Marcellin by Unknown
MARCELLIN, a young shepherd
boy, who tended his father’s flock
upon the mountains, having penetrated a
deep gorge to search for one of his sheep
which was missing, discovered in the
thickest of the forest a man lying upon
the ground overcome with fatigue, and
faint from want of food.
“My poor lad,” said the man, “I am
dying from hunger and thirst. Two days
ago I came upon this mountain to hunt.
I lost my way, and I have passed two
nights in the woods.”
Marcellin drew some bread and cheese
from his knapsack, and gave to the stranger.
“Eat,” he said, “and then follow me.
I will conduct you to an old oak tree, in
the trunk of which we shall find some
The food satisfied his hunger; then
he followed Marcellin, and drank of the
water, which he found excellent. Afterwards
the boy conducted him down the
mountain, and pointed out the way to the
Then the hunter said to the shepherd
boy, “My good lad, you have saved my
life. If I had remained in the mountain
another night, I should have died. I will
show you my gratitude. Come with me
to the city. I am rich; and I will treat
you as if you were my own son.”
“No, sir,” said Marcellin; “I cannot
go with you to the city. I have a father
and a mother who are poor, but whom I
love with all my heart. Were you a king,
I would not leave my parents.”
“But,” said the hunter, “you live here
in a miserable cabin with an ugly thatched
roof; I live in a palace built of marble,
and surrounded with statues. I will give
you drink in glasses like crystal, and food
upon plates of silver.”
“Very likely,” responded Marcellin;
“but our house is not half as miserable
as you suppose. If it is not surrounded
with statues, it is among fruit trees and
trellised vines. We drink water which
we get from a neighboring fountain. It
is very clear, though we do not drink from
crystal cups. We gain by our labor a
modest living, but good enough. And if
we do not have silver ware in our house,
we have plenty of flowers.”
“Nonsense, my boy! Come with me,”
said the hunter; “we have trees and flowers
in the city more beautiful than yours.
I have magnificent grounds, with broad
alleys, with a flower garden filled with the
most precious plants. In the middle of
it there is a beautiful fountain, the like
of which you never saw. The water is
thrown upward in small streams, and falls
back sparkling into the great white marble
basin. You would be quite happy to
“But I am quite happy here,” replied
Marcellin. “The shade of our forests
is at least as delicious as that of your
superb alleys. Our fields are running
over with flowers. You can hardly step
without finding them under your feet.
There are flowers around our cottage—roses,
violets, lilies, pansies. Do you
suppose that our fountains are less beautiful
than your little jets of water? You
should see the merry brooks bounding
down over the rocks, and running away
through the flowery meadow.”
“You don’t know what you refuse,”
rejoined the hunter. “If you go into the
city, you will be put to school, where you
can study all departments of art and science.
There are theatres, where skilful
musicians will enchant your ears by harmony.
There are rich saloons, to which
you will be admitted, to enjoy splendid
fêtes. And since you so much love the
country, you shall pass your summer vacation
with me in a superb chateau which
“Well, I am greatly obliged to you,”
replied the shepherd boy; “but I think
I had better stop with father and mother.
I can learn everything useful in our village
school. I am taught to fear God, to honor
my parents, and to imitate their virtues.
I don’t wish to learn anything beyond that.
Then your musicians, which you tell about,
do they sing any better than the nightingale
or the golden robin? Then we have
our concerts and our fêtes. We are right
down happy when we are all together on
Sunday evening under the trees. My
sister sings, while I accompany her upon
my flute. Our chants can be heard a
long way off, and echo repeats them.
And in the evening, when we stay in
the house, grandfather is with us. We
love him so much because he is so
good. No, I will not leave my parents.
I will not renounce their home, if it is
humble. I cannot go to the city with
The hunter saw that it was of no use
to argue the point; so he said,—
“What shall I give you, then, to express
my gratitude for your services?
Take this purse, filled with gold.”
“What need have I of it? We are
poor, but we want nothing. Besides, if I
accept your money, I should sell the little
service I have been able to render. That
would be wrong; my mother would blame
me for such conduct. She tells me that
we ought always to assist those who are
in trouble and want without expecting pay
“Generous boy! What shall I give you
as a mark of my gratitude? You must
accept something, or I shall be greatly
“Is it so?” asked Marcellin, playfully.
“Then give me the cup which is suspended
at your side—that one on which
is engraved a picture of some dogs pursuing
The hunter joyfully gave the cup to the
happy shepherd boy, who, having once
more indicated the way which would lead
to the city, bade him good day, and went
back to his flock.
And the rich man returned to his splendid
dwelling, having learned that it is the
proper use of the means we have, rather
than wishing for greater, which brings
happiness and contentment.