TOM'S father was a rich man, and Tom lived in a large house in the country. He had a pony and many other pets, and wore fine clothes. Tom was very proud of all the fine things his father's money bought. He began to think that being rich was better than being good.  He grew very rude, and was cross to the servants.  Once he kicked Towser; but the dog growled, and Tom was afraid to kick again.

One day when Tom was playing in the yard, he saw a boy standing by the gate. He was ragged and dirty, his hat was torn, and his feet were bare.

But he had a pleasant face. In one hand he carried a pail half full of blackberries.

"Go away from here!" said Tom, running to the gate. "We are rich, and we don't want ragged boys around."

"Please give me a drink," said the boy. "If you are so rich, you can spare a dipper of water."


"We can't spare you anything," said Tom. "If you don't go away, I will set the dog on you." The boy laughed and walked away, swinging the tin pail in his hand.

"I think I will get some blackberries, too," said Tom to himself. He went out of a gate into a lane leading to a meadow where there were plenty of berries.  Tom saw some fine large ones growing just over a ditch. He thought he could leap over it very easily.  He gave a run and a very big jump. The ditch was wider than he thought, and instead of going over it, he came down in the middle of it. The mud was very thick and soft, and Tom sank down to his waist. He was frightened, and screamed for help until he was tired.  He began to think he would have to spend the night in the ditch, when he heard steps on the gaps, and looking up, he saw the ragged boy he had driven from the gate.

"Please help me out," said Tom, crying, "and I will give you a dollar."

"I don't want the dollar," said the boy, laying down flat on the grass. He held out both hands to Tom, and drew him out of the ditch.  Tom was covered with mud, his hat was gone, and one shoe was lost in the ditch. He looked very miserable.

"Who is dirty, now?" asked the boy.

"I am," said poor Tom; "but I thank you very much for helping me out of the mire.  And I am sorry I sent you away from the gate."

"The next time I come, perhaps you will treat me better," said the boy. "I am not rich, but I am stronger than you are, and I think I have better manners."

"I think so too," said Tom.

The next day, when Tom saw the boy going by the gate, he called him in, showed him his rabbits, doves, and little ducks, and gave him a ride on his pony.

"You have good manners now," said the boy.

"Yes," said Tom, "I found them in the ditch."




Our Little Ones.