The Red Apples
One windy day in March Kitty Miller was on her way to school, when she spied in a store window, a great pile of lovely red apples.
“Oh”, she said, “how lovely! if Mamma could only have one!”
Kittie’s mother was very poor. She had been a dress-maker ever since Mr. Miller died, and had worked so hard to earn a living for herself and Kitty that she had become sick. She was obliged to lie in bed all day, and when Kitty was away at school, the house was very lonesome to the invalid.
When Kitty reached the school that day her thoughts were full of her sick mother and the lovely apples.
She was usually a good scholar, but to-day she made so many blunders that the teacher looked at her in surprise. The little girl could only sit at her desk, with her book before her, and dream of those red apples. When school was dismissed, Kitty started slowly homeward. She had gone only a short distance when she saw a gentleman in front of her drop his purse. Running quickly forward she picked it up. It felt quite heavy in Kittie’s little hand.
“There must be a good deal of money in it,” thought Kitty. “How I wish I could keep it. Then I could buy Mamma a red apple and so many other things she needs.”
But she knew this would not be right, so she hurried after the gentleman. Touching him on the arm, she said, “Please, Sir, you dropped your purse.”
“Thank you, dear,” said the gentleman taking the purse.
Then noticing how poorly dressed she was, he said, “Why did you not keep the purse, my child?”
“Because that would be stealing,” replied Kitty. “But,” she continued honestly, “before I thought I must give it back to you, I did wish I could keep it, for then I could buy Mamma a red apple.”
The gentleman smiled kindly and said, “You are a good little girl to return my purse. I would like to give you a little present and then you can buy a red apple.”
He handed her a silver dollar and then bade her good-by.
Kitty was so surprised that she started hastily for home, forgetting all about the red apples until she stood in front of the store.
The store-keeper happened to look out and saw the same little girl who stood looking so longingly in at his window in the morning. He quickly picked out the biggest, roundest, reddest apple he could find and taking it out to Kitty said, “Would you like this, my dear?”
She took the apple, looking so pleased and thanking him so prettily, that the good man thought of it for many a day. When Kitty reached home with her treasures she found her mother fast asleep. So she put the apple and silver piece on a plate where her mother could see them when she awoke.
When Mrs. Miller was told the wonderful story, she kissed her little daughter and said, “You see, dear, it always pays to be honest and truthful.”