The Grape Clusters
by the American Sunday-School Union
Very beautiful were the grape-clusters as they
hung on the graceful vine, and very tempting to the
hand that was near enough to pluck them.
Two little boys came on an errand to the lady who
lived in the house which the grape-vine shaded. It
was reviving to come out of the city's heat and dust,
and enter that pleasant parlour, screened from the
fiercer rays of the summer's sun by its green curtain
of leaves. The hot pavement and the glaring
walls of the city seemed far distant, for the charm
of the country was spread over that retired room.
All city sights were shut out, and peace and quiet
The lady was sitting at her desk, writing, when
the boys entered. She spoke to them kindly,
for they were objects of her kind care, although
they did not live with her. They handed her a note
which required an answer. She gave them permission
to play in the yard, while she should write it.
They were very happy, for it was an unusual pleasure
for them. They examined the flowers which
grew in the narrow bed by the high, close fence, and
then they began to look wistfully at the rich bunches
of grapes, which were within their reach. The lady
had not told them that they might gather any, and
they felt that they ought not to do so. But the
tempter was near, and they listened to his suggestions.
The lady was sitting at her desk writing, when the boys entered.
Looking towards the house to see if they were observed,
they cautiously went up to the vine, and
each gathered a bunch of grapes. They ate them
secretly, that they might avoid detection; but although
they knew it not, there was an eye in the
house that saw them, and there was another eye
from which their act was not hid—the eye of the
When the note was written, the boys were recalled
to the parlour, and pleasantly dismissed. I
think they must have felt somewhat ashamed, that
they had abused the confidence reposed in them,
and had been guilty of stealing from their kind
After they left, the lady was informed what they
had done. When she visited "the home," where
they lived, she mentioned the fact to their teacher,
although she did not allude to it to them.
The teacher took occasion to talk with her scholars
about being honest and trustworthy, and asked
them what they should think of children who, when
sent on errands and permitted to go into the yard
to enjoy themselves, should stealthily take the fruit
which grew there. They, of course, condemned
such conduct. She gave them the instruction they
needed, and endeavoured to impress its importance
upon their minds.
Soon after the close of the school, the two boys
who had taken the grapes went to her and told her
what they had done. She talked with them kindly.
They seemed truly penitent. She asked them if
they would like to go to the lady and acknowledge
their fault. They said they should, and immediately
they put on their straw hats, and their clean
sacks, and went cheerfully to make all the reparation
in their power for the fault they had committed.
Confession is always pleasant to the truly penitent.
Again they stood in that shaded parlour. They
were affectionately welcomed as before. They confessed
freely and fully, what they had done on their
previous visit, and asked forgiveness, which was
readily granted. Just as they were leaving, they
turned and inquired, "Can you ever trust us again?"
The lady assured them that she could, and they
went away happy and strengthened in their good
From that time there has been a marked change
in the children. Their characters have much improved
and they have been, in all respects, more
conscientious and trustworthy. One of the boys
has, I think, found a Christian home, and the other
is waiting for one.