Short Stories » Buttermilk
MANY boys would be willing to earn money if it could be done in a genteel way and in fine clothing. Such opportunities are rare, and especially in the outskirts of a city.
You know that such trades as lime and brick-making are carried on outside of town. It also happens that there also is where farms and pastures abound. Perhaps you are wondering what connection there can be between a brick-yard and a pasture, but it is a natural and convenient one, I can prove.
Generally, the great strong men who work at such trades are also rough in manners and speech, and have also tastes and requirements quite different from those who lead lives that do not tire and irritate the body and mind.
When hot weather came on in a certain brick-yard, there were some men who began to think that water was not just the thing to quench thirst. Certainly the water that flowed near them was not cool and was a little brackish to the taste, so pretty soon somebody said he wished he had some strong beer to drink. Before long others thought so too, and the next thing that happened was the men grumbled more at the hot weather, a few began to get excitable, and some became weak and sick. Things looked discouraging, especially when one after another gave up work, until a small force was left.
One warm forenoon, a timid, smiling boy came among them and inquired if anybody around liked buttermilk. He very soon found out that the majority of them did, and wanted to engage that cooling drink for every day.
Our bright boy began to wonder if the sixteen cows at home in the wide meadow could furnish as much buttermilk as forty men could drink, for it really appeared as though a churnful would not go very far, and then the family did not churn every day, either. Instead of being ridiculed, as he perhaps feared, he found himself taking orders for buttermilk at such a rate that he said he would have to find out if he could get enough to supply the demand.
" No more beer for me if I can get such buttermilk," cried one, and "That's what I say," echoed another.
When Dan^ reported to his mother, she solved the problem. " Buy up all the buttermilk of our neighbors and take the road cart to collect and deliver it with." Dan tried her advice, and if you think he made a financial failure, just watch him drive into the yard and see the men meet him with their tin pails and hear them smack their lips. I noticed at the end of the week that Dan handed his mother a buckskin pocket- book that looked almost ready to give up trying to keep clasped. Of course, dimes, nickels and quarters make a great display of size, and are not "worth their weight in gold," but Dan's income is satisfactory, I judge, and then there are no twinges of conscience, as there would be if he was selling intoxicating drinks to the hard-working men. And, see here, Dan is doing a temperance work among those men, although nothing is said of it. Good for Dan, say I, and I know you think so too.
Now you see the connection between the dry brick-yard and the green pasture, don't you ?