Miss Kate's Mottoes
One day Ben came home from school and said to his mother: "Mother, the teacher hung some mottoes on the wall to-day. They were printed on white cardboard, in blue letters, and they had a border of red stars around them."
"Can you draw them on paper, Ben?" asked his mother.
"I think I can," said Ben.
Ben had been taught to draw from the time he was five years old. Now he was seven and could draw very well.
So Ben went to his desk and got some white paper, and his red and blue pencils. Then he sat down and drew this motto:
It took him more than ten minutes to draw this motto. But it looked well. He told his mother that the teacher said that if we eat too fast, or too much, we cannot get really strong. Then he drew another motto:
That is a longer motto. It took Ben fifteen minutes to finish it. "If you don't obey that motto," he said, "it makes it hard for Mr. Stomach to do his work." "Well, what were the other mottoes?" asked his mother.
"I'll draw them all for you," said Ben. And he drew this one next:
Ben drew this motto in twelve minutes. While he was drawing it he took three deep breaths. He said that the teacher told them that every room should have fresh air, because bad air makes people sick.
Then Ben began to draw the last two mottoes. He printed the letters first. Then he put the borders of stars around them. And these are the mottoes that Ben drew:
It took Ben nearly twenty-five minutes to draw these two mottoes. He said that the teacher told the children to obey these mottoes if they wanted to keep well.
Then Ben held the mottoes up so that his mother could see them. She was proud of her boy. He not only knew low to draw them, but he also knew what they meant.
"Well, Ben, are you going to do what the mottoes tell you to do?" said his mother.
"Just watch me when I eat my supper!" said Ben.
That evening Billy, Betty, and Ben sat down to supper. They chewed their food until it was almost as soft as cream. Once Ben forgot and nearly washed some half-chewed food down his throat with a drink of water. But Betty helped him remember by holding Ben's motto right before his eyes.
When it was time to go to bed, Ben put the motto about sleep on the mantel in his room.
Then he raised the windows so that he might breathe fresh air all night. I suppose that he slept eleven hours, because when he got up in the morning, his eyes were bright as stars, his cheeks were red as roses, and his laugh was as merry as the sound of laughing waters.