The Broken Saw

A boy went to live with a man who was known as a hard master. - He never was able to keep his boys; they either ran away or gave notice that they intended to quit. Half of the time he was without a boy or was looking around for one. The work’.was not. very hard - it consisted of opening and sweeping out the shop, chopping wood, running errands, and helping in other ways. At last, Sam Fisher went to live with him. "Sam’s a good boy," said his mother. "I would like to see a boy nowadays who has a spark of goodness in him," growled his new master,

It is always difficult to work for a man who has no confidence in you, because even though you do your best, you are likely to be given little credit for it. However, Sam thought he would try; the wages were good, and his mother wanted him to go. Sam had been there but three days when, in sawing wood, he broke the saw. He was somewhat frightened. He knew he had been careful and that he was quite capable with the saw for a boy of his age, but nevertheless it had broken in his hands.

"Mr. Jones will thrash you for it," said another boy who was in the woodshed with him. "Why, of course I didn’t mean it, and accidents will happen to the best of folks," said Sam, looking sadly at the broken saw. "Mr. Jones never makes allowances," said the other boy; "I have never met anyone like him. Bill might have stayed, but he jumped into a hen’s nest and broke her eggs. He didn’t dare to tell, but Mr. Jones kept suspecting him of it, blaming him for everything wrong, whether Bill was to blame or not, till Bill couldn’t stand it any longer.

"Did he tell Mr. Jones about the eggs?" asked Sam. "No," said the boy, "he was afraid; Mr. Jones has such a temper." "I think he should have confessed it at once," said Sam. "I suspect you’ll find it easier to preach than to practice," said the boy, "I’d run away before I would tell" and he soon turned away and left Sam alone with his broken saw.

It was after supper and Sam was not likely to see Mr. Jones that night. The shop was shut and his master had gone to a meeting. And the next morning Mr. Jones would get up early, go into the woodshed, and see what was done, for Sam would never hide the saw.

The poor boy did not feel very comfortable or happy. He closed up the woodshed, walked out in the garden, and then went up to his little room under the eaves. He wished he could tell Mrs. Jones, but she was not very sociable, and he felt he would rather not. Sam, falling on his knees, prayed, "O God, help me to do the thing that is right." Sam had always said his prayers, but he had not always prayed as earnestly as he did that night.

I do not know what time it was, but when Mr. Jones came home the boy heard him. He got up, crept downstairs, and met Mr. Jones in the kitchen. "Sir," said Sam, "I broke your saw, and I thought I would come and tell you before you found it in the morning." "Why did you get up to tell me of your carelessness?" asked Mr. Jones. "Because," said Sam, "I was afraid if I put it off I might be tempted to lie about it. I am sorry I broke it, but I tried hard to be careful."

Mr. Jones looked at the boy from head to foot, then stretching out his hand, said heartily, "There, Sam, shake hands. I’ll trust you. Go to bed now and don’t worry I’m glad the saw broke; it shows the mettle in you. Go to bed now." Mr. Jones was fairly won. Never were there better friends after that than Sam and he. Sam thinks justice has not been done Mr. Jones. If the boys had treated him honestly, he would have been a good man to live with. Sam Fisher found in him a kind master and a faithful friend.

Be the matter what it may,
Always speak the truth;
Whether work or whether play.
Always speak the truth;
Never from this rule depart,
Grave it deeply on your heart,
Written ’tis Virtue’s chart,
Always speak the truth.