Dinah's New Year Present
Dinah is one of the most good-natured children that ever lived,
but she is very, very lazy. There is nothing she likes, or used
to like, so much as to curl up in some warm corner in the sun and
Dinah's mother wished very much that her child should learn to
read, but the lady who tried to teach her soon gave it up. "It is
no use," she said, "Dinah will not learn. She is not a stupid
child, but she is too lazy for anything."
It happened, soon after this, that a young man from Massachusetts
came to the house where Dinah lived. He brought with him
something no one else in the neighborhood had ever seen before--a
pair of roller-skates.
When Dinah saw the young man going rapidly up and down the piazza
on his skates she was so astonished she hardly knew what to
think. She ran after him like a cat, her black eyes shining as
they had never shone before.
One day the young man allowed her to try on the skates. The child
was too happy for words. Of course she fell down, and sprawled
about the floor, but did not mind at all.
"Look here, Dinah," said the young man, "I understand that my
aunt has been trying to teach you to read."
Dinah answered that she certainly had.
"Why didn't you learn?" asked the young man. "You need not
trouble to answer," said he, "it was just because you are too
lazy. Now, if, on the first of January, you can read, I tell you
what I will do. I will send you as good a pair of roller-skates
as I can buy in Boston."
How Dinah's eyes snapped. For a moment she said nothing, then
exclaimed decidedly, "I'll have those skates, sure."
And she did. When she bent her mind on her work she could always
do it well, no matter what it was.
The lady who had before this found her such a difficult child to
teach, now had no trouble. If Dinah showed the least sign of her
former laziness the word SKATES! was enough to make her bend her
mind on her lesson instantly.
On New Year morning she received a box marked in large printed
MISS DINAH MORRIS,
Care of Mrs. Lawrence Delaney,
NEW ORLEANS, LA.
If she can read what is on the outside of
this box she can have what is inside.
And as Dinah read every word plainly and quickly, of course she
had for her very own the fine roller-skates the box held. And now
sitting curled up in the sun, doing nothing, is not the thing she
likes to do best.