Read A FALL FROM THE CLIFFS of The Book of One Syllable , free online book, by Esther Bakewell, on

George Crisp was a good boy; he was kind to those he knew, and could not bear to have a thing that they had not.

He was glad when he could give things, and he gave a great deal to the poor that came to the house, so that his stock of cash was at a low ebb.

Though George might have set his mind on some toy, he felt glad to think that the pence which would have bought it had been of more use to some one else.

But though he was so good in this way, yet he had one fault which spoilt the whole. This fault was, that he would not do as he was bid; for he thought he knew as well as those who told him, and his Aunt, who taught him, did all she could to break him of the fault, but in vain.

George’s house was on the sea coast, and George went to dig in the sands, to get shells, and to fish, and to sail boats in the pools which were left at low tide; and when it was high tide he went with his Aunt on the cliffs.

Now his Aunt had told him he must not go near the edge of the cliffs, for they were steep and high. His Aunt took hold of his hand when she went with him to the cliffs; for once he went so near the edge that he must have gone down, and would have been much hurt, had not his Aunt just caught him in time to save him.

One day, when they were on the cliffs, George’s Aunt had left hold of his hand to get a wild rose from a bush. She had got it, and had gone back to take hold of George’s hand, but no George was to be seen!

She then ran home, as she thought he might have gone back, but when she came near the town she saw two men with a dead boy in their arms. She ran in haste to look at him, and what was her grief to find that he was George!

The men took him home, and his Aunt, though in such a state that she knew not what she did, went home too.

When Mrs. Crisp saw him she sent at once for Mr. Pill.

Mr. Pill said that he was not quite dead, that he might, with great care, be brought to life, but that he would be ill for a long time. George was brought to the fire and wrapt up in warm things; air was blown down his mouth, and he was put in a warm bed. At last he came to life, but he was so ill that he knew no one, and could not speak.

The men told George’s Aunt that they were in their boat, and had just gone out to fish, when they saw George fall down from the cliff. They got their boat to the place as soon as they could, and brought him home. George’s Aunt now knew that he had gone to the edge of the cliff, when she had told him not to do so.

While George lay in bed, he thought what a bad boy he had been, and of what his Aunt had told him. And he thought, too, that if he should get well he would try to do what his Aunt told him to do.

George was a month ill. As soon as he was well he told his Aunt he would be a good boy, and try to do as she bid him for he now knew that what she told him to do was right.

Since that time George has done what he has been told to do, in all things; for he has thought of the fall he had down the cliff.

He was such a good boy, that all were fond of him, and what is more, he has grown up a good man.

Then let this tale warn those boys and girls who read it. May they do as they are bid, and may they not, as George once did, think that they know more than those who are more old than they are.