Young Folks' Treasury: Classic Tales and Old-Fashioned Stories
By JACOB ABBOTT
One day Beechnut, who had been ill, was taken by Phonny and Madeline for a drive. When
Phonny and Madeline found themselves riding quietly along in the wagon in Beechnut's
company, the first thought which occurred to them, after the interest and excitement awakened
by the setting out had passed in some measure away, was that they would ask him to tell them a
story. This was a request which they almost always made in similar circumstances. In all their
rides and rambles Beechnut's stories were an unfailing resource, furnishing them with an
inexhaustible fund of amusement sometimes, and sometimes of instruction.
"Well," said Beechnut, in answer to their request, "I will tell you now about my voyage across
the Atlantic Ocean."
"Yes," exclaimed Madeline, "I should like to hear about that very much indeed."
"Shall I tell the story to you just as it was," asked Beechnut, "as a sober matter of fact, or shall I
embellish it a little?"
"I don't know what you mean by embellishing it," said Madeline.
"Why, not telling exactly what is true," said Beechnut, "but inventing something to add to it, to
make it interesting."
"I want to have it true," said Madeline, "and interesting, too."
"But sometimes," replied Beechnut, "interesting things don't happen, and in such cases, if we
should only relate what actually does happen, the story would be likely to be dull."
"I think you had better embellish the story a little," said Phonny—"just a little, you know."
"I don't think I can do that very well," replied Beechnut. "If I attempt to relate the actual acts, I
depend simply on my memory, and I can confine myself to what my memory teaches; [pg 360] but if I
undertake to follow my invention, I must go wherever it leads me."
"Well," said Phonny, "I think you had better embellish the story, at any rate, for I want it to be
"So do I," said Madeline.
"Then," said Beechnut, "I will give you an embellished account of my voyage across the
Atlantic. But, in the first place, I must tell you how it happened that my father decided to leave
Paris and come to America. It was mainly on my account. My father was well enough contented
with his situation so far as he himself was concerned, and he was able to save a large part of his
salary, so as to lay up a considerable sum of money every year; but he was anxious about me.