"No!" Clear, sharp, and ringing, with an emphasis which could not fail to arrest attention.

"I don't often hear such a negative as that," remarked one gentleman to another as they were passing the playground.

"It is not often any one hears it. The boy who uttered it can say 'yes,' too, quite as emphatically. He is a newcomer here, an orphan, who lives with his uncle, about two miles off. 

He walks in every morning, bringing his lunch, and walks back at night. He works enough, too, to pay his board, and does more toward running his uncle's farm than the old man does himself. He is the coarsest dressed scholar in the school, and the greatest favorite. Everybody knows just what to expect of him."

"Quite a character. I should like to see him. Boys of such a sturdy make-up are getting to be scarce."

"That is true; and if you wish to see Ned, come this way."  They moved on a few steps, pausing by an open gate near which a group of lads were discussing some exciting question.

"It isn't right, and I won't have anything to do with it. When I say no, I mean it."

"Well, anyway, you needn't speak so loud and tell everybody about it," was responded impatiently to this declaration.

"I'm willing everybody should hear what I've got to say about it. I won't take anything that don't belong to me, and I won't drink cider anyway."

"Such a fuss about a little fun! It's just what we might have expected. 

You never go in for fun."

"I never go in for doing wrong. I told you no, to begin with. And you're the ones to blame if there's been any fuss."

"Ned Dunlap, I should like to see you a minute."

"Yes, sir." And the boy removed his hat as he passed through the gate, and waited to hear what Mr. Palmer might say to him.

"Has your uncle any apples to sell?"

"No, sir. He had some, but he has sold them. I've got two bushels that were my share for picking. Should you like to buy them, sir?"

"Yes, if we can agree on the price. 

Do you know how much they are worth?"

"Yes, sir."

"All right, then, I will call for them, and you may call at my house for the pay."

The short interview afforded the stranger an opportunity to observe Ned Dunlap closely. The next day a call was made at his uncle's, and although years elapsed before he knew what a friend he had gained that day, his fortune was assured. After he had grown to manhood, and had accepted a lucrative position which was not of his seeking, he asked why it had been offered him.

"Because I knew you could say 'no' if occasion required," answered his employer. "No” was the first word I heard you speak, and you spoke it with a will. More people, old and young, are ruined for want of using that word than from any other cause. 

They don't wish to do wrong, but they hesitate and parley until the tempter has them fast. The boy or girl who is not afraid to say 'no' is reasonably certain of making an honorable man or woman."