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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 Mary Russell Mitford

"Beg, Frisk, beg," said little Harry, as he sat on an inverted

basket, at his grandmother's door, eating, with great

satisfaction, a porringer of bread and milk. His little sister

Annie sat on the ground opposite to him, now twisting her flowers

into garlands, and now throwing them away.

"Beg, Frisk, beg!" repeated Harry, holding a bit of bread just

out of the dog s reach; and the obedient Frisk squatted himself

on his hind legs, and held up his fore paws, waiting for master

Harry to give him the tempting morsel.

The little boy and the little dog were great friends. Frisk loved

him dearly, much better than he did any one else, perhaps,

because he remembered that Harry was his earliest and firmest

friend during a time of great trouble.

Poor Frisk had come as a stray dog to Milton, the place where

Harry lived. If he could have told his own story, it would

probably have been a very pitiful one, of kicks and cuffs, of

hunger and foul weather.

Certain it is, he made his appearance at the very door where

Harry was now sitting, in miserable plight, wet, dirty, and half

starved; and there he met Harry, who took a fancy to him, and

Harry's grandmother, who drove him off with a broom.

Harry, at length, obtained permission for the little dog to

remain as a sort of outdoor pensioner, and fed him with stray

bones and cold potatoes, and such things as he could get for him.

He also provided him with a little basket to sleep in, the very

same which, turned up, afterward served Harry for a seat.

After a while, having proved his good qualities by barking away a

set of pilferers, who were making an attack on the great pear

tree, he was admitted into the house, and became one of its most

vigilant and valued inmates. He could fetch or carry either by

land or water; would pick up a thimble or a ball of cotton, if

little Annie should happen to drop them; or take Harry's dinner

to school for him with perfect honesty.

"Beg, Frisk, beg!" said Harry, and gave him, after long waiting,

the expected morsel. Frisk was satisfied, but Harry was not. The

little boy, though a good-humored fellow in the main, had turns

of naughtiness, which were apt to last him all day, and this

promised to prove one of his worst. It was a holidays, and in the

afternoon his cousins, Jane and William, were to come and see him

and Annie; and the pears were to be gathered, and the children

were to have a treat.

Harry, in his impatience, thought the morning would never be

over. He played such pranks--buffeting Frisk, cutting the curls

off of Annie's doll, and finally breaking his grandmother's

spectacles--that before his visitors arrived, indeed, almost

immediately after dinner, he contrived to be sent to bed in disgrace.

Poor Harry! there he lay, rolling and kicking, while Jane, and

William, and Annie were busy gathering the fine, mellow pears.

William was up in the tree, gathering and shaking. Annie and Jane

were catching them in their aprons, or picking them up from the

ground, now piling them in baskets, and now eating the nicest and

ripest, while Frisk was barking gayly among them, as if he were

catching pears too!

Poor Harry! He could hear all this glee and merriment through the

open window, as he lay in bed. The storm of passion having

subsided, there he lay weeping and disconsolate, a grievous sob

bursting forth every now and then, as he heard the loud peals of

childish laughter, and as he thought how he should have laughed,

and how happy he should have been, had he not forfeited all his

pleasure by his own bad conduct.

He wondered if Annie would not be so good-natured as to bring him

a pear. All on a sudden, he heard a little foot on the stair,

pitapat, and he thought she was coming. Pitapat came the foot,

nearer and nearer, and at last a small head peeped, half afraid,

through the half-open door.

But it was not Annie's head; it was Frisk's--poor Frisk, whom

Harry had been teasing all the morning, and who came into the

room wagging his tail, with a great pear in his mouth; and,

jumping upon the bed, he laid it in the little boy's hand.

Is not Frisk a fine, grateful fellow? and does he not deserve a

share of Harry's breakfast, whether he begs for it or not? And

little Harry will remember from the events of this day that

kindness, even though shown to a dog, will always be rewarded;

and that ill nature and bad temper are connected with nothing but

pain and disgrace.


Inverted, turned upside down.

Porringer, a small metallic dish.

Remembered, had not forgotten.

Plight, condition.

Pensioner, one who is supported by others.

Pilferers, those who steal little things.

Vigilant, watchful.

Inmates, those living in the same house.

Holiday, a day of amusement.

Buffeting, striking with the hand.

Subsided, become quiet.

Forfeited, lost.

Connected, united, have a close relation.


What two lessons may be learned from this story?

Is it a good rule to return kindness for unkindness?

Do you think that Harry's dog brought him the pear because he was really grateful?



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