A Faithful Shepherd Boy


Gabriel was a German shepherd boy. A noble fellow he was, too, although he was very, very poor.

One day as he was watching his flock, which was feeding in a valley on the borders of a forest, a hunter came out of the woods and asked, “How far is it to the nearest village?”

“Six miles, sir”, replied the boy, “but the road is only a sheep track, and very easily missed”.

The hunter glanced at the crooked track and said, “My lad, I am hungry, tired and thirsty. I have lost my companions and missed my way. Leave your sheep and show me the road. I will pay you well”.

“I cannot leave my sheep, sir”, replied Gabriel. “They would stray into the forest and be eaten by wolves, or stolen by robbers”.

“Well, what of that?” queries the hunter, “They are not your sheep. The loss of one or more wouldn’t be much to your master, and I’ll give you more money than you have earned in a whole year”.

“I cannot go, sir”, said the boy, very firmly. “My master pays me for my time, and he trusts me with his sheep. If I were to sell my time, which does not belong to me, and the sheep should get lost, it would be the same as if I stole them”.

“Well”, said the hunter, “You will trust your sheep with me while you go to the village and get some food and drink, and a guide? I will take care of them for you”.

They boy shook his head, “The sheep”, said he, “do not know your voice, and -” Gabriel stopped speaking.

“And what? Can’t you trust me? Do I look like a dishonest man?” asked the hunter, angrily.

“Sir”, said the boy, “You tried to make me false to my trust, and wanted me to break my word to my master. How do I know you would keep your word to me?”

The hunter laughed, for he felt that the boy had fairly cornered him. He said, “I see my lad, that you are a good, faithful boy. I will not forget you. Show me the road and I will try to make it out myself”.

Gabriel now offered the humble contents of his scrip to the hungry man, who, coarse as it was, ate it gladly. Presently his attendants came up, and then Gabriel, to his surprise, found that the hunter was the grand duke, who owned all the country around. The duke was so pleased with the boy’s honesty that he sent for him shortly after and had him educated. In after years Gabriel became a very rich and powerful man, but he remained honest and true to his dying day.

Honesty, truth and fidelity are precious jewels in the character of a child. When they spring from piety they are pure diamonds, and make the possessor very beautiful, very happy, very honorable, and very useful. May you, my readers, wear them as Gabriel did.

Moral: Honesty is the best policy.

Also read: The Secret of Fulfillment of Desires

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