A COUNTRYMAN brought from town five of the finest peaches that were to be had. His children had never seen this fruit, therefore they were highly delighted to see the beautiful peaches with their red cheeks and delicate bloom.
The father gave one to each of his four boys, and one to their dear mother. In the evening, just before the children went to bed, he asked them, "Well, how did you like the nice peaches?" "Very much, indeed," said the oldest boy. "It is a delicious fruit, of so delicate and luscious a flavor. I have taken care of the stone, and mean to grow a tree." "Well done," answered the father. "It is the duty of a countryman to be economical and to think of the future." "I ate mine up directly," exclaimed the youngest, "and I threw the stone away, and mother gave me half of hers. Oh! how sweet it was—how it melts in one's mouth!" "Well," said the father, "you have not done very wisely, but at all events like a child. You have still time, though, in life to become prudent." Then the second son began: "I picked up the stone which my little brother threw away, and opened it. There was a kernel inside as sweet as an almond; but I sold my own peach and received so much money for it that I may buy a dozen when I go to town."
The father shook his head and said: "That is cleverly done, but not like a child. Heaven preserve thee from becoming a trader! And you, Edmund," asked the father. Edmund answered frankly: "I took my peach to the son of our neighbor, sick George, who has the fever. He would not take it, so I put it down on his bed and went away." "Well," said the father, "who has made the best use of his peach?" then all the boys exclaimed: "Brother Edmund!" Edmund was silent, and his mother embraced him with tears in her eyes.
A Fictional Short Story by
Agnes Taylor Ketchum & Ida M. Jorgensen