Obrázky na stránke

my brothers and sisters, keeping what you will for yourself. When the Lord is pleased to call you home, I will come and meet you-Jesus is precious-I have that which is of the greatest value." He was then seized with a violent fit of coughing; after which he quietly and calmly fell asleep in Jesus, aged fourteen years and eight months.

Reader, are you in the bloom of youth, full of vigour, buoyant with hope and expectation of many years of pleasure yet before you? Remember, “It is appointed unto men once to die." That the young are sometimes called away. Are you ready? Without holiness you cannot enter heaven, Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation; hasten then to the Saviour, and never rest, till, "justified by faith you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." You have opportunities of gaining instruction. The Sabbath school, the house of God, are open-improve your time. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work nor device in the grave whither thou goest."


A KIND old man was one day walking through a village, and heard a loud noise of shouting and hallooing at a little distance. He stopped, and leaning on his stick, waited to see what was the matter. He soon saw a poor Italian boy coming towards him, running fast from a number of the village children, who were scampering at his heels, throwing stones, and pelting him with dirt, and mocking and laughing at him.

The old man walked as fast as he could up to the Italian boy, and promising that he would take care of him, called out to the village boys and girls to stop. The poor fellow stood close to the old man, and his little enemies ceased annoying him. "My poor child," said the old man, “I am very sorry to see you so ill used, because you happen to be a stranger and without friends here.

But these children shall not hurt you any more. Take this sixpence, and proceed on your journey."

"And you," he said to the little mob of children, "stay here, for I wish to talk to you.”

The Italian boy thanked the kind old man, over and over again, and putting the sixpence into his pocket, he walked away.

The children stood round the old man. They were rather afraid of his stick; but the old man did not lay this stick about their shoulders, as they might have expected, and as they deserved. He desired them to follow him to a log of wood that was lying on the ground by the road side; and he looked so good-natured, that the children willingly obeyed.

The old man took his seat on this log, and then he said to the children, "When teasing and pelting this poor boy, you think, I dare say, that he is not so good as yourselves; for if you thought he was good, you would not ill-treat him. You would not pelt a boy born in your own village, who made himself useful to his father and mother, and was a kind playmate-would you?"

"Oh! no," said all the children.

"Well, then, who this poor boy may be I do not know any more than yourselves; but we ought not to think ill of him till we know that he has done something bad. I will now tell you a story about a little Italian boy that I once knew; and this story may show you that some Italian boys, at least, are good, and ought to be well treated.".

The story which was told by the old man on this occasion was as follows

"Some time ago there was a war between France and Italy, and many poor men in both countries were taken to become soldiers; 'that is, were forced to quit their own homes, to go into foreign lands to kill other men, and to plunder the peaceable inhabitants, by whom they had never been harmed. Among the Italians thus forced away was a poor man, living near Naples, who was carried off, with many others, to serve as a soldier in the

Italian army. To be forced to serve as a soldier came particularly hard upon this poor man, for he had already been severely afflicted. The winter before, he had lost his wife, and there was nobody but himself to take care of his little boy, whom he was now about to leave, against his wish.

"He was very fond of this child, and they had never been separated from each other. Since the death of his wife the poor man had had no other companion than this little boy, with the exception of a favourite dog. They ate together, they worked together, they played together, they slept together; and on holidays, and during the warm evenings of the delicious summer months, the father used to amuse himself with blowing some tunes upon a pandean pipe. To these tunes his little boy, seated on the ground at his feet, or mounted on his knee, would listen earnestly, and would often beg his father to let him try to play upon the pipe also. In a short time, by listening and practising, the boy learned to blow some tunes in his turn very prettily.

"This pipe, when he went away, the poor man left with his boy.

"An order arrived to hasten his departure, so that he had only time to give Juan, for that was the boy's name, to the care of an old woman who lived near him. He kissed his child, folded him in his arms, and with tears in his eyes, told him to be a good boy, and that he hoped soon to come back and see him again.

"Good-bye, my faithful Fido,' said he, patting the dog, who stood close to him, 'take care of my lonely child whilst I am away.'

"The dog looked wistfully in his master's face, as if he understood the words that had been spoken to him, and licked his hands as though promising to attend to his orders.

"Juan cried, for he did not like to see his father going away.

"The poor man went. Week after week passed on. Every night, young Juan when he went to bed, said, ‘I


hope my dear father will be here to-morrow.' Every morning he got up early, and before he ate his piece of bread for breakfast, he ran a long way down the road to look for his father. But no father was there. Every morning he came back to the old woman's cottage very sad, and often crying.

"In all these rambles the dog Fido accompanied him, and would hang down his head, and walk slowly home after him with his tail between his legs, as if conscious of, and sharing in the sorrow of his little master, stopping when he stopped, and lying down on the ground, when Juan, still lingering with hope, sat down a few minutes to prolong the time.

"News came that the war was ended, and that the soldiers would soon all return to their homes. Some of the fellow-soldiers of Juan's father did return. Juan's thoughts all ran upon the pleasure of again seeing his father. He could hardly eat or drink; and when he went to bed, he dreamt of his father. But still no father came, and the boy began to be as sad as ever again.

"One day, a soldier, who was on his way home, stopped at the old woman's cottage, and asked for some water to drink. Juan saw that he had a dress on precisely like that which had been given to his father. He whispered to the old woman, Ask him if he knows where my father is, and when he is coming home?'

"I dare say he is dead,' said the man, 'for he had many wounds. He was so ill that he could not march on, and I left him at a cottage in a village near Milan. It is a long way from here.'

"When Juan heard this, he did not sit down and cry— for that would do his father no good. Tears, it is true, came into his eyes, but he wiped them away, and he made up his mind to set off and find his father.

“Why did he do so? I will tell you.

[ocr errors]

"He thought that strangers would not attend to his father so well or so kindly as he would. They do not care for him,' said he, 'so much as I do. I can wait upon him much better than they will.'

"The next morning, as soon as the sun rose, Juan was ready. He called his dog, and took the pipe which his father had given him.

"I will play the tunes which my father taught me upon this pipe as I go along,' said he ; 'and then I shall get a little bread from kind people, and so support myself till I find my father.'

"Thus did this brave child set off. Many weeks he walked all day long, and very often he slept in the open air upon a bank by the road side. Whilst he slept, his dog laid down at his side. Sometimes the people he met did not want music; and sometimes when they did, they only gave him a small piece of bread for his trouble.

"Some few gave him a little money. He took great care of this, so that, when no food was given to him, he might be able to buy some. Through all his hardships he was cheerful, and thanked the people, whether he got much or little, for what they gave him.

"At every meal, however scanty, he always shared such food as he had with his good dog Fido. But Juan and his dog led a hard life, and were often without a morsel to eat.

"One day, after he had walked many miles, and was very hungry, he came up to a cottage. Some boys and girls were romping with great fun outside the door. Juan at any other time would have liked to have joined them in their fun, but now his thoughts were bent on something else.

"He went up to them, and began to play a tune. The children were so pleased with the music, that they left off their game, and gathered round him. When he had finished his tune, he asked whether they would like him to play any more?

"Oh, yes, yes,' cried the children.

"Will you give me a seat, then, for I am very tired?' said Juan.

""Come into the house,' said the boys, ' and play there.' 66 6 'Oh, no,' cried the eldest of the girls, he must not, because of the sick soldier !'

« PredošláPokračovať »