A NEW KIND OF FUN
A certain German nobleman provided his son with a tutor whose
duty it was to cultivate the mind. and morals of the youth.
One day as the tutor and his pupil were taking a walk in the
country, they came to the edge of a wood, where they observed a
half-felled tree, and saw lying by it a pair of wooden shoes. The
day being warm, the workman, resting from his toil, was cooling
his feet in a neighboring brook. The young nobleman, in a spirit
of fun, picked up a few small rounded pebbles and said: "I'll put
these in the old fellow's shoes, and we'll enjoy his grimaces
when he tries to put them on. It will be great fun."
"Well," said the tutor, "I doubt if you will get much fun
that. He must be a poor man. No doubt his lot is a hard one.
Would there be fun in adding to his troubles? I can't help
thinking that if you were to surprise him in a different way, say
by putting a little money in each shoe, you would enjoy his
grimaces better. You have plenty of money. What do you say? Is it
The boy who, though mischievous, was very kind-hearted and
generous, caught quickly at the proposal of the tutor, and
slipped a silver coin into each shoe. Then they hid behind a tree
to watch the outcome of their innocent prank. They had not very
long to wait. An elderly man came back to his work--hard work it
was, too hard for a man of his years--and slipped his right foot
into his shoe.
Feeling something hard in the shoe he withdrew his foot and
looked to see what the object might be, when lo! he discovered
the coin. A look of puzzled amazement came over his sad face,
which made the two watchers chuckle with amusement. He turned the
coin over and over in his hand, and gazed at it in astonishment.
As he looked at it he felt with his foot for the other shoe, and
slipped that one on. To his great surprise that shoe, too, held a
coin. Holding up both silver pieces, and staring at them in
silence, he made a most impressive picture, which was by no means
lost upon the two beholders. Then suddenly clasping his hands
together he fell upon his knees and gave thanks for the blessing
that had come upon him.
As he prayed, the boy and his tutor learned from his words that
his poor wife was sick and helpless at hone, and that his
orphaned grandchildren were suffering for food, while he, old and
feeble, was striving by heavy toil to earn a crust. The old man
invoked the blessing of Heaven upon the unknown but generous soul
who had pitied his poverty--the kind heart, whosesoever it might
be, that could thus beat warm in charity and kindness for the
hungry and the poor.
"He has gone," said the old man, "without even waiting to
thanked. But go where he may, far as he may, the earth is not
wide enough but that the blessing of an old man shall seek him
out and find him. The blessing of the poor flies fast," he cried;
"it will overtake him and abide with him to the end of life.
"May the charity of God and the care of His angels go with him,
keep him from poverty, shield him from sickness, guard him from
evil, and ever fill his heart with warmth and joy, as he has
filled mine this day! I'll work no more to-day. I'll go home to
my wife and children, and they shall join me in calling for
blessings upon their kind helper." He put on his shoes,
shouldered his ax, and departed.
Then the two watchers had a little dialogue.
"Now I call this the best kind of fun," said the tutor. "Why,
boy, what are you sniveling at?"
"You are sniveling, too," said the boy.
"Well, then, both of us are sniveling," said the tutor. "So,
see, fun may lead to sniveling as well as to laughing. Of all the
pleasures of life, those are the most blessed which are expressed
by tears rather than laughter."
"Come on!" said the boy.
"Where next?" asked the tutor.
"Why, to follow him, to be sure. I want to know where they live
and who they are. Do you think I will let his wife be sick and
his grandchildren be hungry if I can help it? I have learned a
new kind of fun, and I want more of it."
"My dear boy, I don't for a moment think you will stop with one
good joke of this kind. Youth, with a heart like yours, never
does things by halves."
So they followed the subject of their joke to his home, and the
young nobleman, by means of his well-filled purse, found means to
enjoy much more of his new-found variety of fun.
Grimace, distortion of the face.
Invoked, called down.
Top of Page
Room | The
New McGuffey Fourth Reader