Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader

Nancy's mother knew that streets are very dangerous places for children, because automobiles go whizzing along there at such high speed. And Nancy's mother loved her little girl so dearly, that every day, when she buttoned up her coat, as she was getting ready to go to school, she would say, "Now, Nancy, remember, never, never walk or play in the street. Always keep on the sidewalk."

And Nancy, who by this time was getting just a trifle weary of being told the same thing over and over again, replied, "But, Mommy, I never do walk or play in the street."

Nancy was a good little girl, and she never thought of disobeying her mother. But deep down inside, she often felt tempted to try walking in the street.

But every time she was tempted, she would hear in her conscience her mother's voice saying firmly, "Now, Nancy, remember never, never walk or play in the street."

One day there was a very hard thundershower. The rain poured down in sheets and floods.

On her way home from school that day, though the shower was over, Nancy saw great pools of water left standing on the sidewalks. Nancy didn't like to get her new shoes wet in the puddles, though she often waded in puddles barefoot.

Just then she looked up and saw Mr. Jones, who lived across the street from her house, and whom she liked very much. And Mr. Jones was walking in the middle of the street.

"Why don't you walk on the sidewalk, Mr. Jones, like I do?" asked Nancy.

"Well, my dear little girl, you see, there are so many puddles on the sidewalk, that I find it much easier to walk here in the street where it is dry."

"May I come out there and walk in the street with you, Mr. Jones?" asked Nancy.

"Why, yes, of course," said her kind friend and neighbor.

Nancy walked right behind Mr. Jones in the street, trying to keep in his big steps. "I just love this," she giggled. "Isn't it fun, Mr. Jones? I never did it before, because my mommy doesn't like me to walk in the street."

"How interesting!" answered Mr. Jones absent-mindedly. You see, Mr. Jones was walking along and thinking his own thoughts, and hardly hearing a word of what Nancy was saying.

"Yes," Nancy went on. "My mommy tells me about a dozen times a day, 'Never, never walk or play in the street,' but it is all right, isn't it, Mr. Jones?"

Then suddenly Mr. Jones heard what the little girl was saying. "Come, Nancy," he said very quickly. "Let's both get right back on the sidewalk. Your mother is so right. She has trained you to be careful. And not by a careless act of mine will I break down all her fine teaching."

"But she won't care," offered Nancy.

"Oh, yes, she will," replied Mr. Jones. "Your mother is just right, and you have taught me something, too, Nancy. I'll tell you what," said Mr. Jones. "Let's play 'Follow the Leader.' I'll walk on the sidewalk and you follow me." And so they did.

And though Nancy often saw Mr. Jones many, many times after that, she never did see him walking in the street again.

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