The Story Of A Hat
—The Common People
A thought for the Thoughtless Who Have But Little Politeness and Respect for the Common People.
THE LESSON—That every one who truly fills his high or lowly place In the world is deserving of respect and honor.
This story contains a splendid lesson for all of us. There is much in it to start the boys and girls to thinking of the worthiness of doing the humble things in life, and of the respect due those whose place may be more lowly than theirs. True worth is the measure of our value in the world, whether our work be great or little.
"This morning I am going to tell you 'The Story of a Hat,'—and this is the hat. [Draw only the hat, A, completing Fig. 100. This is the same drawing as that of the lower right-hand corner of Fig. 101, before the face is added.] I don't wonder that you smile. It's a seedy-looking old hat, isn't it? It looks as if it ought to be burned up or else dumped in the ash barrel; but, before we do that, let us hear the story.
"Once upon a time Mr. Brown, a college president, was passing a clothing store when he saw, displayed in the window, a hat like this. [Draw only the hat as in B.] Mr. Brown went into the store and tried on the hat. It fitted him, and when he came out he looked like this in his new four-dollar hat. [Add the head of Mr. Brown, completing B.] Everybody respected the college president and was polite to him. After a while Mr. Brown's wife told him that his hat was getting just a little bit shabby—perhaps just a little bit out of style, too. And so the college president gave the hat away to a poor but respectable preacher, Mr. Green, and this is the way Mr. Green looked in the hat. [Draw C complete.] Mr. Green was not a 'D.D.,' by any means, but he was a good man who was made to suit and fit a certain class of people who could not have understood the big words of a 'D. D.' Well, Mr. Green wore the hat for a while, and then he gave it to the janitor of his church, a man named Mr. Blue. The janitor wore it for a while, until it looked about like this: [Draw D, complete.] You will notice that it was somewhat indented by this time, but it was all right for Mr. Blue and he was glad to get it. There was a man in the town by the name of Mr. White, who had a job cleaning the streets. He was a friend of Mr. Blue, and the janitor gave him the hat. This is the way Mr. White looked in it: [Draw the face under the hat, A; this completes Fig. 101.] Mr. White had a little cart and a big shovel and an old broom, and he worked all day sweeping up and carting off the old paper, the stubs of cigars and everything else which, if allowed to accumulate, would soon make the streets look disgraceful and the town unhealthful.
"And so, we see, this poor old hat had done good service for four different kinds of men. Remember this—that every man who wore the hat was a useful man in his place. Each one was a necessary man. We must have him. Especially is this true of the man who kept the streets clean, for he, just like the man who collects and takes away the garbage, helps to keep away the scourge of typhoid fever, and cholera and other dread diseases, by being willing to do the dirty work and to wear the old hat. Why, just suppose everybody was a college president. Who would wash our clothes? Who would scrub our floors? Who would clean our streets? Who would cart away our garbage?
"Now, don't you see that the street cleaner and the 'garbage gentleman' are far more useful than any wealthy man's son who doesn't do a lick of work, who rides around in an automobile at his father's expense and who spends his time at night in wasteful or sinful ways so that he gets to bed at one or two o'clock in the morning and sleeps until nine or ten o'clock the next day? Why, bless your soul, the street cleaner and the 'garbage gentleman' are worth a dozen good-for-nothings like that!
"Then why look down upon the poor man—the laboring man? Why not be just as polite and respectful to him as to the college president? God made them both, and each is filling his place in life. Each man whose picture we have drawn belonged to a different class of people, just as God designed they should, and each, if he did his duty in life, had just as important a place in the community as the other.
"Abraham Lincoln said that 'God must think more of the common people than He did of any other kind, because He made so many more of them.'
"Surely, all this is reason enough for the best of us to be kind and considerate, respectful and polite toward people whose hats would not suit us at all!"
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