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

The Laugh-Boy

I

The whole family wanted a Laugh-Boy, but they did not have one. The only boy in the house was a Cry-Boy.

Perhaps you have never seen a Cry-Boy and would like to know how he looked. It is not pleasant to try to tell about him. His eyes dropped tears like rain. His voice growled like a bear. He was always running away from loud noises and bottles of medicine. He liked to hide in corners. But what made the Cry-Boy cry most and loudest was Giant Pain.

That was because the Cry-Boy had never stopped crying long enough really to look at Giant Pain. Whenever he met Giant Pain he always ran away, saying, "Boo-hoo! Boo-hoo!"

Not every one knows it, but old Giant Pain is fond of a joke once in a while. Many children run away from him. Many children hide from him. So Giant Pain likes to surprise them. Brave persons like soldiers, and doctors, and firemen joke with Giant Pain. But the Giant likes best to play with little children.

So Giant Pain decided to have some fun with the Cry-Boy.

The Cry-Boy had a new toy steam engine. It was made with a smoke stack, and a whistle, and a cow catcher. It was painted red, and black, and yellow. The Cry-Boy sat in the coal car and worked two pedals with his feet. These made the four wheels turn very fast. Then he pulled the cord that made the whistle blow.

Toot! Whizz! Whirr! The Cry-Boy was off down the street in his toy engine.

Toot! Whizz! Whirr! He was going very fast indeed and having a very fine time.


II

Any child who has had a ride in a toy steam engine knows what a pleasant way of playing it is. One child with a hoop raced with the Cry-Boy, but lost the race. Another child on roller skates followed the Cry-Boy, but could not catch him. It would have been the Cry-Boy's best ride but for one thing.

He saw Giant Pain sitting on a stone in the road, right in front of him.

If he had not been a Cry-Boy, he would have steered away from the stone. But his eyes began to cry. His hands began to shake. He could not see, to steer, or hold the brakes.

Bang! Slam! Bang! The Cry-Boy bumped right into Giant Pain, sitting there on the stone in the road.

But Giant Pain had made up his mind to play one of his jokes that morning. He really liked the Cry-Boy. He did not want him to have, such wet eyes, and a voice that growled like a bear's.

This was his joke. As soon as the Cry-Boy bumped into the stone, Giant Pain jumped off the stone. He hid behind it. And when the Cry-Boy picked himself up, what do you suppose he did?

Why, the Cry-Boy laughed!

Hide-and-seek is a game to make any child laugh. Giant Pain knew that. Although his knee was bumped, and his nose was scratched, and he had bitten his tongue, the Cry-Boy could not help laughing.

Then he looked for Giant Pain, for he liked the game. He found him hiding behind the stone, but what do you suppose had happened to him? Why, he was no longer Giant Pain, but Pigmy Pain—just a wee little fellow. That is another joke of Giant Pain's. He makes himself small when any one is brave enough to look at him.

So the Cry-Boy laughed, and laughed! It made his bumps and his scratches feel better, and so he laughed all the way home in his toy steam engine.

He laughed when his mother put stinging medicine on his scratches, for he saw Giant Pain, as little as an elf, hiding behind the bottle. He laughed whenever he met Giant Pain after that. His eyes grew bright, and his voice was no longer like a bear's.

And his family had a share in the fun. Their Cry-Boy was gone. At last they had what they wanted in the house, a Laugh-Boy.

Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God.

—II Samuel x. 12.


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