5.0645 Qs: Source of this Story? (1/79)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 4 Feb 1992 21:58:05 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0645. Tuesday, 4 Feb 1992.

Date: Mon, 27 Jan 92 11:47:28 ECT
From: Martin Raish <MRAISH@BINGVMB>
Subject: Story source

A friend asked me if I could locate the source of the
following story. I do not recognize it. Does anyone else?
[Just because I'm a reference librarian he thinks I know
everything. Let's not disappoint him! :-) ]

Please respond directly to me. I have paraphrased his
version of what he remembered, so there are likely many details
missing or misunderstood. With apologies, here it is as he and I
remember it.

Years ago there was a one-room school house in the mountains
of Virginia where the boys were so rough that no teacher had been
able to handle them. A young inexperienced teacher applied, and
the old director scanned him and asked: "Young fellow, do you
know that you are asking for an awful beating? Every teacher
that we have had here for years has had to take one."
"I will risk it," he reply.
On the first day of school Tom, one of the bigger boys,
whispered: "I won't need any help with this one. I can lick him
"Good morning boys, we have come to conduct school." They
yelled and made fun. "Now I want a good school, but I confess
that I do not know how unless you help me. Suppose we have a few
rules. You tell me and I will write them on the blackboard."
After some time ten rules appeared, including one to the
effect that a law is not good unless there is a penalty attached.
"What shall we do with one who breaks the rules?"
"Beat him across the back ten times without his coat on."
In a day or so, "Big Tom" found that his lunch had been
stolen. The thief was located -- a hungry little fellow, about
ten years old. When it was time for the punishment to be
inflicted the little boy, trembling, came up slowly with a big
coat fastened up to his neck and pleaded, "Teacher, you can lick
me as hard as you like, but please, don't take my coat off!"
"Take the coat off, you helped make the rules!"
"Oh, teacher, don't make me!" He began to unbutton, and
what did the teacher behold? The little boy had no shirt on and
a bony little crippled body was revealed. "How can I whip this
child?" he thought, "but I must. I must do something if I am to
keep this school."
Everything was quiet as death. "How come you aren't wearing
a shirt, Jim?"
"My father died and my mother is very poor. I have only one
shirt to my name and she is washing it today, and I wore my
brother's big coat to keep me warm."
The teacher, with rod in hand, hesitated. Just then "Big
Tom" jumped to his feet and said, "Teacher, if you don't object,
I will take Jim's licking for him."
"Very well, there is a law that says one can become a
substitute for another. Are you all agreed?" Off came Tom's
coat, and after 5 hard strokes the rod broke! The teacher bowed
his head in his hands and thought "How can I finish this awful
Then he heard the class sobbing, and what did he see?
Little Jim had reached up and caught Tom with both arms around
his neck. "Tom, I am sorry that I stole your lunch, but I was
awful hungry. Tom, I will love you till I die for taking my
licking for me! Yes, I will love you forever!"

That's as much as he remembers.

Thanks for any leads you can offer.

Martin Raish
Main Library, Box 6012
State University of New York at Binghamton
Binghamton NY 13902-6012
(607) 777-4385
BITNET: mraish@bingvmb.bitnet
INTERNET: mraish@bingvmb.cc.binghamton.edu

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
+ Thought for the week (or until I remember to change it): +
+ +
+ "Wenn ein Buch und ein Kopf zusammenstossen, und es klingt hohl, +
+ kommt es vom Buch?" +
+ -- Georg C. Lichtenberg +
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +