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From Very Short Stories by W K Clifford.
Start of Story
Age Rating 6 to 8.
Tommy was sitting on the bench near the end of the lane. By his side
was a basin tied up in a cotton handkerchief; in the buttonhole of his
coat there was a sprig of sweet-william. The girls from the big house
came and stood still in front of him, staring at him rudely, but he did
"Tommy, are you tired?" they asked.
"Yes," Tommy answered, crossly, "I'm very tired, and father's working
in the fields, and I have got to take him his dinner before I go to the
"Why don't the servants take it?"
"Servants!" said Tommy scornfully; "we've no servants. We are not rich
"Wouldn't you like to be rich?" the eldest sister asked, while the two
little ones walked slowly round Tommy, looking at the feather in his
hat; he had put it there so that he might look smart when he went on to
"No, it's too expensive," said Tommy, shaking his head; "rich people
have to buy such a lot of things, and to wear fine clothes, and they
can't have dinner in the fields."
"My father has his dinner in a room," said the girl.
"That's because he's rich," answered Tommy, "and people would talk if
he didn't; rich people can't do as they like, as poor can."
"And my father lives in a big house," the girl went on, for she was
vulgar, and liked to boast.
"Yes, and it takes up a lot of room; my father's got the whole world to
live in if he likes; that's better than a house."
"But my father doesn't work," said the girl, scornfully.
"Mine does," said Tommy, proudly. "Rich people can't work," he went on,
"so they are obliged to get the poor folk to do it. Why, we have made
everything in the world. Oh! it's a fine thing to be poor."
"But suppose all the rich folk died, what would the poor folk do?"
"But suppose all the poor folk died," cried Tommy, "what would the rich
folk do? They can sit in carriages, but can't build them, and eat
dinners, but can't cook them." And he got up and went his way. "Poor
folk ought to be very kind to rich folk, for it's hard to be the like
of them," he said to himself as he went along.