Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Basket of Flowers ~ A Character Building Story

Basket of Flowers by Christoph von Schmid

"By and by James married a young woman, whose principles, like his own, were deeply religious, and together they lived in comfort and harmony many years. Then children came to brighten their life, but one after another was taken away, and at last only Mary remained, whose history this story is mainly occupied in telling...

When James Rode was a little over sixty years of age his wife died. Mary was now five years old, and a fine, beautiful girl. The neighbours were foolish enough sometimes to call her pretty to her face, and, although this was a dangerous thing to do, it had not the effect of spoiling her. Besides being beautiful in face, Mary had a beautiful character, and was modest and obedient, and possessed unbounded love for her father. When she came to be fifteen years of age, she became her father's housekeeper, and so thorough and constant were her habits of cleanliness…

To Mary, who had grown up, as it were, in the midst of plants, there had come a natural taste for flowers, and the garden was to her a little world. She was never at a loss for a delightful occupation, for every hour which she had at her disposal was spent in cultivating the young plants with the utmost care.

James, as a wise father, knew how to direct the taste of his daughter towards the most noble ends. Often he used to say, "Let others spend their money for jewels and silks and other adornments; I will spend mine for flower-seeds. Silks and satins and jewels cannot procure for our children so pure a pleasure as these beautiful exhibitions of the wisdom and benevolence of God."

And then the unexpected happens...
"Dear Mary," said Amelia, "what have you been doing? My mother's diamond ring, which she left lying in the room where you were, is lost. No one has been in the chamber but you. Do give it up at once, and no harm will be done."
The unexpected charge of theft stunned and frightened Mary. Earnestly she declared her innocence. She had never seen the ring, nor had she moved from the place where she stood when she entered the room. But Amelia found it impossible to believe her, and continued to urge her to give up the ring, which she said was worth a large sum of money. To be suspected of theft was bad enough, but to have her friend Amelia unwilling to believe her, made Mary burst into tears.

After much anxious deliberation the judge pronounced sentence upon Mary. In consideration of her extreme youth and the unblemished character which, up till now, she had enjoyed, the sentence of death was not to be carried out; but instead, Mary and her father were to be banished from the country, and all their furniture and possessions were to be sold to make up, as far as possible, for the value of the ring, and to pay the expenses of the trial…"

~ Excerpts from Basket of Flowers

How does it all end?

Or you can read this character building story here at Project Gutenberg for free…

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