Pretty Tales


6. Harry

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 child.

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 lie."

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 ever.

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."