We are continuing with the book Joyous Times!
Some stories in turn of the century children’s books were not really stories at all. Some were written as if you were gathered around a wise uncle who was telling stories of the old days. This next one is like that.
The Horse and the Lamb
The horse loves com’pa-ny. Some horses do not like to stay in a stable or a field by them-selves; and yet if they can have a dog, a cow, a goat, or a pet lamb, near them, they will be quite con-tent.
I have heard of a horse that grew quite fond of a little dog. The little dog would run up to the horse, and lick his nose, and the horse would scratch the little dog’s back with his teeth. One day, when a big dog flew at the little dog, this horse with his teeth seized the big dog, and shook him well. The big dog then ran off, and did not harm the little dog.
There was once a man who was a trum’pet-er, and who had a horse which he rode for three years in the wars in Spain. In a great bat’tle this man was shot and killed; but his faith’ful horse would not quit the body. He stood by it for days; and, when found, he was quite weak from the loss of blood and want of food.
If an old war-horse, after he had been turned out to grass, hears the roll of a drum, or the twang of a trum’pet, the fresh’ness of youth seems to come upon him; and if he at the same time gets a sight of men clad in u’ni-form, and drawn up in line, it is no ea’sy thing to keep him from join’ing them.
There was a man a friend of mine, and his name was Jennings. He had a fine Arabian horse, and the name of the horse was Rex. Do you know the meaning of “Rex”? I will tell you: it is a Latin word, and means king.
Some of the best horses in the world are those of Arabia. many of the peo’ple of that land live in tents; and they will let their horses come into the tents, and lie down on the floor with the fam-i’ly.
An Arabian horse will pick his way over the sleep’ing ba’bies as care’fully as their own moth’er could do. He will let the chil’dren hang on his neck, and mount his back, and will take great pains to save them from harm.
At last, a man from London, whose name was Hughes, said he could tame The Mad Arabian. All the other men who had tried to rule the horse had used the whip and the spur quite free’ly. Hughes threw them both away, and said, “I will con’quer this horse by kind’ness.”
And he did so. Rex soon gave back love for love. he would let Hughes bri’dle and sad’dle, and drive him where he would.
Hughes had a pet lamb, that followed him into the sta’ble. Of this lamb Rex grew so fond, that he would let her mount his back, and gam’bol upon his shoulder.
See what a power there is in kind’ness! Be sure the way of love is the best way in dealing with brutes as well as with men.
Letter from an Injured Person is a clever little one written in the form of a – big surprise – LETTER! I love this one, and I’ll tell you why in a moment.
Letter from an Injured Person
My Dear Young Friends, — I write to you in the hope that you will think of my case, and try to help me. For a long time I have been ill used. I have had all sorts of slights put upon me. I have made up my mind now to speak out. Hear me, and say if you do not think I have good cause to find fault.
You must know, my dear young friends, that I have a twin broth’er. Now, I am sure you will say with me that when two broth’ers are of the same age, folks ought to treat them in the same way, — ought not to make fish of one, and flesh of the oth’er. They ought to bring them up with the same care, and be kind to both.
Is that the way they do in my case? Far from it. From the day of our birth, my broth’er has had much more done for him than I have had for my-self. He has been taught to write, to draw, and to paint; to throw a ball, to wind up a watch, and to use a stick; to cut with a knife, to stir with a spoon, and to shoot with a gun; to snap a whip, to drive a hoop, and to pull a string.
If I ev’er took up a pen to try to write, the folks would cry out at once, “Don’t do that!” And then they would snatch the pen from me, and give it to my broth’er. Though I am now more than eight years old, they do not let me use a knife, a stick, or lift a spoon. Is it not too bad?
When I have taken up a pen’cil, and have tried to draw, I have been scold’ed, and told to lay the pen’cil down at once, or else give it to my broth’er. Some-times I have got a slap, just for try’ing to write. Is it not a hard case?
It is true I have been taught to box, and to help row a boat; but my broth’er takes the lead in these things, as in all othe’rs. Is it strange that I am not so strong or so quick as he? If one is kept all the time in the back-ground, what chance can one have to learn? Tell me that.
When my broth’er hap’pens to be laid up (as he was the other day from a jam he got) then they are glad enough to get me to work for him; but, even then, people laugh at me, and cry, “What an awk’ward fel’low! He isn’t near as clev’er as his broth’er!” Who could be clev’er, treat’ed as I am, I would like to know?
Per-haps you will laugh at my hand-writing. But it is almost the first time I ev’er held a pen. What could you ex-pect, I would like to know? You say I am cross, do you? Who wouldn’t be cross, when one is snubbed and laughed at, as I have been?
I will tell you now what hap’pened to me the oth’er day. My master, Edwin, was play’ing at ball; and he kept on employing my broth’er in the game, and giving me noth’ing at all to do.
At last I got vexed at this; and, when the ball came near me, I picked it up and threw it. But, as I had nev’er been taught to throw a ball, I did not aim right. In-stead of send’ing it straight a-cross the room, I gave it a twist, which made it turn a-side and strike a fine glass vase that stood on the shelf. The vase fell to the floor, and was broken.’
My mas’ter had to take a scold’ing from his moth’er for let’ting me be so clum’sy. But what vexed me most was, that she told him he ought al’ways to em-ploy my broth’er, and not to let me play at ball. I could have cried, I was so vexed!
Now, would it not have been right to have told Edwin that he ought to teach me, and not to trust all the time to my broth’er? Why should not I have a chance to learn, and get strength? You could hard’ly tell me from my broth’er, we are so much alike. And yet see how I am neg-lect’ed!
Hoping that you will try to do some’thing for me, I sigh my-self your sad friend,
The Left Hand
I love that the writers in this book gently express their views in that they are against hitting their child (as in a previous story) and not forcing a child to use the right hand.
I love this story because I am left handed, and although I was never told to use my other hand in writing, still feel a connection to it.
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