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| Home | Reading Room The New McGuffey Fourth Reader

The New McGuffey Fourth Reader
by William H. McGuffey, Compiler

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By Charlotte Elizabeth

"Will you give my kite a lift?" said my little nephew to his

sister, after trying in vain to make it fly by dragging it along

the ground. Lucy very kindly took it up and threw it into the

air, but, her brother neglecting to run off at the same moment,

the kite fell down again.

"Ah! now, how awkward you are!" said the little fellow. "It was

your fault entirely," answered his sister. "Try again, children," said I.

Lucy once more took up the kite. But now John was in too great a

hurry; he ran off so suddenly that he twitched the kite out of

her hand, and it fell flat as before. "Well, who is to blame

now?" asked Lucy. "Try again," said I.

They did, and with more care; but a side wind coming suddenly, as

Lucy let go the kite, it was blown against some shrubs, and the

tail became entangled in a moment, leaving the poor kite hanging

with its head downward.

"There, there!" cried John, "that comes of your throwing it all

to one side." "As if I could make the wind blow straight," said

Lucy. In the meantime, I went to the kite's assistance; and

having disengaged the long tail, I rolled it up, saying, "Come,

children, there are too many trees here; let us find a more open

space, and then try again."

We soon found a fine, open space, covered with green grass, and

free from shrubs and trees. Then, all things being ready, I

tossed the kite up just as little John ran off. It rose with all

the dignity of a balloon, and promised a lofty flight; but John,

delighted to find it pulling so hard at the string, stopped short

to look upward and admire. The string slackened, the kite

wavered, and, the wind not being very strong, down came the kite

to the grass. "O John, you should not have stopped," said I.

"However, try again."

"I won't try any more," replied he, rather sullenly. "It is of no

use, you see. The kite won't fly, and I don't want to be plagued

with it any longer."

"Oh, fie, my little man! would you give up the sport, after all

the pains we have taken both to make and to fly the kite? A few

disappointments ought not to discourage us. Come, I have wound up

your string, and now try again."

And he did try, and succeeded, for the kite was carried upward on

the breeze as lightly as a feather; and when the string was all

out, John stood in great delight, holding fast the stick and

gazing on the kite, which now seemed like a little white speck in

the blue sky. "Look, look, aunt, how high it flies! and it pulls

like a team of horses, so that I can hardly hold it. I wish I had

a mile of string: I am sure it would go to the end of it."

After enjoying the sight as long as he wished, little John

proceeded to roll up the string slowly; and when the kite fell,

he took it up with great glee, saying that it was not at all

hurt, and that it had behaved very well. "Shall we come out

to-morrow, aunt, and try again?"

"Yes, my dear, if the weather is fine. And now, as we walk home,

tell me, what you have learned from your morning's sport."

"I have learned to fly my kite properly."

"You may thank aunt for it, brother," said Lucy, "for you would

have given it up long ago, if she had not persuaded you to try again."

"Yes, dear children, I wish to teach you the value of

perseverance, even when nothing more depends upon it than the

flying of a kite. Whenever you fail in your attempts to do any

good thing, let your motto be,--TRY AGAIN."


Entangled, twisted in, disordered.

Assistance, help, aid.

Disengaged, cleared, set free.

Dignity, majestic manner.

Disappointments, failures or defeats of expectation.

Discourage, take away courage.

Glee, joy.

Perseverance, continuance in anything once begun.

Motto, a short sentence or a word full of meaning.


What is the subject of this lesson?

Why was John discouraged in his attempts to fly his kite?

What did his aunt say to him?

What may we learn from this?

What should be our motto if we expect to be successful?



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