“The Miser and His Dinner” (from Woodworth’s Youth’s Cabinet, September 1854, p. 113)
Old Wood, a miser who once lived in Gloucester, England, kept a boy, a little one, miserably fed, and in great bondage. One Sunday the master was getting ready to go to church, but got his dinner in some readiness first, that nothing might have to be done when he came home, but to eat it. It was a roast chicken, which the boy stayed at home to dress. The old fellow also got out the quantity of wine he meant to allow himself, and put it upon the chimney-piece; but to prevent it being tasted, he wrote upon it, in large letters, “Poison.” So off he went. The lad was cravingly hungry; and as the fowl roasted, he could not help drawing his finger across and tasting it. But this sharpened his appetite, and he could not resist pulling off a leg. The theft begun, he soon went on to the other leg; and so farther and farther, till he had quite devoured the whole. What was to be done? for then came remorse; and worse than that, soon was coming his master! He felt quite desperate; and just at that moment his eye caught sight of the phial with the label upon it. Off he drank, at once draught, the whole contents; and old Wood came home to find him well fed and in high spirits, the first time he ever had animal spirits to be so since he had been in his service!