In the village of Aurillac, Normandy, lived a widow named Vigier. When her husband died, he left her pretty well off; with five boys to support. Four were put out to learn trades, but little Jean, the youngest, through the kindness of the parish priest, was sent to a college in one of the neighboring villages.  But after a time, through no fault of her own, the widow Vigier became dependent upon the people for support; and they decided to send her to the asylum for the poor. Little Jean knew nothing of this. He always had a tender love for his mother, and showed it in many ways quite unusual for a boy of his age.  Knowing the love Jean had for his mother, the kind curate went himself to the college to tell Jean what was to be done with his mother.  With a silent grief, touching to behold in one so young, the little boy listened, yet without shedding a tear." Monsieur le Cure," said he, "I thank you for all your kindness; but my mother shall never enter the hospital, where she would die of grief. I shall leave this college. I will stay with my mother. I will support her," he added proudly.  Although the curate told him of the difficulties in his way, he replied firmly, "I will support my mother."  He left college and all his bright plans for the future, and returned to his own home. While little Jean showed his great love for his mother, his four brothers, although earning good wages, declared they could not help care for her. The villagers laughed that so small a boy should attempt so great a task.

But Jean did not mind this. He told his mother to be of good cheer; for while he lived, she should not want for a support. Jean was somewhat puzzled at first to know just what to do. He could find no plan that seemed to him would work. He had seen a little boy about his own age, when he was at college, selling hot cakes which he carried on a wooden tray strapped over his shoulders. Happy thought he could do the same. He got his tray ready, spread a clean, white cloth over it, and placed his cakes on it in tempting piles. It was hard work selling them. Some said they were stale, and others did not want them at all. Many times he became discouraged; it was hard work trudging over the country with so little success. He saved a few pence each day, and with this money, he bought a few toys. These sold well. After a time he sold more useful articles, and finally carried a pack instead of the tray.  People knew him to be honest and truthful; and on account of his great kindness to his aged mother, he gained a good trade in his own and neighboring villages.

To be sure, he was sometimes sorry he could not have kept on at school; but he tried to make up for that as much as he could by studying his books, as he went from house to house selling his goods; and he succeeded, because he remembered his duty to his mother first.




C. E. H.