Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
FRANKLIN HIS OWN TEACHER
FEW people ever knew so many things as Franklin. Men
said, "How did he ever learn so many things?" For he
had been a poor boy who had to work for a living. He
could not go to school at all after he was ten years
His father made soap and candles. Little Ben Franklin had to cut wicks for the candles. He also filled the
candle molds. He also sold soap and candles, and ran on
errands. But when he was not at work he spent his time
in reading good books. What little money he got he used
to buy books with.
He read the old story of Pilgrim's Progress, and
liked it so well that he bought all the other stories
by the same man. But as he wanted more books, and had
not money to buy them, he sold
 all of these books. The
next he bought were some little history books. These
were made to sell cheaply, and they were sold by
peddlers. He managed to buy forty or fifty of these
little books of history.
Another way he had of learning was by seeing things
with his own eyes. His father took him to see
carpenters at work with their saws and planes. He
also saw masons laying bricks. And he went to see men
making brass and copper kettles. And he saw a man with
a turning lathe making the round legs of chairs. Other
men were at work making knives. Some things people
learn out of books, and some things they have to see
for themselves. as
As he was fond of books, Ben's father thought that it
would be a good plan to send him to learn to print
them. So the boy went to work in his brother's printing
office. Here he passed his spare time in reading. He
borrowed some books out of the stores where books were
sold. He would sit up a great part of the night
sometimes to read one of these books. He wished to
return it when the bookstore opened in the morning.
One man who had many books lent to Ben such of his
books as he wanted.
Franklin at Study
It was part of the bargain that Ben's brother
pay his board. The boy offered to board himself if his
brother would give him half what it cost to pay for his
board. His brother was glad to do this, and Ben saved
part of the money and
 bought books with it. He was a
healthy boy, and it did not hurt him to live mostly on
bread and butter. Sometimes he bought a little pie or a
handful of raisins.
Long before he was a man, people said, "How much the
boy knows!" This was because—
He did not waste his time.
He read good books.
He saw things for himself.