Young Folks' Treasury: Classic Tales and Old-Fashioned Stories
The Oyster Patties
There was once a little boy who perhaps might have been a good little fellow if his friends had
taken pains to make him so; but—I do not know how it was—instead of teaching him to be good,
they gave him everything he cried for; so, whenever he wished to have anything, he had only to
cry, and if he did not get it directly, he cried louder and louder till at last he got it. By this means
Alfred was not only very naughty, but very unhappy. He was crying from morning till night. He
had no pleasure in anything; he was in everybody's way, and nobody liked to be with him.
Well, one day his mother thought she would give him a day of pleasure, and make him very
happy indeed, so she told him he should have a feast, and dine under the great cedar tree that
stood upon the lawn, and that his cousins should be invited to dine with him, and that he should
have whatever he chose for his dinner. So she rang the bell, and she told the servants to take out
tables and chairs and to lay the cloth upon the table under the tree, and she ordered her two
footmen to be ready to wait upon him.
She desired the butler to tell the cook to prepare the dinner, and to get all sorts of nice dishes for
the feast; but she said to Alfred:
"What shall you like best of all, my dear boy?"
So Alfred tried to think of something that he had never had before, and he recollected that one
day he had heard a lady, who was dining with his father and mother, say that the oyster patties
were the best she had ever eaten. Now Alfred had never tasted oyster patties, so he said he would
have oyster patties for dinner.
"Oyster patties, my dear boy? You cannot have oyster patties at this time of the year; there are no
oysters to be had," his mother said to him. "Try, love, to think of something else."
But naughty Alfred said:
"No, I can think of nothing else."
So the cook was sent for, and desired to think of something that he might like as well. The cook
proposed first a currant pie, then a barberry pie, or a codlin pie with custard.
"No, no, no!" said Alfred, shaking his head.
"Or a strawberry tart, my sweet boy? or apricot jam?" said his mother, in a soothing tone of
But Alfred said:
"No, mother, no. I don't like strawberries. I don't like apricot jam. I want oysters."