Charlie's Escape by Unknown
I HAVE some boy-cousins living in the country of whom I think a great
deal. They write me letters quite often. I can hardly tell whose letters
give me the most pleasure, the “big boys’,” who write me about their school,
their colts and calves, their good times on the holidays, or the little printed
letters I get from the “small boys,” telling me how many chickens they have
and that they love me. I am sure I love them all, and hope they will grow
to be good, true men.
Charlie is one of the “big boys.” Not
very big, either—just thirteen
years old, and rather small and slight for his years. A few weeks ago a neighbor
of his father’s was going away, and got Charlie to do “the chores” for
him during his absence—feed the young cattle, milk the cow and keep things
in order about the barn. Charlie is an obliging boy, so he performed his
task faithfully. If I had time, boys, I would just like to stop here and give
you a little lecture on faithfulness, with Charlie for a model, for he
is a “faithful
boy.” But I want to tell my story. For two or three days Charlie went
each morning to his neighbor’s barn, and after milking the cow turned all
the creatures to pasture, and every night drove them home again. One morning,
as he stood by the bars waiting for them all to pass out, a frisky year-old
calf—“a yearling” the farmers call them—instead of going orderly over the
bars, as a well-disposed calf should, just gave a side jump and shook her horns
at Charlie. “Over with you!” called Charlie, and waved his hand at her.
Miss Yearling either fancied this an insult or an invitation to single combat, for
she again lowered her head and ran at Charlie, who had no stick, and so
thought best to run from the enemy. He started for the stable door, but in
his hurry and fright he could not open it, and while fumbling at the latch the
creature made another attack. Charlie dodged her again, and one of her
horns pierced the door nearly an inch. Again she ran at him, and with her
nose “bunted” him off his feet. Charlie was getting afraid now, and called
out to the folks in the house, “Oh, come and help me!” and right then he bethought
him of something he had read in his father’s “Agriculturist” about a
boy in similar danger, who saved himself by grasping the cow’s horns that had
attacked him. So just as the yearling was about to try again if she could
push him over, he took fast hold of each horn. But his situation was getting
very unpleasant, for he was penned up in a corner, with the barn behind him,
a high fence on one side and the now angry heifer in front. He had regained
his feet, but was pushed and staggered about, for he was fast losing his strength.
No wonder his voice had a quiver in it as he again shouted as loud as he
could, “Oh, do come quick!” The lady in the house was busy getting breakfast,
and heard no sound. A lady-visitor in one of the chambers heard the
first call, but thought it only boys at play. By and by the distressed shout
again smote her ears, and this time she heard the words, “Help me!” She
ran down stairs to the housekeeper, who opened the outside door and listened.
Charlie’s voice was weak and faint now, and the fear came to the lady that he
had fallen into the barn cellar. She ran quickly to the great door of the barn.
“Where are you, Charlie?” “Come to the stable door,” answered back a
faint, trembling voice. She quickly ran through the barn to that door, but
she could not open it at first, for the heifer had pushed herself around till she
stood broadside against the door. But the lady pushed hard and got the door
open a little way, and seizing the big stable broom hit the naughty animal
two or three heavy whacks that made her move around; and as soon as she
opened the door wide, Charlie let go her horns, and she (the heifer), not
liking the big broom-handle, turned and ran off as fast as her legs could go.
The lady helped Charlie up and into the house, for he could hardly stand.
He was bruised and lame, and the breath had almost left him. But after resting
a while and taking some good warm drink, he tried to walk home; and though
the lady helped him, he found it hard work, for he was so sore and bruised.
Charlie’s mother was frightened enough to see her boy come home leaning on
their neighbor’s arm and looking so pale. She helped him undress and lie
down, and then she did just what your mother, little reader-boy, would do if
you had such an escape as Charlie’s. She put her arms around her boy and
said, “Let us thank the good Lord that you were not killed, my boy.” And
do you think Charlie will ever forget his escape? I don’t. And I hope he
will always thank “the good Lord” not only for the escape, but for his every