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´╗┐Title: Pretty Tales for the Nursery
Author: Thompson, Isabel
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Pretty Tales for the Nursery" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

file was made using scans of public domain works in the
International Children's Digital Library.)

[Illustration: FANNY'S BIRTHDAY]









Here is a nice new book! It is mine. Papa has just given it to me, for
this is my birth-day, and I am five years old. Oh, how pretty it is!
Here are boys and girls at play, like Willie and me; and here is nurse,
with baby on her knee.

They will call me a dunce if I do not learn to read well, so I will try
my very best; for what is the use of a nice book like this, if I cannot
read it? It is not of a bit more use than my wax doll would be to puss.

What, Miss Puss, you hear your own name, do you? and think we are going
to have a game of play. On no, puss, no such thing. It will not do for
me to mind only play, for mamma says that, if I live, I shall be a woman
in time, and there are many things that I must learn before then.

Look, puss, here is my new book. Ah, I see you do not care for books.
You like to lie on the warm rug before the fire, and there you sleep
away half your time. That may do very well for a puss, but it will not
do for me. If I am as idle as you, I shall grow up a dunce, and what
would papa say then? No, no, pussy, you may do as you like, but for my
part I am not going to be a dunce.


Sometimes I sit upon mamma's knee, and she tells me the story about a
young king, who lived many years ago, and who loved the Bible better
than any other book in the world, and how God took him to wear a crown
of gold in heaven. Or else she talks to me about Jesus, who came down
from his glory above to die for us upon the cross. I love to hear about
him when he was a baby, and his mother laid him in a manger, for there
was no room for him in the inn. Oh! how glad I shall be when I can read
these things in books.

Mamma says that when I can read, I shall have books that will teach me
about many things which are to be seen in places a long way off, far,
far over the sea. About lions and tigers, that live in the woods, and
about black boys and girls, like the poor man who came to beg at the
door. Willie and I ran away from him, but nurse called us back, and
said he would not hurt us; and mamma told us to pity him and be kind to
him, if we saw him again. I should like to see the little black boys and
girls. Some of them go to school, I am told, but others are never taught
anything that is good: I am very sorry for them.

Let me look again at my new book. Papa was very kind to buy it for me,
and I will take care of it, that not a leaf may be torn. But I shall
lend it to Willie if he asks me, for mamma says we must be kind to each
other. I will tell him to take care of it when I lend it to him. Now I
will go and show it to nurse, and ask her to put on it a white paper
cover to keep it clean. Good bye, pussy, I will leave you to finish your
nap, and when I come back again I will have some play with you.


One day little James stood upon a chair, and looked out at the window,
and he saw a dog lying on a bank on the other side of the road. Then a
bad boy came that way and hit it with a stick. James could see the poor
dog shiver with cold as he lay on the wet bank. James felt very sorry
for him, and he said, "Why does not the dog go home, and lie down by the
fire, and get warm?"

[Illustration: THE DOG THAT HAD NO HOME]

Then James's mother said, "I do not think the poor dog has any home to
go to. I have seen him out there before; and one day I saw Jane Rose
keep a bad boy from hurting the dog."


Now James was very sorry that this poor dog should have no home. He
talked a great deal about him, and when it began to grow dark, he got
upon the chair again to see if he was still lying there.

The dog was there still, but he was not lying down this time. He stood
upon the bank, and looked this way and that way, as if he did not know
where to go. He looked more cold and wet than before, for the rain was
coming down fast. Then James said to his mother, "May I tell Jane to let
that poor dog come in? See how cold and hungry he looks. I should like
to give him my bread and butter, for I have had some dinner, but the
poor dog has not had a bit."

His mother said, "We cannot have him in the house, but you may ask Jane
to let him come into the yard, and there is some straw in one corner of
the shed where he may lie and get dry."

James was very glad to hear this, and he ran in a great hurry to tell
Jane. So Jane went to the gate to call the dog, and James went back to
the window to see him come in. But the dog would not come at first, and
James's mother said that he looked afraid of being beat. At last he came
very slowly across the road, and when he heard Jane call him, "Poor
fellow! poor fellow!" he ran into the yard.

James's mother told Jane to give the dog some water to drink, and
something to eat. So James stood by and saw him fed, and then the dog
lay down on the straw, and curled himself round. James gave him one
little pat on the head, and the dog wagged his tail, which was the only
way he had to say, Thank you. Then James and Jane came away from the
shed, and the dog went to sleep.

The last thing before James went to bed, he begged of Jane to go and see
if the dog was still lying in the shed. Yes, he was snug asleep in the
straw. James's mother said she would give him leave to stay there all
night if he liked.

The next day, as soon as James awoke, he began to talk about the dog to
Jane, who came to dress him. Jane said that he was not gone away, and
the rain was over, and he was come out of the shed. So James made haste
down stairs, and he went into the yard to see how he was after his good
night's rest.

The dog was lying in the sun, and when he saw James he jumped up and
ran to him; for a dog always knows those who are kind to him, and treat
him well. If James had not been kind to this dog the night before, he
would not have been so glad to see him come into the yard.

Then James patted him, and said, "Doggy, what is your name?" But the dog
only looked in James's face. He was a very pretty dog, but he was very
thin, like a dog that has no home. And James said, "Oh, I wish I might
keep you for my own! I would feed you, and take care of you, and you
should never lie out in the rain and the cold any more."

Then James's father came out of the house, and he said, "If I were to
let you keep this dog, are you sure that you would be always kind to
him, and use him well?" And James said, "Yes, father, indeed I would,"
Then his father said, "We must try to find out his proper master, if he
has one, and send him to his own home; but if he has not a proper
master, nor a home, he shall be your dog, my boy, and we will have a
kennel made for him; and as he has been such a roving dog, Rover shall
be his name."

So James's father asked a great many people about the dog, to try to
find out his master and his home. But no one knew anything about him,
and no one could tell where he came from. And some kind people said they
were glad that he had found a good home, and he was a wise dog not to go
away from it.

So James kept him for his own, and there was a kennel made for him, and
it was set up in a corner of the yard. And he was called by the name of
Rover, as he had been such a roving dog all the time that he had no


One warm summer day, when little Annie Grove was coming home from
school, some of her school-fellows said, "Let us go into the fields and
get some flowers to take home." So they got over the stile into the
field by the side of the road. Annie could not get over the stile at
first, for it was a high one; but her brother John and Jane Gray told
her to put her foot upon the step, and then they lifted her over into
the field. Her brother was older than the rest, so he was tall and
strong. It is right that the older boys and girls should be kind to the
little ones, but they should not help them to do wrong; and John knew
that they were both doing wrong when he helped to lift Annie over into
the field.


They all ran about the fields a long time, for it was a fine sun-shiny
day. When they grew hot and tired, they sat down under some trees beside
a narrow brook. After a while, Jane Gray said, "How nice it would be to
wade over the brook this warm day!" And one said, "I will do it," and
some one else said, "I will do it," and so they all jumped up and got
ready to wade over the brook. Little Annie Grove jumped up too, and took
off her shoes and her little white socks, and she held up her frock
round her, and put the shoes and socks into her frock to keep them safe.
Then she put her little bare feet into the water to wade across the
brook. She would not have done it if any grown-up person had been by,
for she knew that it was wrong.

There were some sharp stones lying at the bottom of the brook, and when
Annie was about half-way over, she trod upon one of them, and hurt her
foot. Poor Annie stood still, and began to cry, for she was afraid to go
on, and afraid to turn back, and the sharp stone had hurt her foot very
much. She held up her frock with one hand, and a school-fellow who was
close by took pity on her, and led her by the other hand back again to
the grassy bank under the trees.

Then Jane Gray wiped Annie's foot dry with some of the long grass, and
then they began to put on her socks and shoes. But only one shoe could
be found. They looked among the grass, and they looked on the bank, but
there was only one shoe to be seen. She had let the other slip away when
she hurt her foot, and all the time since it had been going down the
brook; and the brook was deeper and wider at the other end of the field,
so there was little hope that poor Annie's shoe would ever be seen

What Annie was to do not even Jane Gray could tell. How was she to walk
home with only one shoe? It was now very late, and there was not much
time to talk about it, for every one of the girls ought to have been at
home at least an hour before. So she had to go along with them as well
as she could, the little white sock coming to the ground at every other
step, so that people turned to look after her, and smiled, as she
walked down the street. Poor Annie will not soon forget that day of
sorrow and shame.

Her mother was angry when she got home, for though Annie was a little
girl, she was quite old enough to have known better; and if other people
do wrong that is no good reason why we should do the same.


One night little Albert sat at play with his box of bricks till bedtime.
He sat at the foot of his mamma's work-table, and he built a house with
walls round it, and steps up to the door, and a well in the middle of
the yard. His mamma said it was very nicely done. Then Albert began to
take the house to pieces, and put away the bricks; and before he had put
all the bricks into the box, the clock struck eight.

[Illustration: LITTLE BOY'S BEDTIME]

When the clock struck, Susan came to the door and said, "Come, master
Albert, it is time to go to bed." His mamma said, "Please to come again
by and by, for the little boy is not quite ready. He has not said his
prayer. He will be ready soon." But Albert cried out, "Go away, Susan. I
do not want to go to bed. I want to sit up a little longer."

_Mamma._ My dear, it is bedtime, and you must go.

_Albert._ It is not your bedtime, mamma. I do not think any one goes to
sleep so soon but baby and me.

_Mamma._ Oh yes, I can tell you of many more. The little birds' bedtime
comes before yours. It comes when the sun goes down, so they went to
sleep long ago.

_Albert._ Where do the birds sleep, mamma?

_Mamma._ Some are hid in the long grass in the fields, and some are
among the leaves on the tall trees. There they are, if you could see
them now, each with its little head under its wing.

_Albert._ I dare say they are tired with flying about all day.

_Mamma._ Yes, they were tired, and glad to go to rest. Then there are
the doves in the dove-cot. If you were to go out and listen now, you
would not hear their soft coo, for they are all asleep. And the white
hen is asleep, with her seven little chicks safe under her wings.

_Albert._ But Keeper is not asleep. I heard him bark just now.

_Mamma._ No, for it is Keeper's duty to keep watch, and take care of the

_Albert._ Mamma, do you think that poor old woman and little girl are
asleep, whom papa met to-day, and who begged for a bit of bread?

_Mamma._ I cannot tell, my dear boy. Only think, if they are now out in
the dark, with cold and tired feet, what thanks they would give to any
one for a soft warm bed like yours!

_Albert._ Must I thank Susan for my nice warm bed?


_Mamma._ Susan is very kind to you, my love, and you must thank her for
all she does for you, and speak kindly to her in return. But it is God
who gives you a home, and food to eat, and a bed to rest in. You must
thank God for all the good things you have.

_Albert._ I do thank him, mamma, when I say my little verse. May I say
it now?

_Mamma._ Yes, let me hear it before you kneel down to say your prayer.

   _Albert._ I thank God for the soft warm bed
   On which I lay my little head;
   I thank him for the sweet repose
   When my weary eyelids close;
   But more then all I praise his name
   Who once for me a child became,
   And left his glory in the sky,
   For me to suffer and to die.

_Mamma._ Now come and kneel down by me to say your prayer.

Then little Albert knelt down, and when he had ended his prayer, his
mamma took him upon her knee for some more talk, as Susan did not come.
She told him that he was a sinful child, and had done many bad things.
But she also told him that God was full of love, and had sent his only
Son Jesus Christ into the world to die for our sins. And God will hear
our prayers for the sake of his dear Son; and if we ask him, he will
pardon our sins, and give us his Holy Spirit to make us holy.

When their talk was nearly over, Susan came again, and Albert kissed his
mamma, and jumped off her knee, and bade her good night. And as he went
up-stairs he said,

   "I thank God for the soft warm bed
   On which I lay my little head;
   I thank him for the sweet repose
   When my weary eyelids close."


Lucy and Kate had a kind aunt; and one very cold day, when the snow was
on the ground, she sent them a New Year's Gift. It was a little house
for dolls to live in, and there were four rooms in it, and tables and
chairs. Two of the rooms were below, and two of them were above. In each
of the two rooms that were above, there was a little wooden frame for a
bed to lie on, but there was no bed on it, and no pillow, and there were
no sheets, nor anything else of the kind. Their aunt sent word that Lucy
and Kate must make the things that were wanted, and it would help them
to learn to sew.


Their aunt also sent two little wax dolls to be in the house. One of the
dolls had on a pink silk frock, and the other had on a blue frock.

So their mother gave them some linen to make the sheets, and to make a
case for each of the beds, and for the pillows. Lucy and Kate said to
each other, "What shall we put into the beds, to make them soft, like
the bed in baby's cot?" And Lucy said, "Nurse has got some bran in a
bag; I will ask her to give us some to put into the beds." Then Kate
said that bran would do very well.

They went to ask nurse, and she was very kind, and she said, "I think it
would be better to stuff the beds with wool." The little girls said,
"Yes, give us some bran, if you please, nurse. We have not any wool, and
we do not want to wait till we can get some, for we do not like our
dolls to sit up all night."

For a long time after this, Lucy and Kate played with their dolls, and
the pretty house, and every night they took off the silk frocks, and put
on the white caps and the night-gowns, and laid each doll in its own
little bed. And then they shut the door of the house. But one night they
were in a hurry, for their aunt was come to see them, and they did not
shut the door quite fast.

The next day, when play-time came, the little girls went into the room
where all their toys were kept. Kate went up to the corner where the
dolls' house stood, for they had a place for everything, and tried to
keep everything in its place. But the door of the house stood open, and
as soon as Kate looked in, she called for Lucy in great haste. "O Lucy!
come, quick! quick! There has been a thief in our dolls' house, and here
are our poor dolls lying on the floor!"

Lucy ran to look, and she saw the two dolls, each lying on the floor in
its own room, and the rooms in a litter with bits of bran. Lucy and Kate
lifted up the dolls with great care, but they were not hurt, for the
beds were not far from the floor, and so they had not had a very bad
fall. It was plain that some thief had been in the house, for the chairs
and tables were not in their right places, and nearly all the bran that
had been in the beds was gone away. As for the bed-rooms, they were in
such a litter that they were not fit to be seen. Then Lucy and Kate
said, "Who could the thief have been? And how did he get in?"

Now nurse had begun to dress the baby in the nest room, but when she
heard Lucy and Kate call to each other, she laid the baby in his cot,
and came to see what was the matter. The little girls each laid hold of
her hand, and cried out, "O nurse! there has been a thief in our dolls'
house!" So nurse looked in, and when she saw the rooms in a litter, and
the bran lying about on the floor, she began to laugh. And she said,
"Yes, there has been a thief. I can see that some poor little hungry
mouse has been in your house, and has ate up the bran that was in the

The little girls then began to laugh too, and Lucy said, "How could the
mouse get in?" And nurse told them that the door could not have been
shut close the night before, and so the mouse pushed it quite open, and
went in.

Then Lucy and Kate ran to tell their mother, and she came to look at
the dolls' house, and to see the litter that the thief had made with the
bran upon the floor. So she gave them some more linen to make new cases
for the beds, and they set to work again that same day. But they took
care this time to stuff the beds and the pillows with nice soft wool,
that the hungry mouse might not eat them up when next he wanted a


Harry was a little boy who lived in a town, and went to school. He went
with some boys who were older than he was, and they took care of him in
the street. Little boys should not run about the street alone, or they
may be hurt.

Harry was a good boy at school. He tried to learn; and one day he got to
the top of his class. This was good news to carry home to his mamma, and
it made Harry feel proud, which was very wrong. Pride is a sin; and when
we give way to sin, it is sure to end in sorrow.

Harry said to his mamma, "I like you to praise me, mamma, and to call me
a good boy. I mean to be always good. I will keep at the top of my class
as long as I can, and I will never do any thing wrong."

His mamma said, "You must not say that you will never do wrong, but you
must ask God to help you to be good, for the sake of Jesus Christ his
Son; for that is the way to be kept from sin."

But Harry did not know that he had a sinful heart.


Now his mamma had told him that when he came from school, he must not
stop to play by the way. The very day after he had this talk with her
about being good, as he was coming home, with his book-bag on his arm,
some of the boys began to play in the street. And Harry put down his
book-bag, to play with them, and they played so long that at last it
grew dusk, and then Harry set off home as fast as he could run. But he
forgot that he had left his book-bag lying in the street.

When he got to the door, he rang the bell, and Susan, the maid, let him
in. So Susan said, "Why, master Harry, where have you been till now?"
But Harry looked down, and rubbed his shoes very hard upon the mat, as
if he did not hear her.

His mamma had put away her work, and the tea-things were ready, and the
urn was on the table, and toast, and bread and butter, and cake. It was
very late indeed. His mamma said, "How is it you are so late, my dear? I
hope you did not stop to play in the street."

Then Harry told a lie; for he said that he had not stopped to play.

His mamma saw that he did not speak the truth, for his face was very
red, and he looked like a boy that was telling a lie. I cannot tell you
how sad she felt to think that her little Harry should be such a wicked

But before she had time to say a word, all at once Harry missed his
book-bag off his arm, and he knew that he had left it lying in the
street. He could no longer hide his fault from his mamma, so he began
to cry, and said, "May I go back and look for my book-bag? I have left
it on a step at some one's door."

Then his mamma asked, "How came you to put your book-bag on the step?"
And Harry cried more than before, and told her that he had stayed to
play with the other boys.

His mamma said, "You have been a very wicked boy, and there are two
things that I must punish you for. I must punish you for not coming home
as you were bid, and then for trying to hide your fault by telling a

So she called Susan, and asked her to go up the street with Harry to
look for his book-bag. By this time it was nearly dark, and Harry took
hold of Susan's hand, and went crying along the street. One or two
people who passed him said, "I wonder what is the matter with that
little boy." When they came to the corner of the street where he had
stayed to play, he said, "This is the place, and I laid my book-bag on
that step." Then Susan looked, and Harry looked; but the book-bag was
not there. Susan said that some one must have stolen it.

Harry was afraid that his mamma would be very angry when she knew that
his bag and all his school-books were quite gone. But no, that which
gave her most pain and grief was to know that her little boy had not
spoken the truth. It is a sad thing to tell a lie. God has said that all
liars shall have their part in the lake of fire that burns for ever and

So Harry's mamma had to punish him, very soon after he had told her that
he would be always good. He had now found out that he had a sinful
heart. You also are a sinner, young reader. You often do what is wrong.
Do not forget this story about Harry; and if ever you feel proud when
you have tried to do well, go and say this little prayer to your Father
who is in heaven: "O Lord, I am a poor sinful child. I cannot do right
of myself. Pardon my sins, and give me a meek and humble heart, for the
sake of Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen."


Mary lived with her mother in a little house. She often sat by the door
on a long seat, and then would run about the field on the other side of
the road. There was a narrow path in the field, and people used to walk
along it when they came that way from the town. Down at the corner of
the field, near the stile, there were some tall trees, and under the
trees there was a pond. The water in the pond was not very deep, but it
was deep enough to drown a little girl like Mary, so her mother told her
she must never play near the pond, for fear she should slip in.


While Mary was at play, her mother was at work in the house. For her
mother was poor, and had to work to find them food, and things to wear
to keep them warm. So she could not spare time to look after her little
girl when she was at play.

Mary's mother came home from market one day, and in her basket she had a
little tin can, with a handle, and she gave it to Mary for her own. So
she always drank her milk and her tea out of this can. Now Mary had seen
her mother go down to the pond to fetch a pail of water, and it came
into her head that she would fetch the water in her own little can, to
fill the kettle for tea. So when her mother was busy at work, she got on
a chair, and took her can off the shelf, and away she ran down to the
pond, not saying a word.

Mary went close to the pond with her little can in her hand, to stoop
down and dip it into the water. But the can fell into the water. The
grass at the edge of the pond was muddy and wet, and so, just as she was
going to stoop down, Mary's foot went slip--slip, and she fell into the
water. Poor Mary! she gave one loud scream, and that was all that she
could do.


Now not far from the spot where Mary fell into the pond, a kind girl
named Jane, who lived close by, was reading a book as she sat under a
tree. She heard a splash in the water, and saw Mary fall into the pond.
She soon threw down her book on the grass, and ran to help the poor
little girl out of the water. She took hold of Mary's frock, and pulled
her out of the pond. Then she took her up in her arms, and ran with her
along the narrow path to the house, for she well knew that the house by
the side of the field was little Mary's home.

Mary's mother met them at the door, and when she saw her little girl,
she began to cry. But kind Jane said, "Do not cry. Your little girl is
not hurt." So they took off Mary's wet frock, and put on her a nice dry
nightgown, and laid her in bed. And her mother made her some warm tea,
and then she went to sleep. When she woke up again, she was quite well.

Jane went back to the field to pick up her book, but Mary's little can
was nowhere to be seen. It was never heard of again; and Mary had to
drink her milk and her tea out of a tea cup, for the little tin can was
quite gone. I do not think she went near the pond again. It was a lesson
to her ever after, to mind and do as her mother told her.


_Ellen._ Oh! mamma, I am so sorry! Look at my poor doll. I let baby play
with it, and she has thrown it upon the floor, and broken its nose.

[Illustration: MAMMA'S DOLL]

_Mamma._ Poor doll! You do look a sad figure, indeed.

_Ellen._ I did not like to be unkind to baby, you know, mamma, and so I
gave it to her for a little while, when she held out her hands to take
it. But I did not think she would throw it upon the floor.

_Mamma._ Do not cry, my dear. Come and sit upon my knee, and I will tell
you a story. I hope you were not very angry with baby. She is too young
to know that a doll is not to be thrown upon the floor.

_Ellen._ No, mamma, I was not angry. Baby did not know any better. But I
cannot help crying for my pretty doll.

_Mamma._ Let me wipe away that tear. Now hear my story. I am going to
tell you about my doll, when I was a little girl.

_Ellen._ Oh! mamma, had you a doll, once? And was it as large as mine?
Was it a wax doll, mamma?

_Mamma._ It was a large wax doll much larger than yours; and it had blue
eyes and dark brown hair. When I was a little older than you are, I went
with my mamma and my aunt to spend some weeks in a fine old city; and
one day while we were there, my mamma took me into a shop, and bought
this doll for me. She said I must dress it myself, and my aunt showed me
the proper way to make its frocks. With this help I was able to dress it
very nicely. And my mamma said to me, "This is the last doll that I
intend to buy for you; for, if you take care of it, it will not spoil
like your other dolls."

_Ellen._ And did you take care of it, mamma?

_Mamma._ Yes, for my mamma taught me to be neat, and to keep everything
in order, as I try to teach you. So at the end of a year, my doll looked
just as good as new. I used to play with it very often, and I called it
by the name of Jessie. I had a little sister, as you have, whom I loved
very much, and when she was a baby I used to nurse her, and kiss her
little soft cheeks. But when she was two or three years old, she was
taken very ill, and could no longer play about the nursery. She grew
pale and thin, and used to lie all day in the nurse's arms, or in her
little cot. She was too ill to play with any of the toys that she had
been fond of before. But one day I took my doll to the side of her
little cot, where she was lying, and then she gave a very faint smile;
so I laid it by her side, and that seemed to please her. After that,
when she was lying in her cot, the doll always lay there too, for it was
the only thing which seemed to please her, all the time that she was


One day, when I wanted to go into her room as I had been used to do,
they told me she was dead. I saw her when she was laid in her little
coffin. She was pale, and so very cold. There were some flowers lying on
her pillow, and a rose-bud in each little hand. The soul of the dear
baby was gone to God; and her body was laid in a grave, under the yew
tree in the churchyard.

_Ellen._ Oh! dear mamma, how sad you must have felt! What should I do if
our dear baby were to die?

_Mamma._ I did indeed feel sad, and after that time I could never bear
to play with my pretty doll, for the sight of it seemed to bring back my
grief again. So my mamma put it by with great care, and all the frocks
and other things that I had made. But only think, Ellen, what pain I
should have felt, if I had been unkind to my little sister when she
wished to have my doll. Should not all little girls try to be kind to
each other?

_Ellen._ I will try, mamma; and I am glad that I was not cross with
baby when she threw my doll upon the floor.

_Mamma._ I have not yet done with the story about my doll. It was put by
safe in a drawer, and lay there a great many years, and when I was grown
up, I used to look at it now and then. My mamma never gave it away. Can
you guess where it is now? And should you not like to see my pretty

_Ellen._ Yes, mamma, I should like to see her, indeed.

_Mamma._ Then after dinner we will take a walk, and pay a visit to
grandmamma, and we will ask her to show us the doll that came from the
fine old city so many long years ago.

_Ellen._ Thank you, mamma, that will be very nice. And may I play with
Jessie a little while, and walk with her round grandmamma's garden?

_Mamma._ You may, my love. And since baby, who did not know any better,
has broken your doll's face, it shall be put among her toys for her to
play with. And we will ask grandmamma to let Jessie come home with us.
You have been a kind little girl; and so, as I like to see you happy,
you shall have her for your own.


Have you ever seen a book of Short Texts in Short Words? It is a book
for a little child, and there is in it a very short and easy text for
every day in the year. A text means some words taken from the Bible,
which is God's own book, that he has given to teach us the way to
heaven. The Bible tells us about our sins, and about the Lord Jesus
Christ, who came to seek and to save us. And it also tells us how we may
become holy, by the help of the Holy Spirit.

But I was going to tell you about the book of texts. Little Arthur had
one of these books, and he used to learn the text for every day, and
repeat it to his mamma before he began school. Arthur did not go to
school to any one but his mamma. She taught him his lesson each day, and
heard him say it.

One day, the text was very short indeed. It was only four words. It was,
"Thou GOD seest me." When Arthur had said it to his mamma, she began to
talk to him; and Arthur stood quietly at the work-table, and looked in
her face.


She said to him, "My little boy, when you are left in the room alone,
you may think that no one can see you; but God can see you at all times.
When you think you are quite alone, God is near you. When you wake up in
the dark night, God is with you. He loves you, and is your best Friend.
You have other friends who are good and kind, but God is better to you
than all. Then try to please him by doing what is right. When you are
alone, and a bad wish comes into your heart, think of this text, 'Thou
GOD seest me,' and put away the bad wish from your heart."

Soon after this, Arthur's mamma told him that he might put on his cap
and gloves, and go with her to call at the house of a friend who was
ill. So they had a nice walk; and when they got to the house, Arthur was
shown into a large room, where he was told to sit down and wait, while
his mamma went up-stairs to see her friend. The little boy was left
alone in the room; and at first he sat quite still, and only looked at
the pretty things that were lying on the table just before him. But
after a while, he got up from the stool, and began to walk softly about
the room. There were many pretty things that he liked to look at. There
were some birds under a large glass, and Arthur had never in all his
life seen any birds so gay and bright in colour. But he saw they were
not alive, for not one of them moved when he put his finger upon the
glass. He was very sorry to think that the birds were not alive.

But the thing that Arthur liked best of all, better even than the
birds, was a very small china dog which he found on a low table in one
corner of the room. It was a white dog, with a curly tail and long ears;
and it sat up on its hind legs, just as their live dog Carlo did at
home. Arthur took it up and looked at it again and again, and he said in
his own mind, "Oh, how I wish I might keep this little dog for my own!"

Now this was a bad wish that came into his mind. But he did not think of
his text, as his mamma had told him, and he did not try to put it away.
No; he looked all round the room and out at the window, and then he came
back to the table in the corner; and he felt quite sure that no one
could see him, and so he took up the china dog and put it into the
little pocket at the side of his coat.

Arthur then went and sat down again upon the stool. He did not feel
happy, though the little china dog was safe in his pocket and no one
knew. He felt afraid--afraid to hear his mamma's footsteps coming down
the stairs, and yet afraid to stay in the room alone. How was this, when
he had felt so happy, and not in the least afraid, only a little time

A thief is always afraid of being found out, and Arthur was now a thief.
He could not be happy, for God has put something in our hearts which
will not let us be happy when we have given way to sin. So there Arthur
sat, quite still; and the clock on the mantel-piece, which he had not
heard before, went tick--tick; and Arthur grew more and more afraid, but
still his mamma did not come.

He put his hand into his pocket to feel if the little china dog was
there quite safe. Yes, it was there, but Arthur did not want to take it
out and look at it. He did not seem to care about it now. All at once,
while his hand was in his pocket, the short text came into his mind. He
said it out, but with a very low voice, "Thou GOD seest me." Then he
began to think about God, who could see him at all times, even when he
was quite alone; and he felt sorry for the wicked thing that he had
done. His hand was still in his pocket, when he heard his mamma's voice
as she came down-stairs; but he ran across the room, and took the little
dog out of his pocket, and put it back upon the table before she came
in. Oh, how glad was Arthur when this was done! His heart felt light,
and all his fear went away.


He told his mamma about the little china dog as they went home, and how
the short text came into his mind. His mamma shed tears of joy to think
that God had caused her little boy to be sorry for his sin, and to put
back what he had stolen. And when they were at home, she made him kneel
down to thank God, and to ask him to pardon the wicked wish that he had
felt, and the wicked thing that he had done, for the sake of Jesus
Christ his Son.


"Look at papa," said Frank to little George, one day, as he stood at the
window of their play-room up stairs. "I cannot think what he is going to
do with that wooden box. I saw John lift it out of the stable just now,
and put it into that corner. What have they got in the box? See, papa
stoops down to look inside. What can it be, I wonder?"


George came when he was called, and looked out of the window as well as
he could; but, being rather short, he had to go back for a stool to
mount upon before he could see into the yard. When this was done, he saw
all three quite plain,--his papa, and old John, and the large wooden
box, with a black handle on the lid.

"I know, Frank," said George, with a wise look. "They are going to put
away some flower-seeds in the box. I heard John tell papa that he had
saved a great many seeds this year; and papa said they must be put away
in a dry place till spring."

"Oh! you silly child," said Frank, who was six years old, and of course
knew a great deal more than little George, who was only four. "Do you
think they would want such a large box, just to hold a few flower-seeds?
No, no; it is something that papa wants to hide. I saw him look round,
as much as to say, I do not wish to be seen. Should not you like to know
what it is?"

"Yes, I should like to know," said little George; "but I cannot see, the
box is so far off."

"Wait a little while, and we will have a peep, when papa and John are
gone away." So said Frank, who always liked to pry into every thing. "We
will creep softly down stairs, and into the yard, and then lift up the
lid of the box. Papa will be in the house, and John will be in the
stable; so nobody will know."

The little boys stayed to watch at the window; and very soon, as Frank
had said, their papa came into the house, and John went to his work in
the stable, and so the box was left alone. Puss, indeed, walked slowly
across the yard, and gave a sniff at the key-hole, as if she too wanted
to see what there was inside; and then she lay down in the sunshine
close by, with her head on her fore-paws: but Frank and George both knew
that puss could tell no tales, and so they did not mind her at all. Hand
in hand they crept down stairs. All was quiet in the house. Their papa
was in his study, and their mamma was in the nursery, and the maids
were busy about their work.

Both of these little boys knew that they were doing wrong. They had been
told, often and often, not to meddle with things that did not belong to
them. As Frank was so much older than George, he was the more to blame;
but George was old enough to know better, or why did he put his little
foot so gently on the stairs, and go out on tiptoe into the yard?

The two boys went up close to the box, and then looked round to make
sure that there was no one to see them. Not a step was to be heard, and
only puss lay there, with her eyes fixed upon the box. It was long and
low, and the lid was held down by a hasp. Frank and George had both to
stoop down, and then Frank took hold of the hasp and lifted up the lid.
Oh! sad to tell! out popped a little grey rabbit. Puss darted upon it in
a moment; she caught it in her mouth, and, not caring in the least for
the cries of Frank and George, away she went over the wall, and the
rabbit was seen no more.

Old John ran out of the stable, with his fork in his hand, and at sight
of him both Frank and George were still. But both papa and mamma had
heard their cries, and came out of the house; and the maids ran down
stairs in a fright, to see what was the matter. There was no need for
any one to speak a word. The empty box, with its open lid, and the red
faces of Frank and George, with their look of shame, told what they had
been about.

Their kind papa had bought the little rabbit for Frank and George; and
John was going that very day to make a rabbit hutch, and fix it up in
the yard, for he was very clever in making such things. Before night, if
they had been wise enough to wait, they would have seen the little grey
rabbit in its hutch, and might have given it green leaves and clover to
nibble. But this was all over now; and it was owing to their fault that
they had lost the young rabbit.

But when Frank and George grew to be a little older, their papa gave
them a hutch and four young rabbits. They had learned not to meddle with
things that did not belong to them, and so they had a reward for their
better conduct.



I will tell you of a boy who did not mind what was said to him. He used
to do what he was told must not be done, and that was very sad. I hope
you are not like him.

The boy's name was John. He had a dog that he used to play with; and he
had a kite, and he used to fly it in a field by the side of the house.
He had many other toys, more than I can tell you of. But he was too fond
of play, and did not love his book; and when he was more than five, he
did not know how to read the most easy lesson. Was he not an idle boy?

One day, John was by the gate at the end of the lawn. No one was with
him, for Ann the maid was just gone away, and she had told him to wait
till she came back. The gate was half open, so he went to peep into the
lane. He saw a bird hop on the path, and its wing hung down on one side
as if it had been hurt. John did not mind what Ann had said, that he
must wait for her at the gate, and he ran to take hold of the bird. Then
it flew away, but not far, and John ran after it down the road. He put
out his hand to catch it; but the bird rose again, and at last it flew
to a bank high up the lane, and John did not see it any more.


Then he said, "I will go back to Ann at the gate." But he did not know
that he had run so far, and a turn was in the lane, so that he could not
see the gate. Then John was in great fear, for he did not know which way
to go to get home. He cried out for Ann as loud as he could; but Ann was
far off, and he was not able to make her hear. Oh! what fear he was in!

John ran very fast down the lane, but he did not see any one to show him
the way home. When he was too much tired to ran any more, he sat down on
the bank and cried. A bird sang in a tree over his head, and the sun was
up high in the blue sky. It was a fine day, and if John had done as he
was bid, he would have had a nice long walk with Ann. But now he was
very sad, and he sat on the bank and cried. Boys are sure to be made
sad, if they will not mind, and do as they are told.

When Ann came back to the gate, and saw that John was not there, she ran
into the lane to look for him, and to call him. But John could not hear
her call him, for you know he was a long way off. Then Ann ran back into
the house, and told John's papa and mamma that he was lost. As soon as
his papa heard this, he laid down his book, and put on his hat to go and
seek him. The man also went to seek him. And his mamma said, "Pray make
haste and bring my dear boy home again." As for Ann, she took the dog
with her down the lane to help to find him, for he was very fond of
John. Dash was the dog's name, and a good dog he was.

It was not long till Ann and Dash came to the turn of the lane, and then
they both saw John, who sat upon the bank, very sad. The dog gave a
bark, as if he had said, "There he is! I am glad we have found him!"
Then Dash ran up to him as fast as he could, and John was very glad to
see him come along the lane; and he said, "Good Dash! dear Dash! you are
come to take me home."

So John and Dash went to meet Ann, for she did not run as fast as the
dog had done. John told her that he had been a bad boy and was very
sorry. When Ann saw that he was sorry, she gave him a kiss, and said
that he must not do so any more. Then they went back home, and John soon
saw his papa in the lane. But he did not run to him, and look glad, as
he did at other times. Why did not John run to his papa? Can you guess?
Yes, it was that he had not done as he was bid, and he knew his papa did
not like to hear that he had been a bad boy.

His papa stood still; and when John, and Ann, and Dash came up to him,
John said, "Papa, I have not been good. I am very sorry, I will try to
be good next time." So his papa said, "I hope you will;" and he took
hold of his hand, and led him back to the house. And his mamma was very
glad to see him, safe and well.

John said that it was his wish to be good, and his papa told him that he
must pray to God to help him. I hope you will pray to God. No one can
make you good but God. I cannot make you good. Your papa cannot make you
good. No one can do this for you, but God. Then pray to him. Say, "Lord,
help me to be good, for the sake of Jesus, thy dear Son, who died upon
the cross to take away my sins." God can see you now; and if you pray to
him, he will hear you.



   What a strange and wondrous story,
     From the Book of God is read,
   How the Lord of life and glory
     Had not where to lay his head;

   How he left his throne in heaven,
     Here to suffer, bleed, and die,
   That my soul might be forgiven,
     And ascend to God on high.

   Father, let thy Holy Spirit
     Still reveal a Saviour's love,
   And prepare me to inherit
     Glory, where he reigns above.

   There, with saints and angels dwelling,
     May I that great love proclaim,
   And with them be ever telling
     All the wonders of his name.



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