Stories for Kids
These stories were gathered from various church papers written in the 1800’s – Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc. Each story has a special character building thought. We found them at writtentreasures.org and think they are GREAT. Look for a new story at the top of the page each month; and feel free to copy, print and share with others.
“ALWAYS BE HONEST”
Some years ago a father who had lost his companion lived in the slums of one of our large cities. With him lived his little son, whom people nicknamed “Freckles.” Daily this man tried to do both a father’s and a mother’s duty in building into his boy’s heart a faith in eternal things. They lived in very meager quarters, and there was not a square foot of grass on which, or a tree under which, the child could play.
Usually Freckles had to stay home and amuse himself while his father was away working here and there at odd jobs. But one day his father took him along. As they were passing a pretty home with a spacious lawn where grew shrubs, trees, flowers and green grass, the little boy tried to pull away from his father’s hand. “What is wrong, Son?” he asked.
“I want to go on that nice green grass and play until you come back, Father,” he said.
“Those people will not let you play on that lawn, Son. That is their yard. They keep it very nice, don’t they?” he explained to the little boy.
Freckles sighed and as they walked on, he kept looking back. The man felt keenly the lack of the temporal blessings for which the boy longed.
Upon returning to their dingy, slum home, Freckles asked, “Daddy, why can’t we have some grass and flowers and trees where Johnny, Mac, and I sometimes play?”
Freckles’ father was a faithful reader of the Holy Scriptures. He sat down in his chair and told the lad about the beautiful things he would be able to enjoy in the better world to come if he would be a good boy. In describing that eternal home, he said, “Listen, Sonny, when we get to that better land, we also will have a beautiful home. There we will have all kinds of lovely flowers, trees and green grass for you to enjoy.”
“Will the birds sit in our trees and sing for us, too? Will Jesus let me have a little doggie to play with?” he asked. “And will there also be a nice Shetland pony for me?”
“Yes,” came the assuring answer. “I am sure Jesus will give you all the lovely things you need to be completely happy. Perhaps He will even have a nice Shetland pony for you and a fine swing in one of the trees.”
Freckles never grew weary of hearing of this beautiful home. One night his father returned late. He had had a hard, long day. But little Freckles crawled up into his daddy’s lap as usual and pleaded, “Daddy, please tell me again about heaven. When can we go there? How much does it cost to go there? I will go and sell some papers so that we can get the money quickly. May I, Daddy?”
Thus came the questions, one after another. The father pressed his little boy to his heart as he began, “No, my Son, you are too young to sell papers. You can help me later, but not now. If you will be a good boy and always be honest and do right, then you will someday be able to go to that beautiful home, and you will not have to pay your fare.”
The boy listened very attentively, and all the while other questions arose in his anxious little heart. His father always stressed the thought that only right living would give him a home in heaven. The child was deeply impressed by what he heard.
One evening the father came home very, very tired. Not able to eat supper, he lay down on his hard bed and sighed.
“Don’t you feel good, Daddy? I will rub your feet. I know they are tired,” said Freckles as he tried to rub his father’s aching feet. Then he lay down beside him and soon was sound asleep.
But the man was ill. The next day he told Freckles to call the neighbor. He was not almost too ill to speak. But when the neighbor arrived, the father said, “I am worried about my little boy. If something should happen to me, would you please take care of him? He is a good boy. He will help you when he has a few more months on him. Please, will you do that for me?” But the neighbor made no promise, for she too was poor.
The sick man’s fever rose rapidly. He pressed his little boy to his heart, and admonished him once more, “Dear Son, I may have to leave you, but God will always be near you. He will care for you if you will talk to Him often in prayer and always be honest. Never take anything that does not belong to you, Son. Someday you and mother and I will meet in that beautiful home which I have told you about.”
With these words he fell asleep. Before morning he became delirious, and four days later the world looked very dark to little Freckles. The house seemed dreadfully empty; but it was home, and he hoped to continue there. However, this was not to be, for shortly after he had suffered his greatest loss, he was put on the street with his few belongings. Freckles could think of only one thing, and that was to find a corner where he might sell newspapers. At last he located a small nook between two buildings. He packed his few things there, then went to look for a newsboy. Finally he spied one. He ran over and gathered from him some information regarding his future work. As soon as he could get some papers he, too, stood at the street corner calling out, “Newspaper! Buy a newspaper, please.”
The days were long and lonely. He hardly sold enough to supply himself with food.
One day a little dog came sniffing along. He looked starved and homeless. Freckles talked to him and even gave him some of the dry bread he had in his pocket. Soon the nervous creature sat down and leaned against his new friend’s legs. This pleased the boy very much.
When evening came, Freckles started for the little spot he now called home. The dog followed and crawled in with him. The two became fast friends. They slept together and were seen together day after day. Freckles shared his meager meals with this his only friend, who helped to keep him warm at night.
One day, when Freckles was standing at his usual place and calling out his papers, a well-dressed lady dropped her purse as she stepped into her beautiful, shiny car and drove away. Freckles picked it up and looked into it. There he saw many shiny dollars. Would he take some?
“Oh, no,” he said to himself. “They are not mine. I will run after the car. Perhaps I can catch up with it at the stoplight at the end of the block.”
Off he went, with his little dog right at his heels. He ran up to the car, waving the purse at the lady. “Oh, thank you!” she said, and tossed him a tip.
The lady was greatly pleased with the little newsboy’s honesty. She felt that she ought to do something for him. After much meditation, she was impressed to adopt him if she could do so. She began procedures at once.
A number of weeks later, she drove up to the corner where stood the dirty, weary, freckle-faced newsboy. She called him to her car and asked to buy some papers. He had about a dozen under his arm. She bought them all. Freckles was happily surprised.
“Come, get into my car. I want to give you a ride. You have no papers to sell now,” the lady suggested.
Freckles hesitated a bit as he looked at her beautiful clothes and lovely care. Then he said, “Thank you, Madam, but I am only a newsboy. I do not have nice clothes. Besides, I have a little partner. I call him Nip, and myself I call Tuck, because with us it is nip and tuck to make a living.” He continued with a smile, “He goes with me where I go. He is the only friend I have.”
“I am glad you have a friend. Let Nip come in too,” she replied.
Freckles and Nip entered and settled down as the lady drove off. Soon they were out of the busy business district and were winding around in an attractive residential section. Freckles was wishing his father could be enjoying the ride with him, seeing the pretty houses and clean streets. Suddenly they were driving up a long hill. When they reached the top, they drove into a beautiful yard. As they neared the house he saw a swing in a tree, and beside the tree stood a Shetland pony.
The car stopped, and the lady opened the door. “Step out, Son, and enjoy yourself! This is your home. That Shetland pony will be yours, and Nip may stay too,” she said.
Freckles looked around nervously and excitedly; then taking hold of the lady’s hand and looking into her face, he asked, “Is this heaven? If it is, please take me to my father.”
Tears filled her eyes, as she answered the boy’s question. “I will do my best to make this a little heaven for you until Jesus comes to take us all to His great heaven. I hope that when we shall enter into that beautiful place, you will see your father and mother again. Jesus will be there too. Won’t that be wonderful?”
“But – but, my father told me that heaven was a beautiful place like this; and that – that –. Well, it is just like he told me. Please tell me, is this heaven?” he continued.
The kind woman took the lad into the house, washed him, and put new clothes on him. Then she said, “Freckles, my boy, you do not have to go back to selling papers. I am going to adopt you, and you will be my little boy.”
“Oh! You talk just like my daddy did. How did you know that I prayed for a home? I was very lonesome after my father died,” said Freckles.
“Shall I tell you how I knew?” she asked.
Freckles looked rather surprised while he listened to his new mother as she read, “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” Psalm 34:15. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17. Then she added, “God heard your cries; and because you were honest, I was impressed to bring you home and adopt you as my boy.”
WHAT ONE BOY DID
Don’t tell me that boys have no influence,” said the dark-eyed lady with emphasis. “Why, I myself know a boy of twelve whose influence changed the manners of an entire hotel. Tell you about it? – Certainly. It was a family hotel on the seacoast in southern California, and almost all the guests in the house were there for the winter. We had become well acquainted, and –well, lazy I guess is the best word for it. So we decided that it was too much trouble to dress for meals, and dropped into the habit of coming in just as we chanced to be, from lounging in the hammock, or fishing off the pier, or bicycle riding down the beach. Our manners, too had become about as careless as our dress; we were there for a rest, a good time, and these little things didn’t matter, we said.
“One day there was a new arrival. Mrs. Blinn, a young widow, with her little son, Robert, as sturdy , bright-faced lad of twelve as one often sees. The first time he came into the dining-room, erect, manly, with his tie and collar and dress in perfect order, escorting his mother as if she had been a princess, and standing till not only she, but every lady at the table was seated, we all felt that a breath of new air had come among us, and every one there, I think straightened up a little. However we looked at one another and nodded our heads, as much as to say, “He won’t keep this up long.” We were strangers, and in the familiarity of every-day life we did not doubt that it would soon wear away.
“But it did not. Rob was full of life, and active and busy as a boy could well be. At the same time, when, twenty minutes before meals, his mother blew a little silver whistle, no matter where he was or what he was doing, everything was dropped, and he ran in to make himself ready. And every time he came to the table, with his clean face and smooth hair and clothes carefully arranged or changed, he was in himself a sermon on neatness and self-respect, which none of us said much about it, we felt all the same. Then by and by one and another began to respond to the little silver whistle, as well a Rob. One laid aside a bicycle dress, another a half-invalid negligee, till you could hardly have believed it was the same company of a few weeks before.
“It was the same with manners. Rob’s politeness, simple, unaffected, and unfailing, at the table, on the veranda, upon the beach, wherever you met him; his readiness to be helpful; his deference to those older; his thoughtfulness for all, was the best lesson, — that of example. As a consequence, the thoughtless began to remember, and the selfish to feel ashamed, and the careless to keep themselves more in hand.
“And so, as I said in the beginning, in less than a month the whole atmosphere of that hotel had been changed by the influence of one boy; and the only one utterly unconscious of this was Rob himself.”
This is truly a pleasing incident. We like to think of this boy who, because he was at heart a true little gentleman, drew what was kindly and courteous and gracious in those about him to the surface as by a magnet. In like manner it is possible for every boy to be so true and kindly and tender, so unselfish of action, so obedient to duty, so responsive to conscience, that , wherever he goes, he shall carry an inspiring atmosphere and influence with him; and whoever he meets shall, because of him, be drawn to better thoughts and nobler living.—Adele E. Thomson