Gateway to the Classics: The Way of the Gate by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
 
The Way of the Gate by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Allan's Lesson

Allan was not fond of washing his face and hands. Although he was six years old and went to the first grade in school, he did not like soap and water. His mother bought him his very own wash cloths with red borders, and his very own towels with a big A embroidered in red on the end of each; but still Allan forgot to be clean.

He ate apples, and cookies, and jam, and did not wash his face. He made mud pies and did not wash his hands.

"I don't know whether I really ought to let you go to Grandmother's alone," Allan's mother said when a fat letter came asking Allan to visit his grandmother. "I am afraid that you will forget to wash your face and hands."

"Oh, no, I will not forget. Please let me go!" Allan begged.

It was a most exciting trip. Cows, and sheep, and red barns, and orchards full of red and yellow apples and peaches and pears seemed to fly by the train. Allan pressed his nose against the train window and put his hands on the window sill that he might look out better. Then he ate a piece of molasses taffy that he had in his pocket. Soon the train stopped and he jumped out into his grandfather's arms.

There were so very many pleasant things to do that the first afternoon. at grandmother's passed very quickly. Allan climbed many trees, and helped his grandfather trim the grape vines and do some plowing. Then he and Bayard, grandfather's big dog, hunted for a woodchuck in the back lot. Although the woodchuck was too wise to be caught, they had a very good time; and Allan dug as deep down in the earth as Bayard did.

When grandmother's supper bell called them both to the house at half past five, Allan hurried to sit down in the, place that was waiting for him next to grandmother. Bayard's bowl of bread and milk stood on his tray in one corner of the room, and grandfather and Uncle Henry and Uncle William were all at table.

Suddenly every one was very quiet as Allan looked at himself in the mirror that hung at the other end of the room. Oh, what a dirty little boy looked back at him! Dust and cinders from the railway train, and dirt from the field and the orchard were all over his face and hands. No one said anything to Allan, because he was company, but every one thought

"What a dirty little boy! He forgot to wash his face and hands."

Allan hung his head. Then he looked at the bowl of milk that stood on the tray on the floor. It said on the side: "For a Good Dog."

"Where is Bayard?" Allan asked.

"Come and see," his grandmother answered. She got up and went out to the kitchen. Allan followed her, and what do you suppose they saw?

Bayard stood on his hind legs with his front legs on the edge of the kitchen sink patiently waiting. When he saw Allan's grandmother, he barked and wagged his tail.

"He wants me to wash his face and paws before he has his supper," she explained. "He always comes to the kitchen and waits, before a meal, to be washed." She took down a cloth that hung on a hook over the sink and carefully wiped Bayard's face and paws, which were all dirty from digging for the woodchuck. Then Bayard barked again, very joyously this time, and went in to eat his bread and milk.

"I'll be back in a minute," Allan said, as he hurried upstairs to find his towel and wash cloth. And after that Allan never, never forgot to wash his face and hands.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart.

-Psalm xxiv. 3, 4.


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