THE SILVER AXE. 371
" Where have you been running." said his father, " forgetting all about helping me ? I said you would not work for an hour without getting tired."
" Never mind, father," said the boy. " Do not be uneasy. I will soon make up for it"
" Make it up, indeed." said the father, angrily, " that is not the way to get on in the world."
"Have patience," said the youth. "See, father, I will give this tree one stroke that shall crack it"
As he spoke, he took up the plaster, spread it over the axe j then lifting it, struck a heavy blow on the tree; but as the axe had been changed into silver, the blow turned the edge at once.
"Oh, look here, father!" said the boy, "what a bad axe they have given you for me. See how it is turned on one side !"
" Ah, what have you done ?" cried the father, in a great fright. " Now I shall have to pay for the axe, and I know not how I am to do so; and this is ail the use your work has been to me."
" Don't be angry, father," answered the boy. " I can easily pay for the axe."
" You idiot!" cried his father. " How are you to pay for it, I wonder ? You have nothing but what I give you. There are plenty of schoolboy tricks in your head, I can see. But you know nothing about woodcutting."
Presently the youth said to him, " Father, I cannot work any more. Let us go home, and keep holiday this evening together."
"Eh, what?" he cried. "Do you think I can go home to sit with my hands in my lap as you do ? No, indeed, I must still work; but you may pack off home, if you like."
"Father," he replied, "I have only been into the wood once; and I don't know my way home alone. Do go with me."
As his anger became a little appeased, the father allowed himself to be talked over, and went home with the boy.
When they reached the house, he said, " Now go and sell the defaced axe, and see what you can get for it; but remember that our neighbour must be paid, whatever you bring home."
The boy took up the axe, and went into the town to a goldsmith, who proved it, and laying it on the scales, said, " This is worth four hundred dollars, but I have not so much cash in the house."