The  Broken  Saw 


A BOY  went  to  live with  a  man  who was 

accounted  a  hard  master.  He  never  kept 

his boys;  they ran  away  or gave notice they 

meant to  quit;  so  he  was half his time  with- 

out and in search of boys.  The work was not 

very  hard opening  and  sweeping  out  the 

shop,  chopping wood,  going on  errands, and 

helping round.  At last, Sam Fisher went to 

live  with  him.  "Sam's  a  good  boy,"  said 

his mother.  "I should  like  to  see  a  boy 

now-a-days that had  a spark of goodness  in 

him," growled the  new master.

It is  always bad to begin with a man who 

has no  confidence in  you;  because,  do  your 

best, you  are  likely to  have  little  credit for 

it.  However, Sam  thought  he  would  try; 

the wages were good, and his mother wanted 

him  to  go.  Sam  had  been  there  but  three 

days  before, in sawing  a  cross-grained  stick 

of wood, he broke the saw.  He was a  little 

frightened.  He  knew  he  was  careful,  and 

he  knew he  was  a  pretty good  sawyer,  too, 

for  a  boy of  his  age;  nevertheless,  the  saw 

broke in  his hands.

"And Mr.  Jones  will  thrash  you for  it," 

said  another boy who  was in  the wood-house 

with him.  "Why, of course I didn't mean it, 

and  accidents  will  happen  to  the  best  of 

folks,"  said  Sam,  looking  with  a  very    

sorrowful air on the  broken  saw.  "Mr. Jones 

never makes  allowance," said the other boy; 

"I never saw  anything like  him.  That  Bill 

might have staid,  only that he jumped into a 

hen's nest  and  broke her  eggs.  He darn't 

tell of it;  but Mr.  Jones kept suspecting and 

suspecting,  and  laid  everything  out  of  the 

way to  Bill,  whether  Bill  was  to  blame  or 

not, till Bill couldn't stand it, and wouldn't."

"Did he tell Mr. Jones about  the  eggs?' 

asked  Sam.  "No," said the boy;  "he  was 

afraid;  Mr.  Jones has  got  such  a  temper." 

"I think he'd  better  owned  just  for  once," 

said  Sam.  "I suspect you'll find it better to 

preach than to practice," said the boy.

"I'd run away before I'd tell him;" and he 

turned on  his heel  and  left  poor  Sam  alone 

with his broken saw.

The poor boy did not feel very comfortable 

nor happy.  He shut up the wood-house, walked 

out into the  garden,  and then went up to  his 

little chamber under  the  eaves.  He wished 

he  could  tell Mrs. Jones;  but she wasn't  

sociable,  and he  would rather  not,  "Oh,  my 

God," said Sam, falling upon his knees, "help 

me  to  do the thing that is  right."

I do not know what time it was, but when 

Mr.  Jones came into the house the boy heard 

him.  He  got up, crept down stairs,  and  met 

Mr. Jones in the kitchen.

"Sir," said  Sam,  "I broke  your saw,  and 

I thought I'd  come and tell  you, before  you 

saw it in  the morning."

"I should  think morning  soon  enough  to 

tell of your carelessness.  Why do you come 

down  to-night."

"Because," said  Sam,  "I was  afraid  if I 

put  it  off I  might  be  tempted  to  tell  a  lie 

about it.  I'm sorry I broke  it;  but  I  tried 

to be  careful."

Mr. Jones looked at the boy from head  to 

foot, then  stretching  out  his  hand,  "There, 

Sam," he said heartily,  "give me  your hand. 

Shake hands; I'll trust  you,  Sam.  That's 

right;  that's right.  Go to bed, boy.  Never 

fear.  I'm glad the saw broke; it shows the 

mettle's in  you.  Go to bed."

Mr. Jones  was fairly won.  Never were 

better friends  after  that  than  Sam  and  he. 

Sam thinks  justice  has  not  been  done  Mr. 

Jones.  If the boys had treated him honestly 

and  "above-board"  he  would  have been  a 

good man to live with.  It  was  their conduct 

which soured  and  made;  him  suspicious.  I 

do  not  know  how  this  is;  I  only  know 

that Sam  Fisher finds  in  Mr.  Jones  a  kind 

and faithful master.