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THREE OLD TALES
BY M. L. WEEMS (ADAPTED)
I. THE CHERRY TREE
 WHEN George was about six years old, he was made the wealthy
master of a hatchet of which, like most little boys, he was
extremely fond. He went about chopping everything that came
One day, as he wandered about the garden amusing himself by
hacking his mother's pea-sticks, he found a beautiful,
young English cherry tree, of which his father was most
proud. He tried the edge of his hatchet on the trunk of the
tree and barked it so that it died.
Some time after this, his father discovered what had
happened to his favorite tree. He came into the house in
great anger, and demanded to know who the mischievous person
was who had cut away the bark. Nobody could tell him
anything about it.
Just then George, with his little hatchet, came into the
"George," said his father, "do you know who has killed my
beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? I would
not have taken five guineas for it!"
 This was a hard question to answer, and for a moment George
was staggered by it, but quickly recovering himself he
"I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie!
I did cut it with my little hatchet."
The anger died out of his father's face, and taking the boy
tenderly in his arms, he said:—
"My son, that you should not be afraid to tell the truth is
more to me than a thousand trees! yes, though they were
blossomed with silver and had leaves of the purest gold!"
II. THE APPLE ORCHARD
One fine morning in the autumn Mr. Washington, taking little
George by the hand, walked with him to the apple orchard,
promising that he would show him a fine sight.
On arriving at the orchard they saw a fine sight, indeed!
The green grass under the trees was strewn with red-cheeked
apples, and yet the trees were bending under the weight of
fruit that hung thick among the leaves.
"Now, George," said his father, "look, my son, see all this
rich harvest of fruit! Do you remember when your good cousin
brought you a fine, large apple last spring, how you refused
to divide it with your brothers? And yet I told you then
that, if you would be generous, God would give you plenty of
apples this autumn."
 Poor George could not answer, but hanging down his head
looked quite confused, while with his little, naked, bare
feet he scratched in the soft ground.
"Now, look up, my son," continued his father, "and see how
the blessed God has richly provided us with these trees
loaded with the finest fruit. See how abundant is the
harvest. Some of the trees are bending beneath their
burdens, while the ground is covered with mellow apples,
more than you could eat, my son, in all your lifetime."
George looked in silence on the orchard, he marked the busy,
humming bees, and heard the gay notes of the birds
fluttering from tree to tree. His eyes filled with tears and
he answered softly:—
"Truly, father, I never will be selfish any more."
III. THE GARDEN-BED
One day Mr. Washington went into the garden and dug a little
bed of earth and prepared it for seed. He then took a stick
and traced on the bed George's name in full. After this he
strewed the tracing thickly with seeds, and smoothed all
over nicely with his roller.
This garden-bed he purposely prepared close to a
gooseberry-walk. The bushes were hung with the ripe fruit,
and he knew that George would visit them every morning.
 Not many days had passed away when one morning George came
running into the house, breathless with excitement, and his
eyes shining with happiness.
"Come here! father, come here!" he cried.
"What's the matter, my son?" asked his father.
"O come, father," answered George, "and I'll show you such a
sight as you have never seen in all your lifetime."
Mr. Washington gave the boy his hand, which he seized with
great eagerness. He led his father straight to the
garden-bed, whereon in large letters, in lines of soft
green, was written:—