What shall we learn today?

To continue of the depth of education that we touched on last week, the first lesson from the Appleton’s Fourth Reader will here be presented. I would urge you to read through the entire content and then let us discuss its merits.

4th reader

I.-The Whistle

  1. When I was a child, seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pockets with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and, being charmed with the sound of a whistle that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my money for one. 
  2. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but distr=urbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth.
  3. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and they laughed at me so much for my folly that I cried with vexation.
  4. This, however, was afterward of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, “Don’t give too much for the whistle”; and so I saved my money. 
  5. As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.
  6. When I saw any one too ambitious of the favor of the great, wasting his time in attendance on public dinners, sacrificing his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, “This man gives too much for his whistle.”
  7. When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in politics, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect, “He pays, indeed,” said I, “too much for this whistle.”
  8. If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, “Poor man,” said I, “you do indeed pay too much for your whistle.”
  9. When I met a man of pleasure, sacrificing the improvement of his mind, or of his fortune, to mere bodily comfort, “Mistaken man,” said I, “you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure: you give too much for your whistle.”
  10. If I saw one fond of fine clothes, fine furniture, fine horses, all above his fortune, for which he contracted debts, and ended his career in prison, “Alas!” said I, “he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.”
  11. In short, I believe that a great part of the miseries of mankind were brought upon them by the false estimates they had made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles. 


Adapted from Benjamin Franklin


This is a piece that has a lot of implication in it while still being direct. There is a repetition which emphasizes the main point. There is a moral to the story and it is one of personal responsibility. Can you say our ten-year-olds today are given the same? What do you get from this piece? Think back or go take a look at the preparatory notes from last Friday.

Next Friday we will cover the specific notes for this piece as presented in the reader and go just that next step.

Tim R.

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