Mrs. Bertram sat reading a book one morning, or trying to. It was not easy to do so, for her little boy, Roger, was out in the hall playing with his drum. Suddenly the drumming ceased, and in a moment Roger rushed into the room crying as if his heart would
"I've burst it. I've burst it," he
"Your drum asked his mother. "How
did you do that?"
"I was beating it with the poker
and the tongs and--"
"With the poker and tongs!" exclaimed
his mother. "Why, where were your drum-sticks?"
Then Roger stopped crying, and hung
his head with shame.
"Where are your drum-sticks?" asked
his mother, again.
"I--I--don't know," sobbed Roger.
"Have you lost those, too?" said
Mrs. Bertram. She needed no words for answer. Roger's manner was quite
enough. "You know, dear, what I said would happen the next time you lost
"Yes," said Roger, "I you said I
must give away all my toys to some little boys who would take care of them."
"Yes," said his mother. "I see you
remember. I shall send them all to-night to the Children's Hospital."
"But, mama," said Roger, "if I don't
have any toys to take care of, how can I learn to take care of them?"
Mrs. Bertram had to turn away so
that Roger should not see her smile.
"I shall have to think of some other
way to teach you to be careful. Now go and bring me all your toys."
Roger went out of the room to do
as his mother said. When he had gone, Mrs. Bertram sat thinking until he
"I have decided that I want you to
dust the library every morning."
Roger looked astonished. "Boys don't
dust," he said.
"Sometimes," said his mother, smilingly.
"Your Uncle Fred had to dust his own room when he was at West Point. Now
if you dust the library every morning for two months faithfully, and do
not break a single ornament, I shall know you have grown careful in one
way, and that may help you to be careful in another."
The next morning Roger began his
work. At first he disliked it very much, but after a while he grew very
particular. It was not pleasant to be without any toys, and he determined
to earn them.
The day when his trial of two months
would be up, would be Christmas Day. He did not know if his presents this
year would be toys or useful things. All his mother had said about his
work was, "My dear, you are improving."
Christmas night came, and with it
a beautiful tree. Imagine Roger's delight when he saw on and about it new
skates, a new sled, a new violin and a new drum.
And up in the highest branches, in
letters of gold, these words: "For the boy who has proved he can be careful
when he tries."
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