home, where she was cared for by the best help we could procure. It was impossible to get a doctor where we lived in those days. Little Emeline and mother were watched over all night, and at sunrise the next morning they were pronounced out of danger.''

The men who fell in got off with only an unpleasant wetting. The water was quite cold; the pond froze over the following night. They did not start for home that day, as they were intending to do, but spent the rest of the day drying their clothing.''

About noon our father, who had been away for three days, came home. When he heard the story of our disaster, he wept, and thanked God for sparing our lives.''

All this happened because we did not obey our mother; and we children never forgot the lesson. Mrs. M. J. Lawrence.''

Likes and Dislikes''

  I had a little talk today—
    An argument with Dan and Ike:
  First Dan, he said 'twas not his way
    To do the things he didn't like.''

  And Ike, he said that Dan was wrong;
    That only cowards dodged and hid.
  Because it made him brave and strong,
    The things he didn't like, he did!''

  But then I showed to Ike and Dan
    An easy way between the two:
  I always try, as best I can,
To like the things I have to do.
—Arthur Guiterman, in Youth's Companion.''

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