Tell A Lie, NEVER

  The Honest Boy,

LITTLE EDWARD always spoke the truth. I

don't know that he ever in his life told a lie.

Nor would he act a lie.  In the school where

he went, it was a rule that there should be no

whispering among the scholars during school 

hours, without leave from the teacher. Every

one who broke the rule had a bad mark.  

Edward's father promised him a little 

wheelbarrow at the end of the school-term, 

if he had none. 

The school-house stood in a beautiful place,

near a fine grove where the birds sang and

built their nests, and the lively little squirrels

leaped and played.

There was a rail fence behind the schoolhouse

not far from the window where Edward

sat. One day, a bold and merry little red squirrel

came running fast along the fence, and seating

itself on the topmost rail, seemed to be looking

into the school-room. It so happened that

just then Edward raised his eyes from his book.

He forgot himself and the teacher's rule about

whispering: "See, see that squirrel!" he 

exclaimed to John, the boy next him.

"He wants to come to school," said John,

 beginning to laugh.

"Oh, I forgot; we must not talk," said Edward.

The squirrel with a bound came down from

its high seat towards the window.

"He's coming to school sure enough," said

John; "we'll have him in our class won't we?"

The teacher heard him, and asked if he was

not breaking the rule?

"I wasn't talking much," replied John, bending

his head low to his book, and studying

very fast with his lips.

"Still you were talking, and I must give you

a bad mart," said the teacher.

Edward thought of the wheelbarrow, but like

a manly, honest boy he spoke out, "I am sorry,

sir; but I whispered without leave too."

"I did not see you," said the teacher.

"I talked first; perhaps John wouldn't have

talked if it had not been for me. I forgot the

rule a minute."

"You must have a bad mark too, then," said

the teacher; " but you are an honest boy to own

the truth and suffer disgrace, rather then set

still and act a lie. .You did wrong to disobey,

but I am very glad you were honorable enough

to confess it, and dutiful enough to be sorry for


Edward had never had a bad mark before,

and felt the shame of it very much. He also

thought he had lost the wheelbarrow, with which

he had planned so many fine plays of drawing

little loads of boards, peddler's wares, and

 garden produce. He felt as if he should cry, but

 he held back his tears, and studied away as well

as he could, with a heavy heart.

One morning after this, when Edward was

the first one at school, he was surprised to see

the teacher's inkstand upset, the ink spilt over

the table, and dripping upon the floor. When

the teacher came, and asked who did this 

mischief, no one at first answered; but on further

inquiry, several said at once, "It was so when

I came, and there was nobody here but Edward."

"Did you do it Edward?" said the teacher.

"No sir."

"Somebody must have done it. All was

right when I unlocked the school-house door

and went for a walk. Who was the first at

school this morning?"

"Edward! Edward!" was the answer. 

Edward joined with the others: "There was

no one here when I came, but the ink was spilt


   "It is very strange," said the teacher, "but

I believe you; I know you are an honest boy,

for you confessed the whispering when no one

accused you. We will wait, and I am sure the

guilty one will be found out."

The children looked around, wondering who

the guilty one was, and thinking how badly he

must feel. "I know it wasn't Edward," they

said to each other, "for he tells when he does

wrong, though nobody knows it. He wouldn't

keep still the other day to save his mark, and a

beautiful wheelbarrow, too, that his father was

going to give him." "Aint he a good boy?"

"Who could have spilled the ink? So they

talked till school began, but found out nothing.

School was not over, however, before there

was a giggling among the little ones nearest the

table, and some of them pressed their hands

tightly over their mouths to keep it.

"Children," said the teacher, in a tone of reproof,

"What is the matter?"

Instead of a drawer, there was but a shelf in

the table, and on the front edge of this sat a

cunning little squirrel, peeping forth to see if he

might safely venture from his hiding-place. At

sight of the teacher, he drew back into his 

corner, and was caught by him.

"Here, children," he said, as he drew him

out, "Here is the ink-spiller, a little rogue of a

squirrel; his feet are dabbled with ink now. I

thought we should find out who did the mischief.

I felt certain it was not Edward. "Here,

Edward," he added, turning to him, "he has

cleared you, and you may have him."

As Edward took him, he saw that he was the

very one that he and John had seen looking in

at the window. He put him in his dinner basket

till the noon recess, and then fed and let him

go, to run and frolic with his fellows as he

pleased. The squirrel did not forget his good

fare, but all the summer frisked and played

about the school-house. The children were

careful not to alarm him, and he became almost

tame. They called him "Squirrel Ned," and

sometimes "Squirrel Ned;" and many a time he

made them think" of the boy who would not act

a lie, and whose word could be believed when

everything seemed to be against it.