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shall have half of my piece if mother can't spare any of the loaf; he looks so cold and hungry.
Meanwhile his father bade the stranger come in, as he “was quite welcome to rest and shelter, if he pleased, for two hours instead of one."
“Many thanks,” said the stranger, " for your kind welcome. I have walked
a long way in the snow already, and “ the sight of your blazing fire was too "tempting to be passed by.” As he said
. this, he placed his large bundle on the floor, and took a stool for himself near the fire.
“ And so, my little man,” said he to Tom, "you would give me half your
, slice of bread, would you ?”
Why,” replied Tom, “I have nearly eaten the whole of it now, but you shall have all that is left."
“Give it to me, then, at once, or I shall get none.
Tom gave it at once to the man, who said he was very hungry, thanked him for his good nature, and soon finished what was left of the slice of bread.
The children looked on in wonder. The pedler had a sun-burnt, merry face, and made them laugh when they caught
“He is a sailor," said little Frank, “and I wonder what he has got in that great bundle.” He said this very softly to his mother, but the pedler heard the words, and replied, “Have patience, and
you shall see.”
Meanwhile he went on talking to the woodman about the village,-how far it was off, and if the road was a good one.
At last he turned to the children, and said, “I am a pedler, and that “ bundle is my pack, in which I carry all my goods for sale.”
As he said this, he began to untie the bundle. The first thing he took out from it was a loaf of bread and some slices of meat.
The children then thought to themselves that he need not have eaten Tom's supper.
"You see,” said the man, “I am not so badly off for a supper as you thought. I ate Tom's slice of bread because he
gave it to me so freely; and now he shall have supper with his father and mother and me.
And then they took seats round the table, and made a hearty supper.
It was the first slice of meat Tom ever ate. for his supper; and he was much pleased with it. In fact, they had not had a taste of meat since Christmas-day, when the_squire sent them a leg of mutton. They were only too glad to have potatoes and bread.
Tom much wished to give some of his bread and meat to his brothers and sisters; but the pedler made him eat it all himself; he said that “they had already eaten their whole supper."
Frank, Tom's younger brother, was a curious, meddling boy, and very fond of touching what was not his own; so, while supper was going on, he crept slily over to the pack on the floor, and began peeping into it, and touching the bundles ;
and at last his sister did the
“How I wish it was all mine,” said Frank, “all these bundles : I'm sure he could spare one.”
Frank said this very softly to his sister; but the pedler had sharp ears, and heard him plainly.
“My boy,” said he, “ those goods are “not yours, they are mine; I think you
ought to know better than to covet " them.”
Tom's mother then said it was time for them all to go to bed, but the pedler begged hard for them to stay until he had opened one or two of his bundles.
In a few moments he had opened two --one full of small books with gay and bright pictures, and the other of pocketknives of all kinds and sizes. Tom's eyes sparkled with delight as he saw the last opened, for of all things in the world he longed for a knife; but he said not a word.
“ There !” said the pedler ; “all good knives, and very cheap;" but no one had a penny to spend on knives, whether cheap or dear.
So the pedler began at once to pack them up again. One knife, however, he laid down upon the table. When his pack
was all tied up as before, he took up this knife, and put it into Tom's hand.
“ You can't pay me for it now, I “ know,” said the pedler ; “but you shall
pay me by a halfpenny or a penny at “ a time, when I call here on my round “ through the country.
sure “ that you, who were ready to give up
, “ half your bread to a poor man, are too “ honest a boy to forget to pay your “ debts."
EUROPE is joined to Asia on the east side: on the other three sides of it there is the sea. The
on the north side of Europe is often called the Frozen Ocean, because it is covered with ice during a great part of the