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For the Children's Hour by  Carolyn S. Bailey

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THE STOLEN CORN

Copyright by the University Publishing Co.

THERE was once a steward who took care of a rich man's fields, but every evening he took home a pocket full of corn which he had stolen from his master's fields during the day. In this way, he gathered enough corn to sow an acre of land, when sowing time came. The corn grew, and looked well—better, indeed, than any other crop on his farm.

At harvest time the corn was full in the ear and quite ripe. So the wicked steward engaged his reapers, thinking how the corn had cost him nothing, and how much it would bring him when he sold it.

The evening before the reapers went to work he [69] went out to view his field and see the corn, as it waved backward and forward in the summer wind, bathed in the silvery moonlight. But suddenly, as he watched, the moon became dark and the steward saw a great flock of crows hovering over his cornfield in great numbers. He shouted loud and long, but the crows would not be scared away. Down they flew, one at a time, to the corn, and then flew off, each with a stalk in his beak.

The steward was greatly vexed. "But," he thought, "let the hungry crows do their worst, I shall still have a good harvest, for by to-morrow night it will be all cut down and safely harvested."

But the steward had made a mistake. In the morning, when the reapers came with their scythes and sickles to the field, not a stalk of corn was left; every one had been taken across the river by the crows during the night and carefully put in the bin of the farmer from whom the wicked steward had stolen the corn.

Some people say that while the crows worked in the cornfield they were heard singing:

"Is it right that a man should rob his master?

Let us hurry along, then, faster and faster!"

And the steward never dared to steal again, seeing that no good ever comes of what is stolen.


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