A RARE ACT OF COURAGE
 LUCY ERNST, of Philadelphia, was spending her summer
vacation in the mountains. One warm afternoon she went
out with her cousin, Harry Schoenut, for a ramble in
the woods. The two strolled slowly up and down the
mountain side and came at length to a narrow ridge on
one side of which was a deep, rocky ravine. Here it
was hard walking, and they picked their way slowly and
with difficulty from one ledge to another.
They came presently to a rift in the rocks, and Harry,
in jumping across, slipped and fell upon a pile of
loose stones. The fall itself did not hurt him, but he
heard a whirr and a rattle beneath him, and before he
could rise, a large rattlesnake struck its fangs into
"Oh, I am killed, Lucy!" cried the frightened boy, as
the reptile darted swiftly away.
"Have courage, Harry," said Lucy, as she pulled him up
out of the rift.
"Yes, I am killed, Lucy. Leave me and save yourself,"
said the boy.
His arm was already beginning to swell and turn black.
But Lucy did not hesitate a moment. She
 tore the sleeve from his arm; she put her lips to the
wound and began to suck out the poison. She did this
with great danger to herself; for there was a small cut
on her upper lip, and if the poison entered it she
would be in as bad a plight as Harry.
"Now, Harry, cheer up," she said; and with her penknife
she cut a gash in his arm to make the blood flow
faster, and thus carry off the poison. The boy fainted
at sight of the blood; and then Lucy had to revive him
by beating him in the face.
"Come, Harry," she said, "let us hurry home."
"It's no use, Lucy. I'm as good as dead, and I can't
walk. Go and leave me," he murmured.
But the brave girl would not leave him. She lifted him
to his feet and then, half carrying him, started down
the mountain side. An hour later she reached a
clubhouse, a mile away from the scene of the accident.
She carried the boy up the clubhouse steps, her dress
red with blood from the wound in his arm. Then she
fainted, and fell beside him.
Help was at hand. A surgeon was quickly called. The
boy's life was saved.
A silver medal was given to Miss Ernst as a memorial of
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics