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These are American popular lessons, because they are designed for any, or all of the children of the American people.
Chiefly selected, &c. is a phrase, in the titlepage-selected means picked out. If you have a number of apples, and choose some of the best of them to give away, you select the best. Mrs. Barbauld, Miss Edgeworth, and some other good friends of children, have written a great number of books, and beautiful stories, for them. There are more of these books than some of you can buy; there are parts of them which you cannot understand. I have selected from them some parts that you can understand; I hope they will do you good.
THE LITTLE DOG TRUSTY ;
OR, THE LIAR, AND THE BOY OF TRUTH
VERY little children do not know what is meant by a liar, and a boy of truth.
Very little children, when they are asked a question, say "yes," and "no," without knowing the meaning of the words; but you, children, who can speak quite plain, and who can tell, by words, what you wish for, and what you want, and what you have seen, and what you have done; you, who understand what is meant by the words, "I have done it," or, "I have not," you can understand what is meant by a liar, and a boy of truth.
Frank and Robert were two little boys about eight years old. Whenever Frank did any thing wrong he always told his father and mother of it; and when any body asked him about any thing which he had done or said, he always told the truth; so that everybody who knew him believed him: but nobody who knew his brother Robert, believed a word which he said, because he used to tell lies.
Whenever Robert did any thing wrong, he never ran to his father or mother to tell them of it, but when they asked him about it, he denied it, and said he had not done the things which he had done.
The reason that Robert told lies was, because
he was afraid of being punished for his faults if he confessed them. He was a coward, and could not bear the least pain; but Frank was a brave boy, and could bear to be punished for little faults: his mother never punished him so much for such little faults, as she did Robert for the lies which he told, and which she found out afterwards.
One evening these little boys were playing together, in a room by themselves; their mother was ironing in the next room, and their father was out at work in the fields, so there was nobody in the room with Robert and Frank; but there was a little dog called Trusty, lying by the fire-side.
Trusty was a pretty playful littie dog, and the children were very fond of him.
"Come," said Robert to Frank, "there is Trusty lying beside the fire asleep; let us go and waken him, and he will play with us."
"O yes, do let us," said Frank. So they both ran together towards the hearth, to waken the dog.
There was a basin of milk standing upon the hearth, and the little boys did not see whereabouts it stood, for it was behind them; as they were both playing with the dog, they kicked it with their feet, and threw it down, and the basin broke, and all the milk ran out of it over the hearth, and about the floor. When the little boys saw what they had done, they were very sorry and frightened; but they did not know what to do; they stood for some time looking at the broken basin, and the milk, without speaking.
Robert spoke first.
"So we shall have no milk for supper tonight," said he, and he sighed.
"No milk for supper?-Why not?"-said Frank; "is there no more milk in the house?"
"Yes, but we shall have none of it; for do you not remember last Monday, when we threw down the milk, my mother said we were very careless, and that the next time we did so, we should have none, and this is the next time? so we shall have no milk for supper to-night."
"Well then," said Frank, "we must do without it, that's all: we will take more care another time; there's no great harm done; come let us run and tell my mother, you know she bid us always tell her directly when we broke any thing; so come," said he, taking hold of his brother's hand.
"I will come soon," said Robert; "don't be in such hurry, Frank-can't you stay a minute?" So Frank staid; and then he said, "come now, Robert." But Robert answered, "stay a little longer for I dare not go yet-I am afraid."
Little boys, I advise you never be afraid to tell the truth; never say, "stay a minute," and "stay a little longer;" but run directly and tell of what you have done that is wrong. The longer you stay the more afraid you will grow, till at last, perhaps, you will not dare to tell the truth at all. Read what happened to Robert. The longer he staid, the more unwilling he was to go to tell his mother that he had thrown down the milk, and at last he pulled his hand away from his brother, and cried, "I won't go at all, Frank, can't you go by yourself?"
Yes," said Frank, "so I will; I am not
afraid to go by myself; I only waited for you out of good nature, because I thought you would like to tell the truth too."
"Yes, so I will; I mean to tell the truth when I am asked; but I need not go now, when I don't choose it :--and why need you go either? Can't you wait here?-Surely my mother can see the milk when she comes in."
Frank said no more; but as his brother would not come, he went without him. He opened the door of the next room where he thought his mother was ironing; but when he went in, he saw that she had gone to fetch some more clothes to iron. The clothes, he knew, were hanging on the bushes in the garden; so he thought his mother was gone there; and he ran after her, to tell what had happened.
Now whilst Frank was gone, Robert was left in the room by himself; and all the while he was alone, he was thinking of some excuses to make to his mother; and he was sorry that Frank was gone to tell her the truth. He said to himself, "If Frank and I both were to say, that we did not throw down the basin, she would believe us, and we should have milk for supper I am very sorry Frank would go to tell her
Just as he said this to himself, he heard his mother coming down stairs-" Oh ho!" said he to himself," then my mother has not been out in the garden, so Frank has not met her, and cannot have told her; now I may say what I please."
Then this naughty, cowardly boy, determin藤 ed to tell his mother a lie.