Short Stories » Obedience



IN a certain place lived a boy whom I will call Johnny. He was about thirteen years old. When a given task was finished, he was quite in the habit of slipping away to the nearest neighbor's to join a companion of his own age, without inquiring first if there was anything else to do, or if his parents were willing to spare him.

He thought that if he was needed he could be called, and did not consider that this looking around for a boy and calling him every time he disappeared was anything of an annoyance. Johnny was not bad; no, no; he was just one of the best boys a mother ever had; it was only lack of understanding on his part.

Promptitude in obeying a summons was another lacking quality in his disposition ; he took consider- able time before starting, and seldom walked in haste.

His parents kept one cow, who well knew her name, " Beauty." On a few occasions this cow had been let loose to feed in the orchard, and on one particular day had strayed across the proper line, there being no fence between the two homes.

Johnny's mother happened to look out and saw the two, Johnny chatting with his friend, and Beauty drinking from the neighbor's watering-tub by the well. She called to Johnny, who replied quietly, "All right, in a minute," and immediately relapsed into the interrupted conversation, apparently forgetting altogether that he was wanted. The mother, mortified at the cow's trespass and her son's indifference, called the cow by name, when, to her surprise and great pleasure, Beauty looked up, saw who was calling her, and immediately hastened home. This great comparison between the willing obedience of the dumb creature and the indifference of the one endowed with the gifts of intelligence and speech, caused a hearty laugh from the witnesses of this little incident. I think that Johnny must have felt over- whelmed with regret upon having a cow, by her good example, so gently reproach him.

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