Street Corner Society


Skip to site-wide links.


Children's Story Garden  >  What Bradley Owed

Girl standing in wild undergrowth, casting milkwood seeds to the breeze.

The Children's Story Garden

What Bradley Owed


WHAT BRADLEY OWED *

THERE was once a boy whose name was Bradley. They called him Tiddley Winks when he was young, because he was such a tiny little thing. When he was about eight years old he had already got into the bad habit of thinking of everything as worth so much money. He wanted to know the price of everything he saw, and if it had not cost a great deal, it did not seem to him to be of any value at all.

Now this was rather foolish of him, for there are a great many things that money cannot buy, which do not have any price at all. Money cannot buy the very best things in the world, as you will soon see.

One morning when Bradley came down to breakfast, he put on his mother's plate a little piece of paper, neatly folded. His mother opened it, and what do you think was on it? She could hardly believe it, but this is what Bradley had written:

Mother owes Bradley:  
 For running errands 25 cents
 For being good 10 cents
 For taking music lessons 15 cents
 Extras 5 cents
  __________
Total that Mother owes Bradley 55 cents

His mother smiled when she read that, but she did not say anything. When lunch came she put the bill on Bradley's plate with the 55 cents. Bradley's eyes fairly danced when he saw the money, and he thought his business ability had been quickly rewarded. All at once he saw that there was another piece of paper beside his plate, neatly folded, just like the first one. And, when he opened it, what do you think he saw? Why, it was a bill from his mother. This is the way it read:

Bradley owes Mother:  
 For being good to him nothing
 For nursing him through his long illness with scarlet fever nothing
 For clothes and shoes and gloves and playthings nothing
 For his meals and beautiful room nothing
  __________
Total that Bradley owes Mother nothing

Now what do you think that boy did when he read these words? Do you think he put the 55 cents in his pocket and went off whistling? I am sure you know better than that. No — the tears came into Bradley's eyes, and he put his arms around his mother's neck, and he placed his hand with the 55 cents in her hand, and said, "Take the money all back, mother, and just let me love you and do things for you for nothing."

Next story ...>


In The Children's Story Garden. Stories collected by a committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting — Anna Pettit Broomell, Emily Cooper Johnson, Elizabeth W. Collins, Alice Hall Paxson, Annie Hillborn, and Anna D. White. Illustrated by Katharine Richardson Wireman and Eugénie M. Wireman. Published in 1920 by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

Notes and links

* What Bradley Owed
From Children's Story Sermons, by Dr. H. T. Kerr. Used by permission of the publishers, Fleming H. Revell Company. [top]