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Fifty Famous People by  James Baldwin


 

 

"READ, AND YOU WILL KNOW"

"MOTHER, what are the clouds made of? Why does the rain fall? Where does all the rain water go? What good does it do?"

Little William Jones was always asking questions.

"I want to know," he said; "I want to know everything."

At first his mother tried to answer all his questions. But after he had learned to read, she taught him to look in books for that which he wished to know.

"Mother, what makes the wind blow?"

"Read, and you will know, my child."

"Who lives on the other side of the world?"

"Read, and you will know."

"Why is the sky so blue?"

"Read, and you will know."

"Oh, mother, I would like to know everything."

[90] "You can never know everything, my child. But you can learn many things from books."

"Yes, mother, I will read and then I will know."

He was a very little boy, but before he was three years old he could read quite well. When eight years of age he was the best scholar at the famous school at Harrow. He was always reading, learning, inquiring.

"I want to know; I want to know," he kept saying.

"Read, and you will know," said his mother. "Read books that are true. Read about things that are beautiful and good. Read in order to become wise.

"Do not waste your time in reading foolish books. Do not read bad books, they will make you bad. No book is worth reading that does not make you better or wiser."

And so William Jones went on reading and learning. He became one of the most famous scholars in the world. The king of England made him a knight and called him Sir William Jones.


Sir William Jones lived nearly two hundred years ago. He was noted for his great knowledge, the most of which he had obtained from books. It is said that he could speak and write forty languages.


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