John's Bright Idea
Mrs. Meredith was a most kind and thoughtful woman. She spent a great deal of time visiting the poor. One morning she told her children about a family which she had visited the day before. There was a man sick in bed, his wife who took care of him, and could not go out to work, and their little boy. The little boy--his name was Bernard--had interested her very much.
"I wish you could see him," she said to her own children, John, Harry, and Clara, "he is such a help to his mother. He wants very much to earn some money, but I don't see what he can do."
After their mother had left the room, the children sat thinking about little Bernard.
"I wish we could help him to earn money," said little Clara.
"So do I, said Harry.
For some moments John said nothing, but, suddenly, he sprang to his feet and cried:
"I have an idea!"
The other children also jumped up all attention. When John had an idea, it was sure to be a good one.
"I tell you what we can do," said John. "You know that big box of corn Uncle Sam sent us for popping? Well, we can pop it, and put it into paper bags, and Bernard can take it round to the houses and sell."
When Mrs. Meredith heard of John's idea, she, too, thought it a good one.
Very soon the children were busy popping the corn, while their mother went out to buy the paper bags. When she came back, she brought Bernard with her.
In a short time, he started out on his new business, and, much sooner than could be expected, returned with an empty basket.
Tucked into one of his mittens were ten nickels. He had never earned so much money before in his life. When he found that it was all to be his, he was so delighted he could hardly speak, but his bright smiling face spoke for him. After he had run home to take the money to his mother, John said:
"We have corn enough left to send Bernard out ever so many times. May we do it again?"
"Yes, said Mrs. Meredith, "you may send him every Saturday morning, if you will pop the corn for him yourselves. John, will you agree to take charge of the work?"
"Indeed I will," replied John, and he kept his word. For many weeks, every Saturday morning, no matter what plan was on foot, no matter how good the coasting or skating, he saw that the corn was all popped, the paper bags filled, and arranged in the basket when Bernard arrived.
People began to watch for the "little pop-corn boy," and every week he had at least fifty cents to take home, and often more. And all this was because of John's bright idea, and the way he carried it out.
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