TWO WAYS OF TELLING A STORY
By Henry K. Oliver
In one of the most populous cities of New England, a few years
ago, a party of lads, all members of the same school, got up a
grand sleigh ride. The sleigh was a very large one, drawn by six
On the following day, as the teacher entered the schoolroom, he
found his pupils in high glee, as they chattered about the fun
and frolic of their excursion. In answer to some inquiries, one
of the lads gave him an account of their trip and its various incidents.
As he drew near the end of his story, he exclaimed: "Oh, sir!
there was one thing I had almost forgotten. As we were coming
home, we saw ahead of us a queer-looking affair in the road. It
proved to be a rusty old sleigh, fastened behind a covered wagon,
proceeding at a very slow rate, and taking up the whole road.
"Finding that the owner was not disposed to turn out, we
determined upon a volley of snowballs and a good hurrah. They
produced the right effect, for the crazy machine turned out into
the deep snow, and the skinny old pony started on a full trot.
"As we passed, some one gave the horse a good crack, which made
him run faster than he ever did before, I'll warrant.
"With that, an old fellow in the wagon, who was buried up under
an old hat, bawled out, 'Why do you frighten my horse?' 'Why
don't you turn out, then?' says the driver. So we gave him three
rousing cheers more. His horse was frightened again, and ran up
against a loaded wagon, and, I believe, almost capsized the old
creature--and so we left him."
"Well, boys," replied the teacher, "take your seats, and
tell you a story, and all about a sleigh ride, too. Yesterday
afternoon a very venerable old clergyman was on his way from
Boston to Salem, to pass the rest of the winter at the house of
his son. That he might be prepared for journeying in the
following spring he took with him his wagon, and for the winter
his sleigh, which he fastened behind the wagon.
"His sight and hearing were somewhat blunted by age, and he was
proceeding very slowly; for his horse was old and feeble, like
its owner. He was suddenly disturbed by loud hurrahs from behind,
and by a furious pelting of balls of snow and ice upon the top of his wagon.
"In his alarm he dropped his reins, and his horse began to run
away. In the midst of the old man's trouble, there rushed by him,
with loud shouts, a large party of boys, in a sleigh drawn by six
horses. 'Turn out! turn out, old fellow!' 'Give us the road!'
'What will you take for your pony?' 'What's the price of oats,
old man?' were the various cries that met his ears.
"'Pray, do not frighten my horse!' exclaimed the infirm driver.
'Turn out, then! turn out!' was the answer, which was followed by
repeated cracks and blows front the long whip of the 'grand
sleigh,' with showers of snowballs, and three tremendous hurrahs
from the boys.
"The terror of the old man and his horse was increased, and the
latter ran away with him, to the great danger of his life. He
contrived, however, to stop his horse just in season prevent his
being dashed against a loaded wagon. A short distance brought him
to the house of his son. That son, boys, is your instructor, and
that 'old fellow' was your teacher's father!"
When the boys perceived how rude and unkind their conduct
appeared from another point of view, they were very much ashamed
of their thoughtlessness, and most of them had the manliness to
apologize to their teacher for what they had done.
Populous, full of inhabitants.
Excursion, a pleasure trip.
Incidents, things that happens, events.
Warrant, to declare with assurance.
Venerable, deserving of honor and respect.
Repeat the boy's story of the sleigh ride.
The teacher's story.
Were the boys ill-natured or only thoughtless?
Is thoughtlessness any excuse for rudeness
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