Once upon a time there was a beautiful place with the woods on one side of it, and on the other side an orchard. A singing brook flowed in front. Wide lawns of green grass were about it.
"This is a beautiful place to build a home," said the Mason. So he had the cellar dug, wide and deep. He brought many red bricks in his wooden wheelbarrow, and he mixed white mortar. Then he made the walls of the cellar, putting the mortar between the bricks with his pointed trowel. Finally the Mason looked at his work, which was very well done; but the home was not finished.
So the Mason called to the Carpenter, and said to him, "This is a beautiful place to build a home. I have brought bricks, and mixed mortar, and laid the cellar; but the house is not finished. Will you help to build the home?"
"Yes, indeed," said the Carpenter.
So the Carpenter set up the great beams of the house and made the whole framework. He laid the floors, and set in the doors and windows, and shingled the roof. Then the Carpenter looked at his work, which was very well done; but the home was not finished.
So the Carpenter called to the Gardener, and said: "This is a beautiful place to build a home. I have placed the beams and the floor, and set up the framework; but the home is not finished. Will you help?"
"Yes, indeed," said the Gardener.
So the Gardener dug paths, and planted flowers everywhere, and set rose vines beside the back door. Then the Gardener looked at his work. It could not have been better; but still the home was not finished.
So the Gardener called to the Father and he said: "This is a beautiful place for a home. I have made paths to lead to all the doors, and I have planted flowers to look at, and vegetables for food; but the home is not finished. Will you help? "
"Yes, indeed," said the Father.
So the Father worked early and late and earned money for furniture for every one of the rooms in the house. He bought pictures for the walls, and china dishes, and tin dishes. He bought books for the bookcases, and a kitchen stove, and warm rugs for all the floors. Then he looked at the rooms of the house. They were very beautiful; but still the home was not finished.
So the Father called to the Mother, and he said: "This is a beautiful house. I have made each one of the rooms complete and comfortable, but the home is not finished. Will you help? "
"Yes, indeed," said the Mother.
So the Mother baked crisp, brown loaves of bread, and dainty pies and cakes. She stitched white cloths for the tables and white curtains for the windows. She picked flowers and filled all the vases. She set the dishes in their order on the table, and spread the meal. Then the Mother looked at her work. It was very well done; but still the home was not finished.
So the Mother thought, and thought, and thought about the house that the Mason, and the Carpenter, and the Gardener, and the Father and she had all helped to build. She wished very much to make it the most beautiful home that had ever been built. As she wished, she opened the door wide.
Then in through the open door of the house ran the little Child, who had been playing outside in the garden.
"This is a beautiful house," the Mother said. "I have baked, and sewed, and spread the table for it; but it is not finished. Will you help?"
"Oh, yes," said the Child; and, although he was a very little child, he did all that he could. He helped to carry the vegetables into the cellar for the winter and bring in wood for the fireplaces. He tended the flowers in the garden, and he kept the little winding paths neat and clean. He was careful not to leave his toys about in the tidy rooms of the house, and he helped his Mother and Father in every other way that he could.
And so the home was finished because every one had helped.
Honor thy father and thy mother.
—Deuteronomy v. 16.
So we built the wall; for the people had a mind to work.
—Nehemiah iv. 6.