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From Very Short Stories by Mrs W K Clifford.
Start of Story
Age Rating 8 Plus.
There was once a very proud boy. He always walked through the village
with his eyes turned down and his hands in his pockets. The boys used
to stare at him, and say nothing; and when he was out of sight, they
breathed freely. So the proud boy was lonely, and would have had no
friends out of doors if it had not been for two stray dogs, the green
trees, and a flock of geese upon the common.
One day, just by the weaver's cottage, he met the tailor's son. Now the
tailor's son made more noise than any other boy in the village, and
when he had done anything wrong he stuck to it, and said he didn't
care; so the neighbours thought that he was very brave, and would do
wonders when he came to be a man, and some of them hoped he would be a
great traveller, and stay long in distant lands. When the tailor's son
saw the proud boy he danced in front of him, and made faces, and
provoked him sorely, until, at last, the proud boy turned round and
suddenly boxed the ears of the tailor's son, and threw his hat into the
road. The tailor's son was surprised, and, without waiting to pick up
his hat, ran away, and sitting down in the carpenter's yard, cried
bitterly. After a few minutes, the proud boy came to him and returned
him his hat, saying politely--
"There is no dust on it; you deserved to have your ears boxed, but I am
sorry I was so rude as to throw your hat on to the road."
"I thought you were proud," said the tailor's son, astonished; "I
didn't think you'd say that--I wouldn't."
"Perhaps you are not proud?"
"No, I am not."
"Ah, that makes a difference," said the proud boy, still more politely.
"When you are proud, and have done a foolish thing, you make a point of
"But it takes a lot of courage," said the tailor's son.
"Oh, dear, no," answered the proud boy; "it only takes a lot of
cowardice not to;" and then turning his eyes down again, he softly