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Moral Tales for Children From McGuffeys Readers: True Courage

This is actually the 14th installment inside our McGuffey Readers series, where we reproduce among the best moral tales from the classic 1800s schoolbooks that sold around 122 million copies by 1960, the biggest circulation of any book on earth close to the Bible and Websters Dictionary. McGuffeys Readers played a significant role in American history, offering children not merely lessons in reading, grammar, and spelling, but additionally in moral conduct and character. Enjoy, and tell your kids!

True Courage

One cold winters day, three boys were passing by aschoolhouse. The oldest was a negative boy. always in troublehimself, and looking to get others into trouble. The youngest,whose name was George, was a good boy.

George wanted to do right, but was quite definitely wanting incourage. Another boys were named Henry and James. Asthey walked along, they talked the following:

Henry. What fun it could be to throw a snowball againstthe schoolroom door, and make the teacher and scholars all

jump!

James. You’ll jump, should you. If the teacher didnot catch you and whip you, he’d tell your father, andyou would get yourself a whipping then; and that could make youjump greater than the scholars, I believe.

Henry. Why, we’d get up to now off, prior to the teachercould arrived at the door, he cannot tell who we have been.This is a snowball in the same way hard as ice, and Georgewould right throw it contrary to the door as not.

James. Give it to him, and see. He’d not dare tothrow it.

Epoch Times Photo
Illustration of True Courage from McGuffeys Third Eclectic Reader, Revised Edition, 1879.(Public Domain)

Henry. Do you consider George is really a coward? You do notknow him along with I really do.Here, George, take this snowball, and show James that youare not this type of coward as he thinks you’re.

George. I’m not afraid to throw it; but I really do not need to. Ido not note that itwill do worthwhile, or that you will see any fun inside it.

James. There! I told you he’d not dare to throw it.

Henry. Why, George, are you currently turning coward? I thoughtyou didn’t fear anything. Come, save your valuable credit, and throwit. I understand you aren’t afraid.

George. Well, I’m not afraid to throw. Give me thesnowball. I’d right throw it as not.

Whack! went the snowball contrary to the door; and the boystook with their heels. Henry was laughing as heartily as hecould, to believe just what a fool he previously manufactured from George.

George had a whipping for his folly, as he must havehad. He was this type of coward, he was afraid of beingcalled a coward. He didn’t dare won’t do as Henry toldhim, for fear he will be laughed at.

If he previously been a really brave boy, he’d have said,Henry, can you suppose that I’m so foolish concerning throw that

snowball, because you need to have me? You might throwyour own snowballs, in the event that you please!

Henry would, perhaps, have laughed at him, and calledhim a coward.

But George could have said, Do you consider that I care foryour laughing? I really do not think it to throw the snowball. I

won’t do this which 1 want to be wrong, if the complete townshould join with you in laughing.

This might have already been real courage. Henry would haveseen, simultaneously, that it could do no good to laugh at a boy whohad so bold a heart. You’ll want this fearless spirit, or youwill enter trouble, and you will be, and should be, disliked byall.

This story is reproduced fromMcGuffeys Third Eclectic Reader, Revised Edition, published in 1879.

The McGuffey Readers,first published in the 1830s, were a string ofillustratedreadersfor elementary schoolchildren compiled by U.S. educator and clergyman William HolmesMcGuffey(18001873). These were trusted as textbooks in U.S. schools fromthe mid-1800s until the first 20th century. They’re still utilized by some schools today, especially homeschools centered on nurturing and raising children with aclassical educationand moral character development.

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