MAXIMILIAN AND THE GOOSE BOY
 ONE summer day King Maximilian of Bavaria was walking in the country. The sun shone hot, and he stopped
under a tree to rest.
It was very pleasant in the cool shade. The king lay down on
the soft grass, and looked up at the white clouds sailing
across the sky. Then he took a little book from his pocket
and tried to read.
But the king could not keep his mind on his book. Soon his
eyes closed, and he was fast asleep.
It was past noon when he awoke. He got up from his grassy
bed, and looked around. Then he took his cane in his hand,
and started for home.
When he had walked a mile or more, he happened to think of
his book. He felt for it in his pocket. It was not there. He
had left it under the tree.
The king was already quite tired, and he did not like to
walk back so far. But he did not wish to lose the book.
What should he do?
If there was only some one to send for it!
While he was thinking, he happened to see a little
barefooted boy in the open field near the road. He was
tending a large flock of geese that were picking the
short grass, and wading in a shallow brook.
 The king went toward the boy. He held a gold piece in his
"My boy," he said, "how would you like to have this piece of
"I would like it," said the boy; "but I never hope to have
"You shall have it if you will run back to the oak tree at
the second turning of the road, and fetch me the book that
I left there."
The king thought that the boy would be pleased. But not
so. He turned away, and said, "I am not so silly as you
"What do you mean?" said the king, "Who says that you are
"Well," said the boy, "you think that I am silly enough
to believe that you will give me that gold piece for
running a mile, and fetching you a book. You can't catch me."
"But if I give it to you now, perhaps you will believe
me," said the king; and he put the gold piece into the
little fellow's hand.
The boy's eyes sparkled; but he did not move.
"What is the matter now?" said the king. "Won't you go? "
The boy said, "I would like to go; but I can't leave the
geese. They will stray away, and then I shall be blamed for
"Crack the whip!"
 "Oh, I will tend them while you are away," said the king.
The boy laughed. "I should like to see you tending them!"
he said. "Why, they would run away from you in a minute."
"Only let me try," said the king.
At last the boy gave the king his whip, and started off. He
had gone but a little way, when he turned and came back.
"What is the matter now?" said Maximilian.
"Crack the whip!"
The king tried to do as he was bidden, but he could not
make a sound.
"I thought as much," said the boy. "You don't know how to
Then he took the whip, and gave the king lessons in whip
cracking. "Now you see how it is done," he said, as he
handed it back. "If the geese try to run away, crack it
The king laughed. He did his best to learn his lesson; and
soon the boy again started off on his errand.
Maximilian sat down on a stone, and laughed at the thought
of being a gooseherd. But the geese missed their master
at once. With a great cackling and hissing they went,
half flying, half running, across the meadow.
 The king ran after them, but he could not run fast. He
tried to crack the whip, but it was of no use. The geese
were soon far away. What was worse, they had gotten into a
garden, and were feeding on the tender
A few minutes afterward, the goose boy came back with the book.
"Just as I thought," he said. "I have found the book, and
you have lost the geese."
"Never mind," said the king, "I will help you get them
"Well, then, run around that way, and stand by the brook
while I drive them out of the garden."
The king did as he was told. The boy ran forward with his
whip, and after a great deal of shouting and scolding, the
geese were driven back into the meadow.
"I hope you will pardon me for not being a better
said Maximilian; "but, as I am a king, I
am not used to such work."
"A king, indeed!" said the boy. "I was very silly to leave the
geese with you. But I am not so silly as to believe that
you are a king."
"Very well," said Maximilian, with a smile;
"here is another gold piece, and now let us be friends."
 The boy took the gold, and thanked the giver.
He looked up into the king's face and said,—
"You are a very kind man, and I think you might be a good
king; but if you were to try all your life, you would never
be a good gooseherd."