A Mean Boy

by Anonymous

Harry Burton woke one night and heard a strange noise in his closet. He got out of bed, crossed the floor in his bare feet, and carefully opened the closet door. The noise stopped, instantly.

"Ah!" said Harry, "I knew it was mice made that noise. How I wish I could catch them."

The next morning he told his mother about the noises he had heard.

"I will get you a mouse-trap," she said.

"I don't want the kind that kills the mice, I only want to catch them and tame them," said Harry.

His mother laughed and told him when he had tamed his mice he must keep them well out of her way.

The trap was set, the mice were caught, and sure enough, in a short time were so tame they would eat from Harry's hand. He made a little house for them, and kept in it his bedroom. Whenever he went out, he always shut the door carefully.

Now it happened that among Harry's acquaintances, there was one very disagreeable boy. His name was Dick Taft. Harry did not play with him very often, for he was so ugly it was hard to get along with him.

Dick never liked to be beaten at any game, and sometimes made it very uncomfortable for the one who got ahead of him.

One day Harry happened to beat him at one of their school games. Dick called after him when it was over, "I'll pay you for this, see if I don't."

Harry only laughed as he walked away going in the opposite direction from his own house.

When he was out of sight, Dick ran to Harry's house, made some excuse to go up in his bedroom, and let in the big cat, who was eagerly watching outside.

When Harry came home, the mouse house was open, and not one of his pets was to be seen. The poor fellow was almost heart-broken. He asked every one in the house who had left his door open. The maid told him she thought it must have been that boy he sent up to his room.

She described the boy, and Harry knew in a moment that it was Dick Taft.

"So that is the way he paid me for beating him at a game," cried Harry. "Well, never again, so long as I live, will I play with a boy who is mean enough to do such a trick as that."

And he kept his word.