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What thoughts filled that young head, what complaint or questioning were living behind that white face, no one could guess. In an older person the face would have betokened a resignation that found peace in the hope of things hereafter. In this child, without hope, 5 it was sad beyond expression.
One day as I passed, I nodded at him. He made no sign in return. I repeated the nod on another trip, waving my hand at him, and his pale lips trembled into a smile, but a smile that was soberness itself. Wherever 10 I went that day, that smile went with me. Wherever I saw children playing in the parks, or trotting along with their hands nestled in strong fingers that guided and protected, I thought of that tiny watcher in the balcony, — joyless, hopeless, friendless, – a desolate 15 mite, hanging between the blue sky and the gladsome streets, now lifting his wistful face to the peaceful heights of the one, and now looking with grave wonder on the ceaseless tumult of the other. At length but why go any further? Why is it necessary to tell 20 that the boy had no father, that his mother had been bed-ridden from his birth, that his sister pasted labels in a drug house, and that he had been thus left to himself all day? It is sufficient to say that I went to Coney Island yesterday, and forgot the heat in the sharp 25 ocean breezes; that I watched the bathers and the children; listened to the crisp, lingering music of the waves as they sang to the beach; ate a robust lunch on the pier; wandered in and out among the booths,
tents, and hubbub; and that through all these manifold pleasures I had a companion that enjoyed them with a gravity that I can never hope to emulate, but with a soulfulness that was touching; and that as I 5 came back in the boat, the breezes singing through the cordage, music floating from the foredeck, and the sun lighting with its dying rays the shipping that covered the river, there was sitting in front of me a
very pale but very happy bit of a boy, opened-eyed 10 with wonder, but sober and self-contained, clasping
tightly in his little fingers a short, battered stick. And finally that whenever I pass by a certain overhanging balcony now, I am sure of a smile from an intimate and esteemed little friend who lives there.
QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 1. Who wrote this story? Tell | tween me and my business about him.
many a time that day”? 2. Tell about the crowds in Lines 2–3, p. 80.
New York. Tell about the 5. What is the meaning of lives of the poor children “Gradually the little in large cities. Why do fellow became a burden to the majority of people in me”? Lines 23–24, p. 80. large cities fail to see the 6. What is the meaning of loneliness and the suffering “Wherever I went that all around them?
day, that smile went with 3. Tell the story of the little boy me”? Lines 10–11, p. 81.
as Mr. Grady saw him on 7. Tell how Mr. Grady became his tiny balcony.
acquainted with him. 4. What is the meaning of 8. Tell of the trip to Coney
“His pale face came be Island.
9. What kind of man do you 10. Do you ever try to see things
think Mr. Grady must as Mr. Grady did, or do have been?
you just wander about, seeing nothing ?
Henry Woodfin Grady, the great-hearted man who wrote “ The Little Boy in the Balcony,” was born at Athens, Georgia, May 24, 1851. While still a young man, he grew famous as an orator and as editor of the “ Constitution," a great newspaper of Atlanta, Georgia. When Mr. Grady was a boy, he often sent home to his mother a hungry child with a note which read: “Dear Mother: Please give this child something to eat. He looks so hungry." At Christmas time he was never happy until he knew that every poor family of Atlanta was provided with a good Christmas dinner. Mr. Grady died December 23, 1889, aged thirty-eight years, beloved and lamented by the entire nation.
For it stirs the blood in an old man's heart;
And makes his pulses fly,
N. P. WILLIS
How truly is a kind heart a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity to freshen into smiles.
Let us suppose that a farmhouse is standing in a valley between two high hills and that a boy is standing on each of these hills and looking at this farmhouse. One of the boys is looking at the front of the house and the other is looking at the rear of it. They are looking at the same house but they are getting entirely different views of it.
Then let us suppose that these two boys meet at some other place and tell each other how this farmhouse in the valley looks. Do you think that they would agree? Would it not be very foolish for them to quarrel about it? But many persons do just such foolish things.
The trouble is that each boy“ viewed” or looked at this farmhouse from a different point. So we say that they had different “ viewpoints ” or places for looking at the house.
Now all quarrels come about because people have different viewpoints. If each of these two boys had looked at this farmhouse from both hills and had seen it from both sides, they would have agreed. There would really be few quarrels if each person should try hard to look at any possible cause of trouble from the other person's viewpoint as well as from his own. That is, if each should put himself in the place of the other as well as in his own place.
Before having a dispute with any one, it is a splendid and noble thing to stop and think, “How should I feel if I were in his place?” This course would settle nearly all disputes at once and result in making friends instead of enemies.
This is what John Godfrey Saxe is trying to tell us in this poem, “ The Blind Men and the Elephant.”
Six blind men went to see an elephant. The poem will tell you what happened. The poet is not finding fault because men who are really blind do not see all that they could see if they had their sight. By blind men he means, of course, those who are merely unwilling to see the elephant as others see it. He means those whose "minds are blinded” and who quarrel simply because they are too stubborn to look at the cause of the quarrel from one another's viewpoint. “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”
Try to see these six “ blind men ” as they stumble around the elephant, seeing really only a part of it, but feeling very sure that they have seen all of it and that they know all about it. It is a very funny story.
But the story of men who have eyes, but see not, because their minds are blinded, is a funnier story. Remember that the poet means you if you are too stubborn to see all sides of a question. He means all who quarrel because they will not try to see the other side of the quarrel.
Learn these words :
Indostan (In-di-stän'): India.
| observation (bb-zỹr-va’shăn): | careful looking at.
THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT
A HINDOO FABLE
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
(Though all of them were blind),