NED MASON was a cross boy, and cross boys are always getting into trouble. He snarled when his mother asked him to do anything for her. He scolded when he had to get up in the morning, when he had to go to school, when he had to work, when he had to go to bed at night; and so most of the words that fell from his lips were cross words.

'T was even thought that he scolded in his sleep, for he had the same cross look upon his face when he woke in the morning as when he went to bed.

But these angry words of his were not the worst of his evil doings. He had a way of tormenting innocent creatures, to make them as unhappy as he was himself. He would put pieces of broken glass where the cattle would step on them and cut their feet. He would tie tin pails to the dog's tail, and throw pepper into the cat's eyes.

All these cruel things he delighted to do, and seemed glad when he saw the poor animals writhing with the torture that he had inflicted.

One day, when he was in one of his very cross moods, he climbed up and looked over into the yard where the fowls were drinking, and said, I'll fix you."

Down he clambered and got a stick, and creeping up again slyly, he gave the harmless little creatures a terrible blow across their backs.

The hen and chickens fell off the tub, and ran limping away, crying out with pain. But the cock had no idea of taking the attack so meekly. He flew up into Ned's face, and pecking at him, struck a blow with his sharp beak into his left eye, which destroyed the sight of it entirely, and disfigured him for life.

In one sense this was a sad misfortune, but in another it was one of the best things that ever happened to cruel Ned. For while it destroyed one of his outer eyes, it opened the inner vision, so that he was able, forever afterward, to see the rights of others more clearly; and from a surly, passionate boy, he grew to have self-control, and to treat others more as he wished to be treated himself.