Brave Ben



"A boy wanted" was the notice put up in the window of a nice looking country hotel. A boy named Ben read it, and said to himself, "I wonder if I would do for that place. I must do something to earn money, or how will poor mother be able to live? I guess I'll step in and ask about it."

So Ben went in. It was the first time he had ever been in a barroom. The place looked neat and clean, and there were not drunken men about. But the smell of the place was sickening, and Ben's heart sank within him at the thought of living in such a place. The keeper of the house was a good-natured, pleasant looking German. In payment for his services, he offered Ben his board and such sums of money as he could make by holding the horses of travelers who stopped to get a drink, and by doing little jobs for them. Then in return for these privileges he was to make himself generally useful about the place, and in the absence of the master he was to pour out drinks from the glittering bottles to any poor wretches who could pay for them.

"Well now," said the proprietor, after giving Ben this account of what was expected of him, "you have heard what I want you to do; are you ready to begin work?"

"Give me a few minutes to think it over," said Ben, "and I'll make up my mind one way or the other."

"Well, you may think about it, but I get plenty more boys if you not like it"' said the German, a little angry, and speaking somewhat brokenly.

Ben said nothing more, but went out to the pump to get a drink; and then he sat on a grassy bank to think the matter over.

"What would mother think of my having a place in a barroom? I dare say I could make a good deal of money; but would she be willing to use money made in this way? Then," continued Ben, "what would God think of it? Is there not somewhere in the Bible a curse pronounced on him who putteth the bottle to his neighbor's lips? And if I get used to selling liquor to others, might it not end in my learning to drink myself? No, I can't think of taking such a place as this," said Ben to himself.

Then he returned to the tavern. The proprietor stood in the porch.

"Well, boy, what you think of my offer?"

"I think I can't take the place," said Ben boldly. "I want work very much, but there are three reasons why I am not willing to do this sort of work. One is that God would not like it. Another is, my mother would not like It, And then I don't like it myself. I am afraid it might end in my becoming a drunkard. Good morning, sir."

Ben walked away, leaving the German much puzzled to make out what the boy meant. But there was another person present who understood the boy perfectly. A gentleman had driven up in a buggy to inquire the way to the next town. He was much pleased with Ben's answer to the tavern-keeper. He overtook him, and invited him to take a ride in his buggy, as he wished to have a talk with him.

Ben got in, and the gentleman said, "My boy, I honor you for refusing to work in a barroom; and on that account you will be just the boy for me. I want a clerk that I can trust; a boy who is faithful to God, faithful to his mother, and faithful to his own conscience, is the kind of boy that I want."

Then he named a very generous sum that he was willing to give, and Ben went home to his mother that day about as happy as a boy could be.


From: THRILLING STORIES For Young And Old By Julia A. Shelhamer, God's Bible School and College, Cincinnati, Ohio. No Date