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Aunt Judy's Tales by Mrs Alfred Gatty

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jumped up in the most extravagant delight.

"'I knew how it would be all along!' cried she; 'I told you so! I
knew if you could only hide that terrible snub all would be well; and
I'm sure our pretty Jacintha wouldn't have looked your way if you
hadn't! See, now! you have to thank your mother for it all!'

"Franz was quite happy himself, so he smiled, and let his mother be
happy her way too; but he opened his heart of hearts to poor old-
fashioned papa, and told him--well, in fact, all his follies and
mistakes, and their cure. And if mamma was happy in her bit of
comfort, papa was not less so in his, for there is not a more
delightful thing in the world than for father and son to understand
each other as friends; and old Franz would sometimes walk up and down
in his room, listening to the cheerful young voices up-stairs, and
say to himself, that if Mother Franz--good soul as she was--did not
always quite enter into his feelings, it was his comfort to be
blessed with a son who did!"

* * *

What a long story it had been! Aunt Judy was actually tired out when
she got to the end, and could not talk about it, but the little ones
did till they arrived at the station, and had to get out.

And in the evening, when they were all sitting together before they
went to bed, there was no small discussion about the story of Mr.
Franz, and how people were to know what was really good manners--when
to come forward, and when to hold back--and the children were a
little startled at first, when their mother told them that the best
rules for good manners were to be found in the Bible.

But when she reminded them of that text, "When thou art bidden, go
and sit down in the lowest room," &c. they saw in those words a very
serious reason for not pushing forward into the best place in
company. And when they recollected that every man was to do to
others as he wished others to do to him, it became clear to them that
it was the duty of all people to study their neighbours' comfort and
pleasure as well as their own; and it was no hard matter to show how
this rule applied to all the little ins and outs of every-day life,
whether at home, or in society. And there were plenty of other
texts, ordering deference to elders, and the modesty which arises out
of that humility of spirit which "vaunteth not itself," and "is not
puffed up." There was, moreover, the comfortable promise, that "the
meek" should "inherit the earth."

Of course, it was difficult to the little ones, just at first, to see
how such very serious words could apply to anybody's manners, and
especially to their own.

But it was a difficulty which mamma, with a little explanation, got
over very easily; and before the little ones went to bed, they quite
understood that in restraining themselves from teazing and being
troublesome, they were not only not being "tiresome," but were
actually obeying several Gospel rules.


"Had I a little son, I would christen him NOTHING-TO-DO."

There is a complaint which is not to be found in the doctor's books,
but which is, nevertheless, such a common and troublesome one, that
one heartily wishes some physic could be discovered which would cure

It may be called the NOTHING-TO-DO complaint.

Even quite little children are subject to it, but they never have it
badly. Parents and nurses have only to give them something to do, or
tell them of something to do, and the thing is put right. A puzzle
or a picture-book relieves the attack at once.

But after the children have out-grown puzzles, and picture-books, and
nurses, and when even a parent's advice is received with a little
impatience, then the NOTHING-TO-DO complaint, if it seizes them at
all, is a serious disease, and often very difficult to cure; and, if
not cured, alas! then follows the melancholy spectacle of grown-up
men and women, who are a plague to their friends, and a weariness to
themselves; because, living under the notion that there is NOTHING
for them TO DO, they want everybody else to do something to amuse

Anyone can laugh at the old story of the gentleman who got into such
a fanciful state of mind--hypochondriacal, it is called--that he
thought he was his own umbrella; and so, on coming in from a walk,
would go and lay IT in the easy-chair by the fire, while he himself
went and leant up against the wall in a corner of the hall.

But this gentleman was not a bit more fanciful and absurd than the
people, whether young or old, who look out of windows on rainy days
and groan because there is NOTHING TO DO; when, in reality, there is
so much for everybody to do, that most people leave half their share

The oddest part of the complaint is, that it generally comes on worst
in those who from being comfortably off in the world, and from having
had a great deal of education, have such a variety of things to do,
that one would fancy they could never be at a loss for a choice.

But these are the very people who are most afflicted. It is always
the young people who have books, and leisure, and music, and drawing,
and gardens, and pleasure-grounds, and villagers to be kind to, who
lounge to the rain-bespattered windows on a dull morning, and groan
because there is NOTHING TO DO.

In justice to girls in general, it should be here mentioned, that
they are on the whole less liable to the complaint than the young
lords of the creation, who are supposed to be their superiors in
sense. Philosophers may excuse this as they please, but the fact
remains, that there are few large families in England, whose
sisterhoods have not at times been teazed half out of their wits, by
the growlings of its young gentlemen, during paroxysms of the
NOTHING-TO-DO complaint; growling being one of its most
characteristic symptoms.

Perhaps among all the suffering sisterhoods it would have been
difficult to find a young lady less liable to catch such a disorder
herself, than Aunt Judy; and perhaps that was the reason why she used
to do such tremendous battle with No. 3, whenever, after his return
from school for the holidays, he happened to have an attack.

"What are you groaning at through the window, No. 3?" she inquired on
one such occasion; "is it raining?"

A very gruff-sounding "No," was the answer--No. 3 not condescending
to turn round as he spoke. He proceeded, however, to state that it
had rained when he got up, and he supposed it would rain again as a
matter-of-course, (for his especial annoyance being implied,) and he

"It's so horribly 'slow' here, with nothing to do."

No. 6, who was sitting opposite Aunt Judy, doing a French exercise,
here looked up at her sister, and perceiving a smile steal over her
face, took upon herself to think her brother's remark very
ridiculous, so, said she, with a saucy giggle:-

"I can find you plenty to do, No. 3, in a minute. Come and write my
French exercise for me.

No. 3 turned sharply round at this, with a frown on his face which by
no means added to its beauty, and called out:-

"Now, Miss Pert, I recommend you to hold your tongue. I don't want
any advice from a conceited little minx like you."

Miss Pert was extinguished at once, and set to work at the French
exercise again most industriously, and a general silence ensued.

But people in the nothing-to-do complaint are never quiet for long.
Teazing is quite as constant a symptom of it, as growling, so No. 3
soon came lounging from the window to the table, and began:-

"I say, Judy, I wish you would put those tiresome books, and
drawings, and rubbish away, and I think of something to do."

"But it's the books, and the drawings, and the rubbish that give me
something to do," cried Aunt Judy. "You surely don't expect me to
give them up, and go arm and arm with you round the house, bemoaning
the slowness of our fate which gives us nothing to do. Or shall we?
Come, I don't care; I will if you like. But which shall we complain
to first, mamma, or the maids?"

While she was saying this, Aunt Judy shut up her drawing book, jumped
up from her chair, drew No. 3's arm under her own, and repeated:-

"Come! which? mamma, or the maids?" while Miss Pert opposite was
labouring with all her might to smother the laugh she dared not
indulge in.

But No. 3 pushed Aunt Judy testily away.

"'Nonsense, Judy! what has that to do with it? It's all very well
for you girls--now, Miss Pert, mind your own affairs, and don't stare
at me!--to amuse yourself with all manner of--"

"Follies, of course," cried Aunt Judy, laughing, "don't be afraid of
speaking out, No. 3. It's all very well for us girls to amuse
ourselves with all manner of follies, and nonsense, and rubbish;"
here Aunt Judy chucked the drawing-book to the end of the table,
tossed a dictionary after it, and threw another book or two into the
air, catching them as they came down.

"--while you, superior, sensible young man that you are, born to be
the comfort of your family--"

"Be quiet!" interrupted No. 3, trying to stop her; but she ran round
the table and proceeded:-

"--and the enlightener of mankind; can't--no, no, No. 3, I won't be
stopt!--can't amuse yourself with anything, because everything is so
'horribly slow, there's nothing to do,' so you want to tie yourself
to your foolish sister's apron string."

"It's too bad!" shouted No. 3; and a race round the table began
between them, but Aunt Judy dodged far too cleverly to be caught, so
it ended in their resting at opposite ends; No. 6 and her French
exercises lying between them.

"No. 6, my dear," cried Aunt Judy, in the lull of exertion, "I
proclaim a holiday from folly and rubbish. Put your books away, and
put your impertinence away too. Hold your tongue, and don't be Miss
Pest; and vanish as soon as you can."

Miss Pert performed two or three putting-away evolutions with the
velocity of a sunbeam, and darted off through the door.

"Now, then, we'll be reasonable," observed Aunt Judy; and carrying a
chair to the front of the fire she sat down, and motioned to No. 3 to
do the same, taking out from her pocket a little bit of embroidery
work, which she kept ready for chatting hours.

No. 3 was always willing to listen to Aunt Judy.

He desired nothing better than to get her undivided attention, and
pour out his groans in her ear; so he sat down with a very good
grace, and proceeded to insist that there never was anything so
"slow" as "it was."

Aunt Judy wanted to know what IT was; the place or the people,
(including herself,) or what?

No. 3 could explain it no other way than by declaring that EVERYTHING
was slow; there was nothing to do.

Aunt Judy maintained that there was plenty to do.

Whereupon No. 3 said:-

"But nothing WORTH doing."

Whereupon Aunt Judy told No. 3 that he was just like Dr. Faustus. On
which, of course, No. 3 wanted to know what Dr. Faustus was like, and
Aunt Judy answered, that he was just like HIM, only a great deal
older and very learned.

"Only quite different, then," suggested No. 3.

"No," said Aunt Judy, "not QUITE different, for he came one day to
the same conclusion that you have done, namely, that there was
nothing to do, worth doing in the world."

"_I_ don't say the world, I only say here," observed No. 3; "there's
plenty to do elsewhere, I dare say."

"So you think, because you have not tried else where," answered Aunt
Judy. "But Dr. Faustus, who had tried elsewhere, thought everywhere
alike, and declared there was nothing worth doing anywhere, although
he had studied law, physic, divinity, and philosophy all through, and
knew pretty nearly everything."

"Then you see he did not get much good out of learning," remarked No.

"I do see," was the reply.

"And what became of him?"

"Ah, that's the point," replied Aunt Judy, "and a very remarkable
point too. As soon as he got into the state of fancying there was
nothing to do, worth doing, in God's world, the evil spirit came to
him, and found him something to do in what I may, I am sure, call the
devil's world--I mean, wickedness."

"Oh, that's a story written upon Watts's old hymn," exclaimed No. 3,

"'For Satan finds some mischief still,
For idle hands to do.'

Judy! I call that a regular 'SELL.'"

" Not a bit of it," cried Aunt Judy, warmly; "I don't suppose the man
who wrote the story ever saw Watts's hymns, or intended to teach
anything half as good. It's mamma's moral. She told me she had
screwed it out of the story, though she doubted whether it was meant
to be there."

"And what's the rest of the story then?" inquired No. 3, whose
curiosity was aroused.

"Well! when the old Doctor found the world as it was, so 'SLOW,' as
you very unmeaningly call it, he took to conjuring and talking with
evil spirits by way of amusement; and then they easily persuaded him
to be wicked, merely because it gave him something fresh and exciting
to do."

"Watts's hymn again! I told you so!" exclaimed No. 3. "But the
story's all nonsense from beginning to end. Nobody can conjure, or
talk to evil spirits in reality, so the whole thing is impossible;
and where you find the moral, I don't know."

No. 3 leant back and yawned as he concluded.

He was rather disappointed that nothing more entertaining had come
out of the story of Dr. Faustus.

But Aunt Judy had by no means done.

"Impossible about conjuring and actually TALKING to evil spirits,
certainly," said she; "but spiritual influences, both bad and good,
come to us all, No. 3, without bodily communion; so for those who are
inclined to feel like Dr. Faustus, there is both a moral and a
warning in his fate."

"I don't know what about," cried No. 3. "I think he was uncommonly
stupid, after all he had learnt, to get into such a mess. Why, you
yourself are always trying to make out that the more people labour
and learn, the more sure they are to keep out of mischief. Now then,
how do you account for the story of your friend Dr. Faustus?"

"Because, like King Solomon, he did not labour and learn in a right
spirit, or to a right end," replied Aunt Judy. "Lord Bacon remarks
that when, after the Creation, God 'looked upon everything He had
made, behold it was VERY GOOD;' whereas when man 'turned him about,'
and took a view of the world and his own labours in it, he found that
'all' was 'vanity and vexation of spirit.' Why did he come to such a
different conclusion, do you think?"

"I suppose because the world had got bad, before King Solomon's
time," suggested No. 3.

"Its inhabitants had," replied Aunt Judy. "They had become subject
to sin and misery; but the world was still God's creation, and proofs
of the 'very good' which He had pronounced over it were to be found
in every direction, and even in fallen man, if Solomon had had the
sense, or rather I should say, good feeling to look for them. Ah!
No. 3, there was plenty to be learnt and done that would NOT have
ended in 'vanity and vexation of spirit' if Solomon had LEARNT in
order to trace out the glory of God, instead of establishing his own;
and if he had WORKED to create, as far as was in his power, a world
of happiness for other people, instead of seeking nothing but his own
amusement. If he had worked in the spirit of God, in short."

"But who can?--Nobody," exclaimed No. 3.

"Yes, everybody, who tries, can, to a certain extent," said Aunt
Judy. "It only wants the right feeling; some of the good God-like
feeling which originated the creation of a beautiful world, and
caused the contemplation of it to produce the sublime complacency
which is described, 'And God looked upon everything that He had made,
and behold it was very good.'"

"It's a sermon, Judy," cried No. 3, half bored, yet half amused at
the notion of her preaching; "I'll set up a pulpit for you at once,
shall I?"

"No, no, be quiet, No. 3," exclaimed Aunt Judy, "I wish you would try
and understand what I say!"

"Well, then," said No. 3, "it appears to me that do what one might
now the world has grown bad, it would be impossible to pronounce that
'VERY GOOD,' as the result of one's work. There would always be
something miserable and unsatisfactory at the end of everything; I
mean even if one really was to look into things closely, and work for
other people's good, as you say."

"There might be SOMETHING miserable and unsatisfactory, in the
result, certainly," answered Aunt Judy; "but that it would ALL be
'vanity and vexation of spirit' I deny. Our blessed Saviour came
into the world after it had grown bad, remember; and He worked solely
for the restoration of the 'very good,' which sin had defaced. It
was undoubtedly MISERABLE and UNSATISFACTORY that He should be
rejected by the very creatures He came to help; but when He uttered
the words 'It is finished,' the work which He had accomplished, He
might well have looked upon and called very good: very very good;
even beyond the creation, were that possible."

"There can be no comparison between our Saviour and us," murmured No.

"No," replied his sister; "but only let people work in the same
direction, and they will have more 'profit' of their 'labour,' than
King Solomon ever owned to, who had, one fears, only learnt, in order
to be learned, and worked, to please himself. No man who employs
himself in tracing out God's footsteps IN the world, or in working in
God's spirit FOR the world, will ever find such labours end in
'vanity and vexation of spirit!' Solomon, Dr. Faustus, and the
grumblers, have only themselves to thank for their disappointment."

"It's very curious," observed No. 3, getting up, and stretching
himself over the fire, "I mean about Solomon and Dr. Faustus. But
what can one do? What can you or I do? It's absurd to be fancying
one can do good to one's fellow-creatures."

"Nevertheless, there is one I want you to do good to, at the present
moment," said Aunt Judy--"if it is not actually raining. Don't you
remember what despair No. 1 was in this morning, when father sent her
off on the pony in such a hurry."

"Ah, that pony! That was just what I wanted myself," interrupted No.

"Exactly, of course," replied Aunt Judy. "But you were not the
messenger father wanted, so do not let us go all over that ground
again, pray. The fact was, No. 1 had just heard that her pet 'Tawny
Rachel' was very ill, and she wanted to go and see her, and give her
some good advice, and I am to go instead. Now No. 3, suppose you go
instead of me, and save me a wet walk?"

No. 3, of course, began by protesting that it was not possible that
he could do any good to an old woman. Old women were not at all in
his way. He could only say, how do you do? and come away.

Aunt Judy disputed this: she thought he could offer her some
creature comforts, and ask whether she had seen the Doctor, and what
he said, as No. 1 particularly wished to know.

What an idea! No, no; he must decline inquiring what the Doctor
said; it would be absurd; but he could offer her something to eat.

- And just ask if she had had the Doctor.--Well, just that, and come
away. It would not occupy many minutes. But he wished, while Aunt
Judy was about it, she had found him something rather LONGER to do!

Aunt Judy promised to see what could be devised on his return, and
No. 3 departed. And a very happily chosen errand it was; for it
happened in this case, as it so constantly does happen, that what was
begun for other people's sake, ended in personal gratification. No.
3 went to see "Tawny Rachel," out of good-natured compliance with
Aunt Judy's request, but found an interest and amusement in the visit
itself, which he had not in the least expected.

Ten, twenty, thirty, minutes elapsed, and he had not returned; and
when he did so at last, he burst into the house far more like an
avalanche than a young gentleman who could find "nothing to do."

Coming in the back way, he ran into the kitchen, and told the
servants to get some hot water ready directly, for he was sure
something would be wanted. Then, passing forward, he shouted to know
where his mother was, and, having found her, entreated she would
order some comfortable, gruelly stuff or other, to be made for the
sick old woman, particularly insisting that it should have ale or
wine, as well as spice and sugar in it.

He was positive that that was just what she ought to have! She had
said how cold she was, and how glad she should be of something to
warm her inside; and there was nobody to do anything for her at home.
What a shame it was for a poor old creature like that to be left with
only two dirty boys to look after her, and they always at play in the
street! Her daughter and husband were working out, and she sat
moaning over the fire, from pain, without anybody to care!

* * *

Tender-hearted and impulsive, if thoughtless, the spirit of No. 3 had
been moved within him at the spectacle of the gaunt old woman in this
hour of her lonely suffering.

Poor "Tawny Rachel!" The children had called her so, from the
heroine of Mrs. Hannah More's tale, because of those dark gipsy eyes
of hers, which had formerly given such a fine expression to her
handsome but melancholy face. Melancholy, because care-worn from the
long life's struggle for daily bread, for a large indulged family,
who scarcely knew, at the day of her death, that she had worn herself
out for their sakes.

Poor "Tawny Rachel!" She was one day asked by a well-meaning
shopkeeper, of whom she had purchased a few goods, WHERE SHE THOUGHT

"Tawny Rachel" turned her sad eyes upon her interrogator, and made

"Going to? why where do you think I'm going to, but to Heaven?--
'Deed! where do you think I'm going to, but to Heaven?" she repeated
to herself slowly, as if to recover breath; and then added, "I should
like to know who Heaven is for, if not for such as me, that have
slaved all their lives through, for other folk;" and so saying, Tawny
Rachel turned round again, and went away.

Poor "Tawny Rachel!" The theology was imperfect enough; but so had
been her education and advantages. Yet as surely as her scrupulous,
never-failing honesty, and unmurmuring self-denial, must have been
inspired by something beyond human teaching; so surely did it prove
no difficult task to her spiritual guide, to lead her onwards to
those simple verities of the Christian Faith, which, in her case,
seemed to solve the riddle of a weary, unsatisfactory life, and,
confiding in which, the approach of death really became to her, the
advent of the Prince of Peace.

* * *

"But she had quite cheered up," remarked No. 3, "at the notion of
something comforting and good," and so--he had "come off at once."

"At once!"--the exclamation came from Aunt Judy, who had entered the
room, and was listening to the account. "Why, No. 3, you must have
been there an hour at least. And nevertheless I dare say you have
forgotten about the Doctor."

"The Doctor!" cried No. 3, laughing,--"It's the Doctor who has kept
me all this time. You never heard such fun in your life,--only he's
an awful old rascal, I must say!"

Mamma and Aunt Judy gazed at No. 3 in bewilderment. The respectable
old village practitioner, who had superintended all the deceases in
the place for nearly half a century--to be called "an awful old
rascal" at last! What could No. 3 be thinking of?

Certainly not of the respectable village practitioner, as he soon
explained, by describing the arrival at Tawny Rachel's cottage of a
travelling quack with a long white beard.

"My dear No. 3!" exclaimed mamma.

"Mother, dear, I can't help it!" cried No. 3, and proceeded to relate
that while he was sitting with the old woman, listening to the
account of her aches and pains, some one looked in at the door, and
asked if she wanted anything; but, before she could speak, remarked
how ill she seemed, and said he could give her something to do her
good. "Judy!" added No. 3, breaking suddenly off; "he looked just
like Dr. Faustus, I'm sure!"

"Never mind about that," cried Aunt Judy. "Tell us what Tawny Rachel

"Oh, she called out that he MUST GIVE it, if she was to have it, for
she had nothing to pay for it with. I had a shilling in my pocket,
and was just going to offer it, when I recollected he would most
likely do her more harm than good. But the gentleman with the white
beard walked in immediately, set his pack down on the table, and
said, 'Then, my good woman, I SHALL give it you;' and out he brought
a bottle, tasted it before he gave it to her, and promised her that
it would cure her if she took it all."

"My dear No. 3!" repeated mamma once more.

"Yes, I know she can't be cured, mother, and I think she knows it
too; but still she 'TOOK IT VERY KIND,' as she called it, of him, and
asked him if he would like to 'rest him' a bit by the fire, and the
gentleman accepted the invitation; and there we all three sat, for
really I quite enjoyed seeing him, and he began to warm his hands,
remarking that the young gentleman--that was I, you know--looked very
well. Oh, Judy, I very nearly said 'Thank you, Dr. Faustus,' but I
only laughed and nodded, and really did hold my tongue; and then the
two began to talk, and it was as good as any story you ever invented,
Aunt Judy. Tawny Rachel was very inquisitive, and asked him:-

"'You've come a long way, sir, I suppose?'

"'Yes, ma'am; I'm a great traveller, and have been so a many years.'

"'It's a wonder you have not settled before now.'

"'I might have settled, ma'am, a many times.'

"'Ah, when folks once begin wandering, they can't settle down. You
were, maybe, brought up to it.'

"'I was brought up to something a deal better than that, ma'am.'

"'You was, sir? It's a pity, I'm sure.'

"'My father was physician to Queen Elizabeth, ma'am, a many years.'"

When No. 3 arrived at this point of the dialogue, mamma and Aunt Judy
both exclaimed at once, and the former repeated once more the
expostulatory "My dear No. 3!" which delighted No. 3, who proceeded
to assure them that he had himself interrupted the travelling quack
here, by suggesting that it was Queen Charlotte he meant.

"Old Queen Charlotte, you know, Judy, that No. 1 was telling the
children about the other day."

But the "gentleman," as No. 3 called him, had turned very red at the
doubt thus thrown on his accuracy, and put a rather threatening croak
into his voice, as he said:-

"Asking your pardon, young gentleman, I know what I'm saying, and it
was Queen Elizabeth, and not Charlotte nor anybody else!"

No. 3 described that he felt it best, after this, to hold his tongue
and say no more, so Tawny Rachel put in her word, and remarked, it
was a wonder the queen hadn't made their fortunes; on which the
gentleman turned rather red again, and said that the queen did make
their fortune, but wouldn't let them keep it, for fear they should be
too great and too rich--that was it! This statement required a
little explanation, but the gentleman was ready with all particulars.
The queen used to pay his father by hundreds of pounds at a time,
because that was due to him, but being jealous of his having so much
money, she always set some one to take it away from him as he left
the place! So that was the reason why these was no fortune put by
for him after his father died, and that was the reason why he
couldn't very well settle at first, though everybody wished him to
stay, and SO he took to travelling; for his father had left him all
his secrets, and he was qualified to practise anywhere, and had cured
some thousands of sick folks up and down!

No. 3 declared that he had not made the old man's account of himself
a bit more unconnected than it really was, and, on the whole, it
sounded very imposing to poor Tawny Rachel, who watched his departure
with a sort of respectful awe.

No. 3 added, that not liking to disturb her faith either in the man
or the bottle, he had himself helped her to the first dose, and had
then begun to talk about the creature comforts before described, the
very mention of which seemed to cheer the old lady's heart, and to
interest her at least as much as the biography of the travelling

"So now, mother," concluded he, "order the gruel, and we'll give
three cheers for Queen Elizabeth, and Dr. Faustus--eh, Judy? But I
do think the poor old thing ought not to take that man's poisonous
rubbish; so here's my shilling, and welcome, if you'll give some
more, and let us send for a real doctor."

The "nothing-to-do" morning had nearly slipped away, between the
conversation with Aunt Judy, and the visit to Tawny Rachel; and when,
soon after, a friend called to take No. 3 off on a fossil hunt, and
he had to snatch a hasty morsel before his departure, he declared he
was like the poor governess in the song, who was sure to

"Find out,
With attention and zeal,
That she'd scarcely have time
To partake of a meal,"

there was so much to do. "But you're a capital fellow, Judy," he
added, kissing her, "and you'll tell me a story when I come back;"
and off he ran, shutting his ears to Aunt Judy's declaration that she
only told stories to the "little ones."

Nor would she, on his return, and during the cozy evening "nothing-
to-do" hour, consent to devote herself to his especial amusement
only. So, after arguing the point for a time, he very wisely
yielded, and declared at last that he would be a "little one" too,
and listen to a "little one's" story, if Aunt Judy would tell one.

It was rather late when this was settled, and the little ones had
stayed up-stairs to play at a newly-invented game--bazaars--in the
nursery; but when No. 3 strode in with the announcement of the story,
there was a shout of delight, followed by the old noisy rush down-
stairs to the dining-room.

It is not a bad thing to be a "little one" now and then in spirit.
People would do well to try and be so oftener. Who that has looked
upon a picture of himself as a "little one," has not wished that he
could be restored to the "little one's" spirit, the "little one's"
innocence, the "little one's" hopeful trust? "Of such is the kingdom
of Heaven!" And though none of us would like to live our lives over
again, lest our errors should be repeated, and so doubled in guilt,
all of us, at the sight of what we once were, would fain, very fain,
if we could, lie down to sleep, and awake a "little one" again.
Never, perhaps, is the sweet mercy of an early death brought so
closely home to our apprehension, as when the grown-up, care-worn man
looks upon the image of himself as a child.

Happily, however--nay, more than happily, MERCIFULLY--the grown-up
man, if he do but put on the humility, may gain something of the
peace of a "little one's" heart!

Aunt Judy had twisted up a roll of muslin for a turban on her head by
the time they came down, "for," said she, "this is to be an eastern
tale, and I shall not be inspired--that is to say, I shall not get on
a bit--unless there is a costume and manners to correspond, so you
three little ones squat yourselves down Turkish-fashion on the floor,
with your legs tucked under you. There now! that's something like,
and I begin to feel myself in the East. Nevertheless, I am rather
glad there is no critical Eastern traveller at hand, listening
through the key-hole to my blunders.

However, errors excepted, here is the wonderful story of


"A great many years ago, in a country which cannot be traced upon the
maps, but which lies somewhere between the great rivers Indus and
Euphrates, lived Schelim, King of the Hills.

"His riches were unlimited, his palaces magnificent, and his dresses
and jewels of the most costly description. He never condescended to
wear a diamond unless it was inconveniently large for his fingers,
and the fiery opals which adorned his turban (like those in the
mineral-room at the British Museum) shimmered and blazed in such a
surprising manner, that people were obliged to lower their eyes
before the light of them.

"Powerful as well as rich, King Schelim could have anything in the
world he wished for, but--such is the perversity of human nature--he
cared very little for anything except smoking his pipe; of which, to
say the truth, he was so fond, that he would have been well contented
to have done nothing else all day long. It seemed to him the nearest
approach to the sublimest of all ideas of human happiness--the having

"He caused his four sons to be brought up in luxurious ease, his wish
for them being, that they should remain ignorant of pain and sorrow
for as long a period of their lives as was possible. So he built a
palace for them, at the summit of one of his beautiful hills, where
nothing disagreeable or distressing could ever meet their eyes, and
he gave orders to their attendants, that they should never be
thwarted in anything.

"Every wish of their hearts, therefore, was gratified from their baby
days; but so far from being in consequence the happiest, they were
the most discontented children in his dominions.

"From the first year of their birth, King Schelim had never been able
to smoke his pipe in peace. There were always messages coming from
the royal nursery to the smoking-room, asking for something fresh for
the four young princes, who were, owing to some mysterious cause,
incapable of enjoying any of their luxurious indulgences for more
than a few hours together.

"At first these incessant demands for one thing or another for the
children, surprised and annoyed their papa considerably, but by
degrees he got used to it, and took the arrival of the messengers as
a matter of course.

"The very nurses began it:-

"'May it please your Majesty, the young princes, your Majesty's
incomparable sons--may their shadows never be less!--are tired of
their jewelled rattles, and have thrown them on the floor. Doubtless
they would like India-rubber rings with bells better.'

"'Then get them India-rubber rings with bells,' was all King Schelim
said, and turned to his pipe again.

"And so it went on perpetually, until one day it came to, -

"'May it please your Majesty, the young princes, your Majesty's
incomparable sons--may their shadows never be less!--have thrown
their hobbyhorses into the river, and want to have live ponies

"At the first moment the king gave his usual answer, 'Then get them
live ponies instead,' from a sort of mechanical habit, but the words
were scarcely uttered when he recalled them. This request awoke even
his sleepy soul out of its smoke-dream, and inquiring into the ages
of his sons, and finding that they were of years to learn as well as
to ride, he dismissed their nurses, placed them in the hands of
tutors, and procured for them the best masters of every description.

"'For,' said he, 'what saith the proverb? "Kings govern the earth,
but wise men govern kings." My sons shall be wise as well as kingly,
and then they can govern themselves.'

"And after settling this so cleverly, King Schelim resumed his pipe,
in the confident hope, that now, at last, he should smoke it in

"'For,' said he, 'when my sons shall become wise through learning,
they will be more moderate in their desires.'

"I do not know whether his Majesty's incomparable sons relished this
change from nurses to tutors, but on that particular point they were
allowed no choice; so if they bemoaned themselves in their palace on
the hill, their father knew nothing of it.

"And to soften the disagreeableness of the restraint which learning
imposes, King Schelim gave more strict orders than ever, that,
provided the young gentlemen only learnt their lessons well, every
whim that came into their heads should be complied with soon as

"In spite of all his ingenious arrangements, however, the royal
father did not enjoy the amount of repose he expected. All was quiet
enough during lesson-hours, it is true; but as soon as ever that
period had elapsed, the young princes became as restless as ever.
Nay--the older they grew, the more they wanted, and the less pleased
they became with what was granted.

"From very early days of the tutorship, the old story began:-

"'May it please your Majesty, the young princes, your Majesty's
incomparable sons--may their shadows never be less!--are tired of
their ponies, and want horses instead.'

"The king was a little disappointed at this, and actually laid down
his pipe to talk.

"'Is anything the matter with the ponies?' he asked.

"'May it please your Majesty, no; only that your incomparable sons
call them SLOW.'

"'Spirited lads!' thought the king, quite consoled, and gave the
answer as usual:-

"'Then get them horses instead.' But when only a few days afterwards
he was informed that his incomparable sons had wearied of their
horses, because they also were 'slow,' and wished to ride on
elephants instead, his Majesty began to feel disturbed in mind, and
wonder what would come next, and how it was that the teaching of the
tutors did not make his sons more moderate in their desires.

"'Nevertheless,' said he, 'what saith the proverb, "Thou a man, and
lackest patience?" And again,

"Early ripe, early rotten,
Early wise, soon forgotten."

My sons are but children yet.'

"After which reflection he returned to his pipe as before, and
disturbed himself as little as possible, when messenger after
messenger arrived, to announce the fresh vagaries of the young

"It is impossible to enumerate all the luxuries, amusements, and
delights, they asked for, obtained, and wearied of during several
years. But the longer it went on, the more hardened and indifferent
their father became.

"'For,' said he, 'what saith the proverb? "The longest lane turns at
last." At last my sons will have everything man can wish for, and
then they will cease from asking, and I shall smoke my pipe in

"One day, however, the messenger entered the royal smoking-room in a
greater hurry than ever, and was about to commence his usual
elaborate peroration respecting the incomparable sons, when his
Majesty held up his hand to stop him, and called out:-

"'What is it now?'

"'May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's in--'

"'What is it they WANT?' cried the king, interrupting him.

"'May it please your Majesty, SOMETHING TO DO.'

"'Something to do?' repeated the perplexed king of the hills;
'something to do, when half the riches of my empire have been
expended upon providing them with the means of doing everything in
the world that was delightful to the soul of man?

"'Surely, oh son of a dog, thou art laughing at my beard, to come to
me with such a message from my sons.'

"'Nevertheless, may it please your Majesty, I have spoken but the
truth. Your Majesty's in--'

"'Hush with that nonsense,' interrupted the king.

"'Your Majesty's sons, in fact, then, have sickened and pined for
three mortal days, because they have got NOTHING TO DO.'

"'Now, then, my sons are mad!' exclaimed poor King Schelim, laying
down his pipe, and rising from his recumbent position; 'and it is
time that I bestir myself.'

"And thereupon he summoned his attendants, and sent for the royal
Hakim, that is to say, physician; and the most learned and
experienced Dervish, that is to say, religious teacher of the

"'For,' said he, 'who knows whether this sickness is of the body or
the soul?'

"And having explained to them how he had brought up his children, the
indulgences with which he had surrounded them, the learning which he
had had instilled into them, and the way in which he had preserved
them from every annoying sight and sound, he concluded:-

"'What more could I have done for the happiness of my children than I
have done, and how is it that their reason has departed from them, so
that they are at a loss for something to do? Speak one or other of
you and explain.'

"Then the Dervish stepped forward, and opening his mouth, began to
make answer.

"'And,' said he, 'oh King of the Hills, in the bringing up of thy
sons, surely thou hast forgotten the proverb which saith, "He that
would know good manners, let him learn them from him who hath them
not." For even so may the wise man say of happiness, "He that would
know he is happy, must learn it from him who is not." But again,
doth not another proverb say, "Will thy candle burn less brightly for
lighting mine?" Wherefore the happiness which a man has, when he has
discovered it, he is bound to impart to those that have it not. Have
I spoken well?'

"Then King and the Hakim declared he had spoken remarkably well;
nevertheless I am by no means sure that King Schelim knew what he
meant. Whereupon the Dervish offered to go at once to the four
incomparable princes, and cure them of their madness in supposing
they had nothing to do, and King Schelim in great delight, and
thoroughly glad to be rid of the trouble, told him that he placed his
sons entirely in his hands; then taking him aside, he addressed to
him a parting word in confidence.

"'Thou knowest, oh wise Dervish, that I have had no education myself,
and therefore, as the proverb hath it, "To say I DON'T KNOW, is the
comfort of my life," yet what better is a learned man than a fool, if
he comes but to this conclusion at last? See thou restore wisdom and
something to do to the souls of my sons.'

"Which the Dervish promised to accomplish, accordingly in company
with the Hakim, he betook himself to the palace of the four princes,
his Majesty's incomparable sons.

"Well, in spite of all they had heard, both the Dervish and Hakim
were surprised at what they really found at the palace of the four

"It was as if everything that human ingenuity could devise for the
gratification, amusement, and occupation both of body and mind had
been here brought together. Horses, elephants, chariots, creatures
of every description, for hunting, riding, driving, and all sorts of
sport were there, countless in numbers, and perfect in kind.
Gardens, pleasure-grounds, woods, flowers, birds, and fountains, to
delight the eye and ear; while within the palace were sources of
still deeper enjoyment. The songs of the poets and the wisdom of the
ancients reposed there upon golden shelves. Musicians held
themselves in readiness to pour exquisite melodies upon the air;
games, exercises, in-door sports in every variety could be commanded
in a moment, and attendants waited in all directions to fulfil their
young masters' will.

"The poor old Dervish and Hakim looked at each other in fresh
amazement at every step they took, and neither of them could find a
proverb to fit so extraordinary a case.

"At last, after a long walk through chambers and anti-chambers
without end, hung round with mirrors and ornaments, they reached the
apartment of the young princes, where they found the four
incomparable creatures lounging on four ottomans, sighing their
hearts out, because they had 'nothing to do.'

"As the door opened, the eldest prince glanced languidly round, and
inquired if the messenger had returned from their father, and being
answered that the Dervish and Hakim, who now stood before him, were
messengers from their father, he called out to know if the old
gentleman had sent them anything to do!

"'The king, your father's spirit is disturbed with anxiety,' answered
the Dervish, 'lest some sudden calamity should have deprived his sons
of the use of their limbs or their senses, or lest their attendants
should have failed to provide them with everything the earth affords
delightful to the soul of man.'

"'The king, our father's spirit is disturbed with smoke,' replied the
eldest prince, 'or he never would have sent such an old fellow as you
with such an answer as that. What's the use of the use of one's
limbs, or one's senses, or all the earth affords delightful to the
soul of man, if we're sick of it all? Just go back and tell him
we've got everything, and are sick of everything, and can do
everything, and don't care to do anything, because everything is so
'slow;' so we will trouble him to find us something fresh to do.
There! is that clear enough, old gentleman?'

"'The king, your father,' answered the Dervish, 'has provided against
even that emergency; I am come to tell you of something fresh to see
and to do.'

"No sooner had the Dervish uttered these words, than the four princes
jumped up from the ottoman in the most lively and vigorous manner,
and clamoured to know what it was, expressing their hope that it was
a 'jolly lark.'

"In answer to which the Dervish, lifting himself up in a commanding
manner, stretched out his arm, and exclaimed, in a solemn voice:-

"'Young men, you have exhausted happiness. Nothing new remains in
the world for you, but misery and want. Follow me!'

"There was something so unusual about the tone of this address, and
it was uttered in so imposing a manner, that the young princes were,
as it were, taken by storm, and they followed the Dervish and Hakim,
without a word of inquiry or objection.

"And he led them away from the palace on the beautiful hill--away
from all the sights and sounds that were collected together there to
delight the soul of man with both bodily and intellectual enjoyment--
down into the city in the valley, among the close-packed habitations
of common men, congregated there to labour, and just exist, and then

"And presently the Dervish and the Hakim spoke together, and then the
Hakim led the way through a gloomy by-street, till he came to a
habitation into which he entered, and the rest followed without a
word. And there, stretched upon a pallet, wasted and worn with pain,
lay a youth scarcely older than the young princes themselves, the
lower part of whose body was wrapped round with bandages, and who was
unable to move.

"The Hakim proceeded at once to unloosen the fastenings, and to
examine the limbs of the sufferer. They had been crushed by a
frightful accident, while working for his daily bread, in the
quarries of marble near the palace on the hill.

"'Is there no hope, my father?' he ejaculated in agony as the bruised
thighs were exposed to the light, revealing a spectacle from which
the princes turned horrified away.

"But the Dervish stood between them and the door, and motioned them

"'Is there no hope?' repeated the youth. 'Shall I never again tread
the earth in the freedom of health and strength? never again climb
the mountain-side to taste the sweet breath of heaven? never again
even step across this narrow room, to look forth into the narrow

"Sobs of distress here broke from the speaker; and, covering his face
with his hands, he awaited the Hakim's reply. But while the latter
bent down to whisper his answer, the Dervish addressed himself to the
trembling princes:-

"'Learn here, at last,' said he, 'the value of those limbs, the
power of using which you look upon with such thankless indifference.
As it is with this youth to-day, so may it be with you to-morrow, if
the decree goes forth from on high. Bid me not again return to your
father to tell him you are weary of a blessing, the loss of which
would overwhelm you with despair.'

"The young princes," continued Aunt Judy, were, as their father had
said, but children yet; that is to say, although they were fourteen
or fifteen years old, they were childish, in not having reflected or
learnt to reason. But they were not hard-hearted at bottom. Their
tenderness for others had never been called out during their life of
self-indulgence, but the sight of this young man's condition, whom
they personally knew as one who had at times been permitted to come
up and join in their games, over-powered them with dismay.

"They entreated the Hakim to say if nothing could be done, and when
he told them that a nurse, and better food, and the discourse of a
wise companion, were all essential for the recovery of the patient,
there was not, to say the truth, one among them who was not ready
with promises of assistance, and even offers of personal help.

"And now, bidding adieu to this youthful sufferer, whose distress
seemed to receive a sudden calm from the sympathy the young princes
betrayed, the Hakim led the way to another part of the town, where he
entered a house of rather better description, in a small room of
which they found a pale, middle-aged man, who was engaged in making a
coarse sort of netting for trees. Hearing the noise of the entrance,
he looked up, and asked who it was, but with no change of
countenance, or apparent recognition of anyone there. But as soon as
the Hakim had uttered the words 'It is I,' a gleam of delight stole
over the pale face, and the man, rising from his chair, stretched out
his arms to the Hakim, entreating him to approach.

"And then the young princes saw that the pale man was blind.

"'Is there any change, oh Cassian?' inquired the Hakim, kindly.

"'None, my father,' answered the blind man, in a subdued tone. 'But
shall I murmur at what is appointed? Surely not in vain was the
privilege granted me, of transcribing the manuscripts which repose on
the golden shelves in the palace of the royal princes. Surely not in
vain did I gather, from the treasures of ancient wisdom, and the
divine songs of the poets, sources of consolation for the suffering
children of men.'

"'And has anyone been of late to read to you?' asked the Hakim.

"But this inquiry the blind man seemed scarcely able to answer. Big
tears gathered into the sightless eyes, and folding his hands across
his bosom, he murmured out:-

"'None, oh my father. Not to everyone is it permitted to trace the
characters of light in which the wise have recorded their wisdom. I
alone of my family knew the secret. I alone suffer now. But shall I
not submit to this also with a cheerful spirit? It is written, and
it behoves me to submit.'

"And, with tears streaming over his cheeks, the blind man took up the
netting which he had laid aside, and forced himself to the work.

"'Seest thou!' exclaimed the Dervish, turning to the prince who stood
next him, apparently absorbed in contemplating the scene. 'Seest
thou how precious are the powers thou hast wearied of in the spring-
time of life? How dear are the opportunities thou hast not cared to
delight in? Bid me not again return to the king, your father, to
tell him his sons can find no pleasure in blessings, the deprivation
of which they themselves would feel to be the shutting out of the sun
from the soul.'

"Then the young prince to whom the Dervish addressed himself, wept
bitterly, and begged to be allowed to visit the blind man from time
to time, and read to him out of the manuscripts that reposed on the
golden shelves in the palace on the hill; and which, he now learnt
for the first time, had been transcribed for his use, and that of his
brothers, by the skill of the sufferer before him.

"And when the blind man clasped his hands over his head, and would
have prostrated himself on the ground, in gratitude to him who spoke,
asking who the charitable pitier of the afflicted could be, the
prince embraced him as if he had been his brother, forced him back
gently into his seat, and bidding him await him at that hour on the
morrow, followed the Hakim from the house.

"And now the Dervish and Hakim spoke together once again, and the
place they visited next was of a very different description.

"Enclosed within walls, and limited in extent, because in the
outskirts of a populous town, the garden into which they presently
entered, was--though but as a drop in comparison with the ocean--no
unworthy rival of the gorgeous pleasure-grounds of the palace.
There, too, the roses unfolded themselves in their glory to the sun,
tiny fountains scattered their cooling spray around, and singing-
birds, suspended on overshadowing trees, of this scene of miniature
beauty a venerable was perceived, seated under the shadow of an
arbour, in front of a table on which were scattered manuscripts,
papers, parchments, and dried plants, and in one corner of which were
laid a set of tablets and writing materials.

"Although the door by which they entered had fallen to, with a noise
as they passed through, the old man did not seem to be aware of it,
nor did he notice their presence until they came so near, that their
shadows fell on some of the papers on the table. Then, indeed, he
looked suddenly up, and with a smile and gesture of delight, bade
them welcome.

"It was not difficult to divine that the old man had lost the sense
of hearing, and the Dervish, taking up the tablets from the table,
wrote upon them the following words, which he showed to the young
princes, before presenting them to him for whom they were intended:-

"'Hast thou not wearied yet, oh brother, of thy narrow garden, and
the ever-recurring succession of flowers, and thy study of the
secrets of Nature?'

"Whereat the deaf man smiled again, and wrote upon the tablets:-

"'Can anyone weary of tracing out the skilful providence of the
Divine Mind? Is it not a world within a world, oh my brother, and
inexhaustible in itself?'

"The youngest prince pressed forward to read the answer, and having
read it, turned to the Dervish, and said, 'Ask him why the singing-
birds are suspended in the garden, whose voices he cannot hear.'

"'Write on the tablet, my son,' said the Dervish; and when he had
written it, the old man answered, in the same manner as before:-

"'I would remember my infirmity, my son, lest my soul should be tied
to the beauties of the visible world, but now when I see the
twittering bills of the feathered songsters, I remember that one
sense has departed, and that the others must follow; and I prepare
myself for death, trusting that those who have rejoiced in the Divine
Mind--however imperfectly--here, may rejoice yet more hereafter, when
no sense or power shall be wanting!'

"After this, the venerable old man led them to a secluded corner of
the garden, where his young son was instructing one portion of a
class of children from the secrets of his father's manuscripts, while
another set of youngsters were engaged in cultivating flowers, by
regular instruction and rule. Many a bright, cheerful face looked up
at the old man and his visitors as they passed, but no one seemed to
wish to leave his work, or his lesson, or the kind young tutor who
ruled among them.

"'We have wasted our lives, oh my father!' exclaimed the young
princes, as they passed from this sight. 'Tell us, may we not come
back again here, to learn true wisdom from this man and his son?'

"Having obtained the old man's willing consent to his, the Hakim
retiring conducted his companions back into the streets; and the
young princes, whose eyes were now opened to the instruction they
were receiving, came up to the Dervish, and said:-

"'Oh, wise Dervish, we have learnt the lesson you would teach, and we
know now that it is but a folly, and a mockery, and a lie, when a man
says that he has nothing to do. There is enough to do for all men,
if their minds are directed right! Have I not spoken well?'

"'Thou hast spoken well according to thy knowledge,' answered the
Dervish, 'but thou hast yet another lesson to learn.'

"The prince was silenced, and the Dervish and Hakim hurried forward
to a still different part of the city, where several trades were
carried on, and where in one place they came upon an open square,
about which a number of gaunt, wild-looking men, were lounging or
sitting; unoccupied, listless, and sad.

"'This is wrong, my father, is it not?' inquired one of the princes;
but the Dervish, instead of answering him, addressed a man who was
standing somewhat apart from the others, and inquired why he was
loitering there in idleness, instead of occupying himself in some
honest manner?

"The man laughed a bitter mocking laugh, and turning to his
companions, shouted out, 'Hear what the wise man asks! When trade
has failed, and no one wants our labour, he asks us why we stand
idling here!' Then, facing the Dervish, he continued, 'Do you not
know, can you not see, oh teacher of the blind, that we have got
NOTHING TO DO?--NOTHING TO DO!' he repeated with a loud cry--'NOTHING
TO DO! with hearts willing to work, and hands able to work,'--(here
he stretched out his bared, muscular arm to the Dervish,)--'and wife
and children calling out for food! Give us SOMETHING TO DO, thou
preacher of virtue and industry,' he concluded, throwing himself on
the ground in anguish; 'or, at any rate, cease to mock us with the
solemn inquiry of a fool.'

"'Oh, my father, my father,' cried the young princes, pressing
forward, 'this is the worst, the very worst of all! All things can
be borne, but this dire reality of having NOTHING TO DO. Let us find
them something to do. Let us tear up our gardens, plough up our
lawns, and pleasure-grounds, so that we do but find work for these
men, and save their children and wives from hunger.'

"'And themselves from crime,' added the Dervish solemnly. Then
quitting his companions, he went into the crowd of men, and made
known to them in a few hurried words, that, by the order of their
young princes, there would, before another day had dawned, be
something found to do for them all.

"The cheer of gratitude which followed this announcement, thrilled
through the heart of those who had been enabled to offer the boon,
and so overpowered them, that, after a liberal distribution of coin
to the necessitous labourers, they gladly hurried away.

"'Now my task is ended,' cried the Dervish, as they retraced their
steps to the palace on the hill. 'My sons, you have seen the sacred
sorrow which may attach to the bitter complaint of having NOTHING TO
DO. Henceforth seal your lips over the words, for, in all other
cases but this, they are, as you yourselves have said, a folly, a
mockery, and a lie.'

"It is scarcely necessary to add," continued Aunt Judy, "that the
young princes returned to the palace in a very different state of
mind from that in which they left it. They had now so many things to
do in prospect, so much to plan and inquire about, that when the
night closed upon them, they wondered how the day had gone, and
grudged the necessary hours of sleep. But on the morrow, just as
they were eagerly recommencing their left-off consultations, the
Dervish appeared among them, and suggested that their first duty
still remained unthought of.

"The incomparable sons were now really surprised, for they had been
flattering themselves they were most laudably employed. But the
Dervish reminded them, that, although their duty to mankind in
general was great, their duty to their father in particular was yet
greater, and that it behoved them to set his mind at rest, by
assuring him, that henceforth they would not prevent him from smoking
his pipe in peace, by restless discontent, and disturbing messages
and wants.

"To this the young princes readily agreed, and thoroughly ashamed, on
reflection, of the years of harass with which they, in their
thoughtless ingratitude, had worried poor King Schelim, they repaired
to his presence, and without entering into unnecessary explanations,
(which he would not have understood,) assured him that they were
perfectly happy, that they had got plenty to do, as well as
everything to enjoy, that they were very sorry they had tormented him
for so long a period of his life, but that they begged to be
forgiven, and would never do so again!

"King Schelim was uncommonly pleased with what they said, although he
had to lay down his pipe for a few minutes to receive their
salutations, and give his in return; after which they returned to
their palace on the hill, and led thenceforward useful, intelligent,
and therefore happy lives, reforming grievances, consoling sorrows,
and taking particular care that everybody had the opportunity of

"And as they never again disturbed their father King Schelim, with
foolish messages, he smoked his pipe in peace to the end of his

"Nice old Schelim!" observed No. 8, when Aunt Judy's pause showed
that the story was done. A conclusion which made the other little
ones laugh; but now Aunt Judy spoke again.

"You like the story, all of you?"

Could there be a doubt about it? No! "Schelim, King of the Hills,
and his four sons," was one of Aunt Judy's very, very, very, best
inventions. But they had the happy knack of always thinking so of
the last they heard.

"And yet there is a flaw in it," said Aunt Judy.

"Aunt Judy!" exclaimed several voices at once, in a tone of

"Yes; I mean in the moral:" pursued she, "there is no Christianity in
the teaching, and therefore it is not perfect, although it is all
very good as far as it goes."

"But they were eastern people, and I suppose Mahometans or Brahmins,"
suggested No. 4.

"Exactly; and, therefore, I could not give them Christian principles;
and, therefore, although I have made my four princes turn out very
well, and do what was right, for the rest of their lives (as I had a
right to do); yet it is only proper I should explain, that I do not
believe any people can be DEPENDED UPON for doing right, except when
they live upon Christian principles, and are helped by the grace of
God, to fulfil His will, as revealed to us by His Son Jesus Christ.

"Certainly it is always more REASONABLE to do right than wrong, even
when the wrong may seem most pleasant at the moment; because, as all
people of sense know, doing right is most for their own happiness, as
well as for everybody else's, even in this world.

"But although the knowledge of this may influence us when we are in a
sober enough state of mind to think about it calmly, the inducement
is not a sufficiently strong one to be relied upon as a safe-guard,
when storms of passion and strong temptations come upon us. In such
cases it very often goes for nothing, and then it is a perfect chance
which way a person acts.

"Even in the matter of doing good to others, we need the Christian
principle as our motive, or we may be often tempted to give it up, or
even to be as cruel at some moments, as we are kind at others. It is
very pleasant, no doubt, to do good, and be charitable, when the
feeling comes into the heart, but the mere pleasure is apt to cease,
if we find people thankless or stupid, and that our labours seem to
have been in vain. And what a temptation there is, then, to turn
away in disgust, unless we are acting upon Christ's commands, and can
bear in mind, that even when the pleasure ends, the duty remains.

"And now," said Aunt Judy in conclusion, "a kiss for the story-teller
all round, if you please. She has had an invitation, and is going
from home to-morrow."

"Oh, Aunt Judy!" ejaculated the little ones, in not the most cheerful
of tones.

"Well," cried Aunt Judy, looking at them and laughing, "you don't
mean to say that you will not find PLENTY TO DO, and PLENTY TO ENJOY
while I am away? Come, I mean to write to you all by turns, and I
shall inquire in my letters whether you have remembered, TO YOUR
EDIFICATION, the story of Schelim, King of the Hills, and his four


{1} "Weide," pasture, grass.

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