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The sick child sat at his window and looked out on the summer world. He was sad at heart, for pain racked him, and weakness held him still; but yet he smiled, because that pleased his mother.
"I am of no use in the world," said the child to himself; "I am of less worth than yonder broken bough that lies on the ground, for that at least gives trouble to no one, and by and by it will make a fire to warm some poor soul. But still I must smile, lest my mother should be sad."
Presently the old field mouse who lived over the way came out of her house, with a tiny brown velvet bundle in her mouth. It was one of her eight young ones, and she was taking it to a new place, for the mole who was their landlord had turned them out. She had taken five of the little ones to the new house, but now she was weary, and her jaws ached sadly with holding the heavy little creatures.
"I cannot carry them all!" she said. "The rest must die, since it cannot be helped."
Just then she looked up, and saw the child smiling at the window.
"Look!" she said to herself. "That child has been watching me. He smiles with pleasure at the beauty of my young ones, but he has not seen the prettiest one yet. It will never do to give up now; I must try again, and let him see that there are eight, all the handsomest of their family."
So she tried again, and brought all the eight in safety to their new home.
By and by a horse came along the road, dragging a heavy load. He was old, and his bones ached, and the collar hurt his neck.
"Why should I not give up," he said to himself, "and refuse to go on? my master could only beat me, and he does that as it is. If I were dead, I should not feel the blows; why should I struggle further with this burden?"
Just then he happened to lift his eyes, and saw the child smiling at the window.
"Ah!" he said, "that child is smiling at me. He sees that I was once a fine animal; he knows good blood when he sees it. Ah! if he had seen me in my youth! But I can still show him something." And he arched his neck proudly, and stepped out bravely, tossing his head, and the load came more easily after him.
By and by a man passed by, walking slowly, with bent head and sorrowful look. He had lost the treasure of his heart, and the whole world was black about him. "Why should I live longer?" he said to himself. "I have nothing to live for in this world of misery. Let me lie down and die; in death I can at least forget my pain and the pain of others."
As he spoke, he lifted his eyes by chance, and saw the child smiling at the window.
"Come!" said the man. "There at least is one happy heart; and he smiles, as if he were glad to see me pass. He is a sick child, too, pale and thin; I must not cast a shadow on his cheerful day. And indeed, the sun is bright and warm, even if my joy be cold."
He smiled and nodded to the child, and the child nodded to him, and waved his hand, and the man went on, carrying the smile warm at his heart, and took up the burden of life again.
Now it was evening. The child was weary. His head drooped on his bosom, and his eyes closed. Then his mother came, and lifted him from his chair, and laid him in his little bed.
"God bless him!" she said softly. "He has had a happy day, for he is smiling even in his sleep."
|Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily|
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
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