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A Story for children age 4 to 6.

A story

told to Minnie.

From: Baby Nightcaps.By: Frances Elizabeth Barrow

I know a little boy, named Johnny. He is a fat, rosy little fellow, as round as a dumpling. He has two large black eyes, two small pink ears, two sweet red lips, and only one little white nose. "Oh, what a pity!" said Minnie. How the children did laugh, when they heard little Minnie sigh, and say this; but their mamma kindly continued. Put your hand up to your face, Minnie, or look in the glass, and you will find that Johnny had just as many noses as you. "I'm so glad," said Minnie, with a merry little laugh: "tell more mamma." I suppose you use your two bright eyes, to look at every thing with. So did Johnny.

When he was quite a little baby, his eyes sometimes got him into trouble; if he saw a pin, or a button, or little bit of thread on the carpet, he would creep up to it as well as he could, pick it up with a good deal of trouble, because his fingers were so fat, and he did not know very well how to use them; and pop! it would go right into his mouth. You see, he had been here in this world such a very little while, that he thought every thing in the world was made to eat. Sometimes he would try to eat his own toes; and once he got the end of his nurse's nose in his mouth, and gave it a good nip with his two little white teeth; and was very angry, and cried very loud, because she pulled it away. He was only a baby you know. Such a dear little fellow.

Johnny liked, of all things, to be put in his little bath-tub, half full of water. The moment he saw the bath-tub, he would begin to jump and crow and laugh, and when he was undressed, and lifted up to be put in, his little feet would kick in the air, as if he meant to jump over the moon! When he was in the water, Oh! then was the time for fun! such a splashing and dashing and thrashing as the water got! Such a noise! you could hear him squealing with delight all over the house, and very often every body in the house would come up to look at him; even the cross old cook.

She was never cross to Johnny; she would come in the room, and opening her eyes would exclaim: "My Sirs! if Johnny don't look just like the gold Koopid, straddling over the top of the looking glass in the parlor." He did look like a little fat Cupid. Any picture of a little fat Cupid will show you how Johnny looked when he was a baby. When Johnny was almost a year old, his mamma and papa took him to church to be christened. Do you know what that means? It means that they would promise before all the people in church, and what is a great deal more solemn, before God, our Father in Heaven, to do their best to make little Johnny a good child, to teach him to love, fear, and serve Him all the days of his life.

When the time came for them to go to the church, Johnny had clasped tight in his fat fingers, a little wooden horse, about half as long as Minnie's arm, with only one leg, and a very short stump of a tail. The little fellow had managed to break off the long tail and three legs, but _he_ didn't care, not he! one leg was enough for him; he loved the horse dearly, and sucked his head very often and banged it against the floor, and kissed it and took it to bed with him every night, and plunged it, sometimes head-first, sometimes tail-first, into his cup of milk every day, so that the old horse had a very nice time.

When they tried to take it away from him, Johnny began to cry as loud as he could. He was only a baby you know, and did not know that an old broken wooden horse ought not to go to church, so he puckered up his face in such a dismal manner, that his mamma thought it best to let him keep it; and he carried it to church in a state of perfect delight, sucking the head all the way. When Johnny's mamma and papa stood up with him before the minister, what do you think happened? Something surprising! for he let his nurse take the old horse out of his hand and never missed it. He kept perfectly still. The truth is, that he was wondering very much what in the world the good minister had on the top of his nose. It shone like a looking-glass every time he turned his head.

The fact is, that it was a pair of gold spectacles, and as none of Johnny's family wore spectacles, the minister's face astonished him very much indeed, and he stared at him with all his eyes. And now I shall have to tell you what Johnny did with his little fat fingers, when the kind minister took him tenderly in his arms, to christen him. You know I must tell the truth. He did not cry; he was not the least mite afraid, because the good minister smiled, and a baby knows very well what a kind smile means; he just put up those little fat fingers, and in a moment! he had twitched the spectacles off of the minister's nose, and began to suck them. The good minister smiled, and the people smiled, and Johnny _laughed loud in church_. He was such a little baby, you know, he did not know he must not laugh in church,

he was so delighted with his new play-thing, that the minister let him keep the spectacles, and as he put the water on his face, Johnny did not cry; oh no! he _smiled_; and all the people in the church looked with loving eyes on the innocent child. As the minister handed Johnny back to his mamma, he bent down his kind face and kissed him, and said: "I hope your dear little boy will live and be a comfort to you. Johnny soon gave up the spectacles, when he caught sight of his dear old horse, with one leg and no tail; such a darling as that old thing was! and he showed his joy at getting him back, by sucking his head all the way home; once in a while trying to poke it into his nurse's mouth to give her a taste.

The nurse had a straw hat on, and Johnny, in his desire to get at her mouth, pulled the hat as hard as he could, and tore it nearly in two pieces. He did not mean to, you know; but when he had done it he thought it a very funny caper, and laughed, and put his hand through the rent, and snatched the comb out of her hair, laughing all the time and jumping almost out of her arms. What a baby! The poor nurse looked as if she had been in the wars; she did not get angry, she loved Johnny so much; she only held fast with one hand to her ragged old hat, and hurried home, laughing as hard as Johnny. Let me tell you that the old horse and the baby had a fine supper that night, and went to bed hugging each other, that is, Johnny hugged the horse.

Soon his beautiful black eyes were closed in sleep, and his little fat fingers, that had done so much mischief without meaning any wrong, were resting quietly on his breast. Those bright eyes and busy fingers wanted rest, don't you think so? I do. So; good night, little Johnny.


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