Alice Cary

A Lesson of Mercy

A boy named Peter

Found once in the road

All harmless and helpless,

A poor little toad;

And ran to his playmate,

And all out of breath

Cried, "John, come and help,

And we'll stone him to death!"

And picking up stones,

The two went on a run,

Saying, one to the other,

"Oh, won't we have fun?"

Thus primed and all ready,

They'd got nearly back,

When a donkey came

Dragging a cart on the track.

Now the cart was as much

As the donkey could draw,

And he came with his head

Hanging down; so he saw,

All harmless and helpless,

The poor little toad,

A-taking his morning nap

Right in the road.

He shivered at first,

Then he drew back his leg,

And set up his ears,

Never moving a peg.

Then he gave the poor toad,

With his warm nose a dump,

And he woke and got off

With a hop and a jump,

And then with an eye

Turned on Peter and John,

And hanging his homely head

Down, he went on.

"We can't kill him now, John,"

Says Peter, "that's flat,

In the face of an eye and

An action like that!"

"For my part, I haven't

The heart to," says John;

"But the load is too heavy

The donkey has on:

"Let's help him;" so both lads

Set off with a will

And came up with the cart

At the foot of the hill.

And when each a shoulder

Had put to the wheel,

They helped the poor donkey

A wonderful deal.

When they got to the top

Back again they both run,

Agreeing they never

Had had better fun.