Read THE CHIMNEY-SWEEP of The Pearl Story Book A Collection of Tales‚ Original and Selected, free online book, by Mrs. Colman, on

Charley was a little boy, but he knew very well how to pity the poor, because he had a kind heart; and he knew very well that the poor laborers he saw in the streets were not bad because they were meanly dressed and worked hard: he knew they were men, and had hearts like his father and mother, and when they were dressed their appearance was very respectable, and at church no people were more devout or better mannered.

One morning it was winter the sun shone down from the sky, and melted the snow and ice in the street and on the tops of the houses, so that it came tumbling down upon the sidewalks, and the streets were overflowing with the great flood. Charley was looking out of the window to see it fall, and the people dodge and scamper along to save themselves from the great slides that would have been very dangerous if they had hit any one on the head. He was thinking too of the poor little ragged boys, as they went by, some with matches, some with newspapers, and some with their hats in their hands begging, and he wished in his heart that he could do something to help them all; but he was but a little boy, and scarcely knew how to take care of himself. As he continued to watch the passers-by, there came along a poor chimney-sweep, with his soot-bag and brush; his feet were very red, and looked as if they were bitten with the frost, for his shoes only half-covered his poor swollen feet, and he had no stockings on. His blanket that hung over his shoulders was black as the chimney, and his face looked like soot.

Charley was watching him as he went along crying, “Sweep, ho! sweep!” when down came one of these great slides right upon his head. He fell flat in a moment, and there he lay as one dead, covered all over with the cold snow and ice. Charley rushed into the street in a moment, and screamed for help, but before he could reach the sweep a good man had raised him up, and was kindly brushing his clothes. He was not much hurt, but severely stunned. Charley took him by the hand and led him into the house, and gave him some dry clothes, and put some stockings and shoes upon his feet, and set before him a warm breakfast besides.

The poor chimney-sweep wept for so much kindness had touched his heart, and he sobbed out his thanks as well as he could, and took his leave after receiving some small pieces of silver, which. Charley’s mother gave him to help him in his toil; for it was a toilsome life he had to lead that poor sweep; so young, too. It made Charley very sorry to see his tears, and he sat a long time with his head bent upon his breast, and never spoke one word. At last his mother said

“What troubles you, dear? Are you thinking of the unfortunate chimney-sweep? Then learn a lesson of gratitude for your own happy lot, and be humble; for remember that this poor sweep is as good as you, and perhaps far better in the sight of God, who looks at the heart and not at the outward appearance. See how much he must suffer in his poverty; he may have feelings attuned in beautiful accord with all things noble and charming in nature. He is really very intelligent-looking. He makes me think of the little boy that ran through the streets of a large city all of one cold winter, and then became a great artist, but he was so poor and inexperienced in the ways of the world, that he had to suffer a long time before his genius was discovered. Some time I will tell you about him, that you may know that true genius and worth may be found among the lowest children of earth, and, like the diamond, they will shine when they are polished.”