It was Saturday morning. Billy and Betty had gone down to Kitty Warren's to spend the day. Ben was waiting for Jamie Brown to play with him. But Jamie was ill. So his mother sent word to Ben that he couldn't come.
Of Course Ben felt sorry. He and Jamie were good friends and often played together. What could he do all the morning without some one to play with him?
He had studied his Monday lessons. He had fed the chickens and watered the plants. You know Ben lived in a large village. His mother let him raise chickens, and she gave him a flower bed in the garden.
He had done his work well and was now ready for play. But Jamie couldn't come.
So Ben made up his mind that he would go to his desk and draw a picture.
But what should he draw? He thought for a while and then decided to draw a picture of the school flag.
He thought that Miss Kate—his teacher—would be pleased with it. So he was very careful and drew it just as well as he could.
The flag was blue and white, with gold letters and gold stars on it.
The stars were in the corner of the flag, just as they are on our country's flag.
The golden letters formed golden words on the bars of blue. The golden words stood for golden habits and golden deeds.
When you look at the flag that Ben drew, you will learn what the golden words were.
Every morning in Miss Kate's school the children marched around the schoolroom. Ben carried the flag at the head of the line. As they marched they sang. In the song were the golden words of the flag. And what do you suppose they were?
Well, just look at the flag that Ben made. He had to cut the letters and stars out of golden paper. Then he pasted them on the flag.
When Ben had drawn the flag, he took it to his mother. She was proud of her boy. It was really a fine piece of work. Then she asked him to explain it to her.
"Well," said Ben, "all these golden words are the names of golden virtues. Miss Kate says golden virtues are good habits that show themselves in good deeds. She says that these golden virtues are the virtues that she wants our school to be known by."
"What do you mean, Ben?" asked his mother.
"Well," said Ben, "I mean that she watts us to be just rather than unjust. That means that we should be fair. It means that we should treat everybody as we would like to have them treat us."
"And what do the other virtues mean?" asked his mother.
"Why," said Ben, "obedience means that we should do what our teacher tells us to do, and that we should not break the rules of the school."
"Good! Ben," said his mother. "Now tell me about truth and honesty."
"Well," said Ben, "Miss Kate wants us to tell the truth, and not to tell lies. And we must not cheat or take anything that does not belong to us."
"But what does the virtue of industry mean?" asked Ben's mother.
"That means that we must work and not be lazy," said Ben.
"You are a very good teacher, Ben. Now tell me what the other virtues on the flag mean."
"You know what it means to help others, don't you, Mother?"
"Yes," said his mother.
"Well," said Ben, "that's what kindness means."
"But what does that last virtue mean? Pronounce it, Ben."
"It's courtesy. That means that we should be polite and not be rude. Miss Kate teaches us good manners. When we come to school, we always say, 'Good morning, Miss Kate.' And the pupils say 'Good morning' to each other.
"We always say, 'Yes, Miss Kate,' and 'No, Miss Kate.' That is, all of its do except Billy Adams. Billy forgets. He hasn't very good manners anyhow. He passes in front of Miss Kate, and in front of the pupils of the school, and forgets to say, 'Excuse me.' He is often late to school. At recess he is rough and rude in his play. He snatches things out of your hands, and steals your cap and flings it into the dirt."
"What does Miss Kate say about that?"
"She told him the other day that he was a boor and a coward. He had just tripped Charlie Phelps and thrown his hat over the fence. Charlie is younger and smaller than Billy."
"What are you going to do with your flag, Ben?" said his mother.
"I think I shall give it to my teacher," said Ben.
So on Monday Ben took the flag to school and gave it to Miss Kate. She was so much pleased with it that she carried it with her when the pupils marched around singing their flag song. When they werc through marching, she hung Ben's flag on the wall, where its golden stars and golden words shone brightly in the morning sunlight.
Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them.
—Matthew vii. 12.