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“James threw down his battledoor on the grass.”–p. 6.


Prepared for the American Sunday-school Union, and revised by the Committee of Publication.


Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by Paul Beck, Jr., Treasurer, in trust for the American Sunday-school Union, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


James and Sarah were playing at battledoor and shuttlecock, one afternoon, in their aunt’s garden. when their aunt passed by them, through the garden gate, into the house, with something in her hand which James thought looked like apples.

“Do you know what aunt is going to do with those apples?” said he to Sarah.

“I did not see any apples,” replied Sarah, keeping her eye on the shuttlecock.

“When we have done this game, we will go and see the apples,” said James, turning his head round, and looking after his aunt.

“The game is mine! the game is mine!” said Sarah, as she saw the shuttlecock fall to the ground.

James threw down his battledoor on the grass, and then laid down himself, while Sarah stood by him, laughing, and telling him how foolish it was to expect to

keep up a game of battledoor, if our eyes were looking to some other object. (See frontispiece.)

“This is the first game I ever lost in my life,” said James.

“You would not have lost this,” said Sarah, “if you had minded what you were doing, instead of thinking about aunt’s apples.”

James jumped up from the ground when Sarah mentioned the apples.

“Come, Sarah,” said he; “come: I know they were apples; beautiful red and white apples. Come, let us go and see them.”

“Why should we want to see them?” said Sarah. “We may be sure they are not for us, for, if they were, aunt would have called us before this time, and given them to us.”

James took hold of Sarah’s arm, and pulled her along with him into the house, and then into the parlour.

“Oh! here are the apples,” said James. “Oh! Sarah, see how tempting they look. I never saw

such beautiful apples in my life.”

“Nor I,” said Sarah, turning away. “But come, James, shall we go into the garden again and find aunt? I wonder where she is.”

James laid his two elbows on the end of the sideboard, on which the apples were standing, and leaned his head upon his hand, and looked, and looked, and looked, at their fair and beautiful appearance.

Foolish boy! That was the very way to make him desire to taste of them so much the more.

“Do you not think,” said he to Sarah, “that these apples must be very juicy and sweet?”

“They are not mine, brother,” said Sarah, “and I have no desire for them; and if I do not look at them, nor think about them, I shall not desire to have them.” When she had said this she went out of the room, into the garden, and sat down on a little bench, which their aunt had kindly made for her little nephews and nieces, when they came to see her, and she expected her brother would soon follow her.

When Sarah was gone James thought within himself, “Well, now, if I take one of these apples if will do not hurt. My aunt has enough of them, and she will never miss it. I can eat a part of it, and if I hear her, or any one else coming, I can put it in my pocket and eat the rest another time. And I may never have a chance to get such nice apples again.”

Why was he afraid his aunt should see him, if here was no hurt in it? And why did he not remember that God knew all he thought, and was all he did?

When he had looked at the apples a few moments more, he put his hand out and took one, and he was so eager to eat it that he tried to crows almost half of it into his mouth at once. But, oh! how foolishly he felt when he found that his teeth struck so fast in the apple that he

could scarcely get it out of his mouth again.

Just at that moment his aunt came into the room and caught him with the apple in his hand, and his teeth full of wax; for these beautiful, fine looking apples, like many other fine things in the world, were good for nothing but to look at. They were made of wax, and so skilfully shaped, and so beautifully coloured, that any one would have supposed them to have been real apples.

James was so ashamed that he could not say a word to his aunt, nor even lift up his face to look at her.

“James,” said she, “I am really sorry that you cannot look upon any thing which you think nice, without taking some of it away. I bought these waxen apples this very day, of the man who made them, because I supposed they would amuse you and Sarah. I did not think you would have touched them, or I would have put them out of your way.”

James said he was really ashamed of what he had done, and that he thought he never should do so again.

“I hope you will not my dear,” said his aunt; “but I must send you home to-morrow, notwithstanding all your promises; because the fruit is all to be gathered from the garden the day after to-morrow, and I find you are not to be trusted even to see it. Besides, if you should eat too much of it, you would be sick, and perhaps you would die.”

The next day James was sent home; but Sarah stayed with her aunt much longer; and when she went home, her aunt gave her two baskets of fine fruit to carry to her father and mother.

Sarah might be trusted. She had none of that idle curiosity, and that desire to taste of every thing, which had led James to do so foolishly. And James has been careful ever since not to meddle with what does not belong to him.

If he sees any thing that looks good, and feels tempted to take it, or taste of it, he remembers the wax in his teeth, and says



This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.