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the door. Now farmer Bruff, in spite of many things that people said of him, was a kind-hearted man, and it was out of gratitude for a kind act done to poor widow White, that her son made farmer Bruff a present of a magpie. This bird, which was kept in the farmer's kitchen in a wicker cage, had been taught to say many things, and among them the following. “I am coming! I am coming! Hold him fast! Hold him fast! my blunderbuss ! Jack! Jack! Give me my blunderbuss !” One dark night, a robber, who had determined to steal the farmer's money, came and threw a piece of beef to the big dog, to take off his attention, while with his picklock-key he opened the door. After this he took off his shoes, that he might not be heard, but before he had made his way to the top of the stairs, the magpie, who had been wakened by the big dog pulling the beef about, cried out “I am coming! I am coming! Hold him fast! Hold him fast! Give me my blunderbuss! Jack! Jack! Give me' my blunderbuss !” The robber, who knew nothing of the magpie, expecting no less, than that a stout fellow or two, with Jack and the blunderbuss, would soon be upon him, tumbled down the stairs in a great hurry. The big dog left the beef to fly at him, and it was with difficulty that he made his escape, with two bleeding legs, leaving his shoes and his picklock key behind him. Holy
Scripture says. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion. When the robber went to break
open the strong box of the farmer, his conscience
made him a coward, and thus was he frightened by the chattering of a magpie, into the clutches of the big dog, with the loss of a pair of shoes and a picklock key.
The children were vastly pleased with this tale, showing, as it did, that the kindness of farmer Bruff was fully repaid. They thought that the magpie deserved to be rewarded, but as they did not know exactly how that could
be done, all of them agreed with Mr. Franklin, that out of respect to the magpie which had saved the house from being robbed, the other that had fled away with the old glove, should be left in peaceable possession of his booty.
“I remember," continued Mr. Franklin, an instance of kindness on the part of a crazy man, who lived alone, that much affected me. It happened, when I was a boy, that a stranger in riding through the village, where I was at school, met with a sad accident, his horse fell with him, and his leg was broken. In this distressing situation there were no people at hand sufficiently strong to carry him to a house where he might receive the attention of which he stood so much in need. The crazy man was applied to, and hastened to the spot as though his heart were touched with compassion for the afflicted stranger. A chair was procured, and boy as I was, I helped to convey the stranger to the nearest habitation; but it was the crazy man who was the most useful. He was tall and strong, and did more than all the rest of us put together in conveying the afflicted one to a place of comfort. I fancy that I can see him now, with his long greatcoat and his leathern girdle around his loins, carrying the bruised man with as much care as if he had been his own brother; much did I rejoice that the heart of that poor crazy man was moved to act with so much compassion and kindness.
Peter. If I had been there I would have thanked that crazy man.
Thomas. And so would I.
Mr. Franklin. You must remember, my dear children, what I told you, in our last meeting, of the many ways in which every one of you might perform acts of kindness. Little acts must never be thought little of; that is, you must never undervalue a small act of kindness done to you, nor neglect to do one for another; small beginnings have often great endings, agreeably with God's holy word. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” Prov. iv. 18; kindnesses beget kindnesses, and love springs from love all the world over.
It is often the case that a kind act is more influential than hundred kind words. Though what fell from the lips of Mr. Franklin was listened to with attention, yet the kindness with which he mingled with his children, and helped them in their undertaking, did much more than his remarks in disposing them to think, feel, and act kindly to one another. For half an hour after Mr. Franklin left his children, they kept together talking either about the kindness of the crazy man, or the kindness of farmer Bruff, and
As the low sound of Mr. Franklin's crutches was heard in the hall, the children scampered to their seats, that they might be quite ready to receive him. For a moment all was silence among the youthful party, and every eye was turned to the door, when suddenly a loud noise, as of something very heavy falling on the flag pavement, resounded through the hall. Mary gave a faint scream; and her brothers, leaping from their seats, ran to the door, when they saw their father at full length on the ground, with the hat stand and a broken crutch lying beside him.
Edward and Thomas ran to help him up, and little Peter picked up the broken crutch. Mary, in another instant, joined them, and before Mr. Franklin was fairly on his legs, the housemaid and cook, who had heard the