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Fifty-two Story Talks To Boys And Girls by Howard J. Chidley


I know it would seem strange if I told you that every boy and girl has to be tied to something in order that he may be free. And yet that is the exact truth.

The majority of you no doubt know what the multiplication-table is, and I am sure you have thought it a pretty disagreeable thing. Perhaps you have wondered why seven times eight is always fifty-six, and why your teacher insists that it shall be that every time. You don't see why it can't be fifty-five just once, or possibly fifty-seven. But, no, sir; it is always fifty-six.

When you get farther along in life I believe you will be glad to know that seven times eight is always fifty-six, whether you meet it in the grocery-store, or in the bank, or in New York, or in Philadelphia, or in China; for it will be a comfort to know that the multiplication-table does not change, like many other things, as you go from place to place. Whenever or wherever you meet it, it is always the same. Now, because you were tied to that table as a boy or girl, you will be free to go where you like with it in after-life.

The same is true about riding a bicycle. You know that in order to be free to ride a bicycle you must obey the rules of riding it; that is, when you are in danger of falling to the right you must turn the front wheel to the right. If you do not, you will fall off.

Here again, you see, you must be tied in order to be free.

You will find that a rule all through life. That is why your parents and teachers lay down so many rules for you. It is not because they want to hedge you in and torment you, but that you may be free men and women later.

Boys and girls who are never tied up, sooner or later find that as men and women they are not free. Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, would not be tied up to any rules as a girl. She was wilful and wild, so in later life she caused the death of her husband and herself.

That same rule is even true of stars. Comets are tramp stars. They refuse to be tied up, and they ramble about all over the sky. So they never have trees and flowers on them. Our earth, on the other hand, is tied up to the sun and goes round it like a horse round a racetrack, and so it is bound by seasons and brings forth beautiful trees and flowers.

Among other disadvantages of being a comet is that comets are in danger of losing a great part of their substance every time they approach the sun. Halley's comet, which used to be such a wonderful sight, has dwindled away to a very great extent. When it came a few years ago scarcely any one saw it.

So it is always: to be really free and to grow you must be tied; and I hope that none of you children will ever be fretful when your parents and teachers make rules that you do not see the meaning of, but which are for your good.

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