The Fourth of July Parade
There was to be a parade of all the Primary children on Fourth of July. They were to meet at the schoolhouse. Then they would start, two by two. With a great red, white, and blue flag in front, they would march to the park where the soldiers would be. One soldier would make a speech from the platform, that had beck built under the trees in the park.
The child who carried the flag was to stand on the platform and hold it while the soldier read his speech. Which child would that be? No one knew. All they could tell about it was what their teacher told them.
"It must be a brave child who carries the flag," the teacher said, "because the red of the flag says, 'Be brave.' It must be a true child, for that is what the blue says. And it must be a good child, for the white in the flag says, 'Be good.'"
So all the children tried to be brave, and true, and good. And they all told what they had been doing.
"I can fire my cap-pistol without winking," Edgar said. He thought that very brave.
"I shall be truthful all this week," Alice said. She did not know that she should be truthful always.
"I was so good to-day that my grandfather gave me a penny," Allen said. He did not know that he should do his best without pay.
Then it was the morning of Fourth of July. All the Primary children met at the schoolhouse door to march to the park. The flag that the teacher held in her hand was very large, and very beautiful.
Each child was sure that he or she would be chosen to carry it. But the teacher asked:
"Where is Jimmy?"
"Oh, Jimmy isn't coming. He told us when we went by his house that he wouldn't be able to come," the children said.
"Why will Jimmy not be able to come?" the teacher asked.
"He said that he had no new suit to wear," Alice said.
"And he is helping his mother with the work to-day because she is tired," Allen said. Then the teacher said: "Go and ask Jimmy's mother if he may come and march in the Fourth of July parade. He is to carry the flag."
"Why?" asked all the children.
"Jimmy is brave to give up marching," the teacher told them. "And he is honest about his old clothes, and good to his mother."
For a minute the children were quiet. Then they understood about Jimmy.
"Hurrah! Hurrah for jimmy!" they shouted.
So Jimmy marched with the flag at the head of the parade. He stood beside the oldest soldier in the park. No one noticed that he had no new stilt, for the flag was all one could sec except Jimmy's happy face.