Grumbling Tommy
"Be content with such things as ye have.” Hebrews 13:5

This is a story about a boy called Tommy. Now his daddy had died, and his mum had to work real hard to get enough money for them to have food to eat and clothes to wear and everything else. She did her best and worked very hard, and never grumbled or complained, but they were poor, and she found it very hard. Tommy also had a sister called Lucy.
Now one night, it was really cold. It had been snowing nearly all day, and now it was almost a blizzard. Inside their house it was nice and cozy. Tommy was reading a book by the fire, and his mum was working at the table. Tommy listened to the wind and snow outside and began thinking about how cold it must be outside.
The next minute he said, 'Mum, when are you going to buy me a new coat? You promised me you would buy one this winter, remember?
Tommy's Mum looked troubled. 'I'm sorry, Tommy, but I don't think I'll be able to buy you a new coat this winter, especially not now. I'm very sorry, but I just don't think I can afford it...'
Tommy interrupted her.' I never have anything like other boys!'
'Tommy,' said his mum.' You know that you have everything that I can buy you, and you know that i would buy you a new coat if I could, but at the moment I just can't afford it.'
'I wonder why God lets us be so poor!' said Tommy. ' Look at cousin Robby, and Willie Thompson, and--- and--'
'And what?' said his mother.
'They always get new coats when they want them.' said Tommy.
'If they do, then they should be very thankful,' said his mum. 'But just think, Tommy, of all the children who live in the streets in this cold awful weather, who hardly have any clothes to keep them warm, and have hardly any food, and don't have any homes to go to. They'll just have to sleep somewhere outside. Just think about them, Tommy, and thank God that you have a comfortable home, with lots to eat and drink, with clothes which are nice and warm, even if they aren't brand new.'
'Now,' she said, 'I am going to fix up your old coat, put some new buttons on it, and make it look almost like brand new. Now, give me a have to sleep somewhere outside. Just think about them, Tommy, and thank God that you have a comfortable home, with lots to eat and drink, with clothes which are nice and warm, even if they aren't brand new.'
kiss, and go and get ready for bed. You're tired and grumpy.
Tommy went grumbling to bed.
Tommy's mum felt very sad. Tommy's complaining and grumbling made her cry, because she worked hard to earn money and she never complained. It was hard to be poor.
Soon Tommy fell asleep. But woke up as he heard his mum locking the doors, and coming up the stairs. She came into his room, and kissed him goodnight. Tommy said sleepily 'Goodnight, Mum!'
He heard her go out, and go to her own room. He wondered whether he had made her sad with all his grumbling, and he thought that he probably had. It made him feel sad. He listened to the rain outside, and thought about the poor boys who had nowhere to sleep outside. He heard the policeman walk past his window, and soon he fell asleep.
A while later he thought he heard his door open. He looked out from under his blankets to see who it was. A policemen was standing by his bed, looking at him with a torch. He was tall, and looked very grumpy. Tommy was really scared! He was about to hide under his blankets, but the policeman stopped him. 'Little grumbler,' he said. 'discontented, unthankful boy, get up and come with me.'
'Where are we going?' said Tommy, a bit scared.
'Out into the streets,' said the policeman,' to see how it it is like for the poor boys who have no warm beds, not comfortable homes, and no kind mother to look after them.'
The thought of going out of his warm bed into the streets, on such a cold night, made Tommy shudder.
'But it's so cold,' he said.
'I know it is,' said the policeman. 'It's very cold. Come along!'
Tommy knew that he had to go, so he got out of bed shivering.
'Put on your clothes.' said the policeman.
So Tommy did.
'Where are your boots?'
'I left them down stairs,' said Tommy,' and the door's locked, and mom's got the key, so we can't get in there.'
He was glad he had thought of an excuse for not going.
But the policeman said,' Never mind, most of the boys on the streets have nothing on their feet. You won't be any worse off than they are. Come along!'
'But I haven't got my coat, and my hat,' said Tommy.
The policeman looked at him,' Coat, hat! You have a nice warm jersey now. Why! The boys you will see have hardly anything on to keep them warm.'
And he grabbed hold of Tommy's arm, and led him down the stairs, out of the door, into the street.
It was soo cold! As Tommy stepped out into the snow, he shivered from head to foot. But the horrible policeman dragged him through the sleet, rain, wind, and snow, until they came to a stable-yard where an empty covered wagon was put up for the night. The policeman urned his torch towards it, and there crouching and shivering in one corner, was what looked like a a bundle of rags, with two or three little bare feet peeping out from underneath it, and two thin pale faces looking out at him.
'Halloo! Said the policeman. 'What are you doing here?'
A little voice said,' Please sir, we're not hurting anything.'
'Is that you Bobby?' asked the policeman.
'Yes, sir, it's me and Billy.'
'Well,' said the policeman, and Tommy noticed that his voice was a bit more kind and gentle.'make sure you don't make a noise, and you can stay here all night.' And the little voice said,' Thank you, sir!'
'And take this little boy with you,' said the policeman as he lifted Tommy into the wagon,'and keep him here till I come back.'
And he turned and walked away. Tommy was glad to creep into the corner with the other boys away from the freezing cold wind. His toes and fingers were numb from the cold. He was shivering. His clothes were dripping, and his hair was all wet; and the cold drops trickled down his neck. Poor Tommy! He couldn't stand it any longer, and he burst into tears.
'What's wrong?' asked Bobby.
'It's so cold,' cried Tommy.' it's awful, its just so mean to bring me out of my warm bed on such a night as this!'
'COLD!!' said Bobby. 'Do you call this cold? How would you like to be sitting on a stone step, with nothing to keep the wind out, and the rain and snow falling on top of you all the time? THAT'S cold, but this- this is comfortable compared to that!'
'But we can't sleep here very often,' said Billy, 'the police make us go away, except for the one that brought you here; he's a good one, he is.'
Tommy kept crying, but he started to stop as he thought about what they had said. Soon, Bobby said,' Are you hungry?
'No, I'm not hungry,' said Tommy. 'I'm just cold and miserable.'
'I wish I was just cold,' said Bobby. 'I haven't had nothing to eat since this morning, and I wouldn't have had anything to eat at all, if a little boy on his way to school, hadn't given me his lunch. He was a kind little boy. Wasn't he?'
'I didn't get anything except a bit of soup.' said Billy. 'A man gave me a bit of money for holding his horse, and I got some soup. I haven't had anything else all day.'
By now Tommy had stopped crying. He felt ashamed of himself as he heard what these poor boys said. He thought of everything that he had, and then how awful it must be for these poor boys, who have no better place to sleep in than an awful wagon, and nothing to eat for a whole day but a bit of bread and butter, or a bowl of soup. Bobby and Billy had now fallen asleep. The wind seemed to get colder and colder as the night went on. But Tommy didn't complain and grumble now. The more cold it got, the more he felt sorry for his poor friends. Poor boys! How they shivered and moaned in their sleep! Tommy wished he had his old coat to spread over them.
He thought,' Mum was right! It is a warm and comfortable coat even if it isn't very new.' And he started crying as he remembered how unthankful he had been.
'But when the policeman comes,' he thought. 'I'll ask him to take these poor boys home with us. Mother will give them a good breakfast, I know.'
Finally he heard the policeman's footsteps coming up the yard. Then he saw the light of the torch shine into the wagon, and a voice called,--
'Get up, Tommy, it's getting so late.'
Tommy jumped up, wondering how the policeman's voice could sound like that, and then everything changed. The cold, hard boards of the wagon turned into soft, warm pillows; the light of the policeman's torch turned into the light of day and instead of the tall, stern policeman, there was only his little sister Lucy, laughing beside his bed, in his own little room at home.
Tommy rubbed his eyes. 'Why, have I been dreaming?' he said.' Where are Bobby and Billy?'
Lucy burst out laughing and ran down stairs.
Tommy got out of bed, and knelt down by his bed and he said his morning prayers. At the end of it he said,' Lord, let me never be a grumbler again, but help me to be a cheerful, contented and thankful boy.'

No comments:

Post a Comment