1．James Selton was one of the most insolent boys in the village where he lived. He would rarely pass people in the street without being guilty of some sort of abuse.
2．If a person were well dressed he would cry out, "Dandy!" If a person's clothes were dirty or torn, he would throw stones at him, and annoy him in every way.
3．One afternoon, just as the school was dismissed, a stranger passed through the village. His dress was plain and somewhat old, but neat and clean. He carried a cane in his hand, on the end of which was a bundle, and he wore a broad-brimmed hat.
4．No sooner did James see the stranger, than he winked to his playmates, and said, "Now for some fun!" He then silently went toward the stranger from behind, and, knocking off his hat, ran away.
5．The man turned and saw him, but James was out of hearing before he could speak. The stranger put on his hat, and went on his way. Again did James approach; but this time, the man caught him by the arm, and held him fast.
6．However, he contented himself with looking James a moment in the face, and then pushed him from him. No sooner did the naughty boy find himself free again, than he began to pelt the stranger with dirt and stones.
7．But he was much frightened when the "rowdy," as he foolishly called the man, was struck on the head by a brick, and badly hurt. All the boys now ran away, and James skulked across the fields to his home.
8．As he drew near the house, his sister Caroline came out to meet him, holding up a beautiful gold chain and some new books for him to see.
9．She told James, as fast as she could talk, that their uncle, who had been away several years, had come home, and was now in the house; that he had brought beautiful presents for the whole family; that he had left his carriage at the tavern, a mile or two off, and walked on foot, so as to surprise his brother, their father.
10．She said, that while he was coming through the village, some wicked boys threw stones at him, and hit him just over the eye, and that mother had bound up the wound. "But what makes you look so pale?" asked Caroline, changing her tone.
11．The guilty boy told her that nothing was the matter with him; and running into the house, he went upstairs into his chamber. Soon after, he heard his father calling him to come down. Trembling from head to foot, he obeyed. When he reached the parlor door, he stood, fearing to enter.
12．His mother said, "James, why do you not come in? You are not usually so bashful. See this beautiful watch, which your uncle has brought for you."
13．What a sense of shame did James now feel! Little Caroline seized his arm, and pulled him into the room. But he hung down his head, and covered his face with his hands.
14．His uncle went up to him, and kindly taking away his hands, said, "James, will you not bid me welcome?" But quickly starting back, he cried, "Brother, this is not your son. It is the boy who so shamefully insulted me in the street!"
15．With surprise and grief did the good father and mother learn this. His uncle was ready to forgive him, and forget the injury. But his father would never permit James to have the gold watch, nor the beautiful books, which his uncle had brought for him.
16．The rest of the children were loaded with presents. James was obliged to content himself with seeing them happy. He never forgot this lesson so long as he lived. It cured him entirely of his low and insolent manners.