The Doctor and Charlie Daniels
One day Doctor Wright came to Billy, Betty, and Ben's school. Billy was in the Fourth Grade, Betty was in the Third Grade, and Ben was in the Second. The Doctor used to come once a month to tell the children how to keep well. This time he brought a magic lantern with him to show some pictures to the children of Ben's grade.
He first hung a big sheet or screen over the blackboard. Then he placed his lantern near the door at the other end of the room. Next he pulled down the window shades until the room was quite dark. All at once a cat appeared on the screen, and what do you think the cat was doing? He was washing his face. Did you ever hear of such a thing? A cat washing his face! Nor was the cat's mother there to make him do it. He did it because he wanted to be clean. Here is the picture that Doctor Wright showed to the children:
Then the Doctor showed them a picture of three rabbits cleaning their faces! Nor was their mother there to make them do it. Rabbits live in holes in the ground, and their faces get dirty; but they do not remain dirty, because the rabbits wash them just like this:
Then Doctor Wright showed the children a picture of a mouse. And what do you suppose the mouse was doing? Why, he, too, was cleaning his face. Nor was his mother there to make him do it.
Mice live in dusty and dirty places, but they keep themselves clean. Do you want to see how? Then look at the picture that the Doctor showed to the children:
Then the Doctor showed the children another picture, and now what do you think it was? You might guess a hundred times and you would not guess right. It was the picture of a kangaroo. A kangaroo is a queer-looking animal with a long body. It has four legs, two of them short and two of them long. It has a long tail, too, which it uses as a kind of fifth leg to help it leap. The kangaroo does not really walk. It leaps. It has a face like that of a small deer, and its ears are long like rabbits' ears.
Now, what do you suppose the kangaroo was doing? He was washing his face, too! Nor was his mother there to make him do it or to tell him how. He washed his face, because he liked to be clean. Look at this picture and you will see how he did it:
Then the Doctor showed the children another picture. It was a picture of two flies, the kind that buzz about your ears, get into your soup, or put their legs into your strawberry jam. They were just such flies as walk upside down on the ceiling, and then drop on your face and tickle your nose. Can you guess what these two flies were doing? They weren't in the soup or in the strawberry jam. One of them was standing on his middle and hind legs and was holding his fore legs in the air. He looked as if he were going to turn a somersault backwards. Why do you suppose he was standing like that? He was cleaning his fore legs by rubbing them together, although his mother wasn't there to tell him to do it. He didn't want them to be greasy with soup or sticky with jam; so he went to work and cleaned them like this:
The other fly was standing on his fore and middle legs. His hind legs were raised above his wings. He looked as if he were going to turn a somersault forward. Why was he standing like that? His wings were dirty and he wanted them to be clean. Maybe he had been in the syrup or on some dusty thing outdoors. Anyhow, his wings were covered with dirt. So, although his another wasn't there to make him do it, he went to work and rubbed them with his hind legs just like this:
The next picture that the Doctor showed to the children looked like a fly with a long thin body, but it wasn't a fly. Don't ever try to catch it and hold it in your hands! It was a wasp. He had a sting shaped just like an arrow. He could stick it into your finger, and oh, how it would hurt and how your finger would swell up ! He must have been in the dirt also, for he was cleaning one of the two feelers that grow near his mouth. Nor was his mother there to tell him to do it. The wasp was so busy that he didn't seem to have time to sting anybody. Just look at film! He is bound to be clean.
"I might show you pictures of other insects that like to keep clean, such as the spider and the ant. But I think that you have seen enough insects."
"Dear me!" whispered Betty to Kitty Warren, "I'm glad that he won't show us pictures of spiders. They are such creepy-crawly things, and they look as though they might bite."
"Now," said the Doctor, "I am going to show you a picture of something that likes to be clean all over." Some of you may have seen it under the spray of a fountain or a lawn sprinkler. It hops right under the drops of water. Look at Bobby Robin in the picture. He wasn't sent to the sprinkler by his mother. He came because he likes the bath.
"Boys and girls," said the Doctor, "I have shown you pictures of the cat, the rabbit, the mouse, the kangaroo, the fly, the wasp, and the bird, and all of. them like to keep clean. Now I am going to show you just one more picture. It will be a picture of a Jiving thing that does not like to keep clean. It is too much trouble for it to do so."
"Have you ever seen this dirty animal?" said Doctor Wright to the children. "You will find him in nearly every school. He is in danger. The dirt on his hands may get into his mouth and make him ill. For microbes, which are little animals, are often in the dirt, and if they get into the mouth, they may do the body harm. If you want to keep well, keep clean," said the Doctor. "Besides, to be dirty is not pleasant for us or for those near us."
Then he raised the window shades and asked: "Have you such a dirty animal in your school?" And all of the children looked at Charlie Daniels. Poor Charlie blushed and looked down. He felt so much ashamed of himself that he wished he might crawl through a hole in the floor. But there wasn't any hole there to crawl through, and the tears came into the poor boy's eyes.
Ben sat next to Charlie and felt sorry for him. "Cheer up, Charlie!" said Ben. "Don't give them a chance to see you again like this."
But Charlie's feelings were hurt. He buried his face in his hands and sobbed. Then he tried to wipe the tears from his eyes and cheeks, and the dirt was washed from his hands to his face. He was a sorry sight, indeed! It was hard for the boys and girls to keep from laughing at this black-and-white-faced boy.
As the Doctor moved his lantern out of the room, Charlie made up his mind that he would never come to school again with dirty hands or with a dirty face or with dirty clothes.
After that, without being told by his mother or by Ben, he kept his face and hands clean, and the microbes could not harm him. He brushed his teeth every day,
so that they shone like pearls. He kept his clothes so neat that dear old Aunt Sally Perkins used to say that it did her old eyes good to look at Charlie Daniels. And everybody in town agreed with Aunt Sally.