Young Folks' Treasury: Classic Tales and Old-Fashioned Stories HTML version
THE THREE CAKES
By ARMAND BERQUIN
"There was a little boy named Henry," said Mr Glassington "about your age. His parents had but
lately fixed him at a boarding-school.
"He was a special boy, forever at his book, and happened once to get the highest place at
exercises. His mother was told it. She could nohow keep from dreaming of the pleasure; and
when morning came, she got up early, went to speak with the cook and said as follows:
"'Cook, you are to make a cake for Henry, who yesterday was very good at school.'
"'With all my heart,' replied the cook, and set immediately about it. It was as big as—let me
see—as big as—as a hat when flapped. The cook had stuffed it with nice almonds, large
pistachio nuts, and candied lemon-peel, and iced it over with a coat of sugar, so that it was very
smooth and a perfect white. The cake no sooner was come home from baking than the cook put
on her things, and carried it to school.
"When Henry first saw it, he jumped up and down like any Merry Andrew. He was not so patient
as to wait till they could let him have a knife, but fell upon it tooth and nail. He ate and ate till
school began, and after school was over he ate again; at night, too, it was the same thing till
bedtime—nay, a little fellow that Henry had for a playmate told me that he put the cake upon his
bolster when he went to bed, and waked and waked a dozen times, that he might take a bit. I
cannot so easily believe this last particular; but, then, it is very true, at least, that on the morrow,
when the day was hardly broke, he set about his favorite business once again, continuing at it all
the morning, and by noon had eaten it up. The dinner-bell now rung; but Henry, as one may
fancy, had no stomach, and was vexed to see how heartily the other children ate. It [pg
however, worse than this at five o'clock, when school was over.
"His companions asked him if he would not play at cricket, tan, or kits. Alas! he could not; so
they played without him. In the meantime Henry could hardly stand upon his legs; he went and
sat down in a corner very gloomily, while the children said one to another: 'What is the matter
with poor Henry, who used to skip about and be so merry? See how pale and sorrowful he is!'
"The master came himself, and, seeing him, was quite alarmed. It was all lost labor to interrogate
him. Henry could not be brought to speak a single word.
"By great good luck, a boy at length came forward in the secret; and his information was that
Henry's mother had sent him a great cake the day before, which he had swallowed in an instant,
as it were, and that his present sickness was occasioned only by his gluttony. On this, the master
sent for an apothecary, who ordered him a quantity of physic, phial after phial. Henry, as one
would fancy, found it very nauseous, but was forced to take the whole for fear of dying, which,
had he omitted it, would certainly have been the case. When some few days of physic and strict
regimen had passed, his health was re-established as before; but his mother protested that she
would never let him have another cake."