The Handy Box by
"Grandmother, do you know where I can find a little bit of wire?" asked
Marjorie, running from the shed, where an amateur circus was in
Grandmother went to a little closet in the room and disappeared a moment,
coming out presently with the wire.
"O, yes! and Fred wanted me to ask if you had a large safety-pin." Marjorie
looked a little wistful, as if she did not quite like to bother
There was another trip made to the closet, and the safety-pin was in
"You are a pretty nice grandma," she said, over her shoulder, as she ran
Not very long after, Marjorie came into the kitchen again. This time she
stood beside the sink, where grandmother was washing dishes, and twisted
her little toes in her sandals, but seemed afraid to speak.
"Fred wants to know"—began grandmother, laughing.
"Yes'm," said Marjorie, blushing.
"If I can't find him a piece of strong string?" finished grandmother.
"O, no—it's a little brass tack!" declared Marjorie, soberly.
She was a patient, loving grandmother, and she went to the little closet
again. Marjorie could hardly believe her eyes when she saw the tacks, for
there were three!
"He—said—" she began slowly, and stopped.
"You ought to tell him to come and say it himself," and grandmother
laughed; "but we will forgive him this time. Was it 'Thank you,' he said?"
"He feels 'Thank you' awfully, I'm sure," said Marjorie, politely, "but
what he said was that if wasn't too much bother—well, he could use a kind
of hook thing."
Her grandmother produced a long iron hook, and Marjorie looked at her
wonderingly. "Are you a fairy?" she asked, timidly. "You must have a wand
and just make things."
Grandmother laughed. "Come here," she said. And she opened the little dark
closet, and from the shelf took a long wooden box. This she brought to the
table, and when she opened it, Marjorie gave a little cry of delight. It
seemed to her that there was a little of everything in it. There were bits
of string, pins, colored paper, bobbins, balls, pieces of felt, and every
sort of useful thing generally thrown away.
"When I knew my grandchildren were coming here to spend the summer," she
said, "I began on this box, and whenever I find anything astray that would
naturally be thrown out I just put it in."
"Do you want me to help save, too?" asked Marjorie, who thought the story
should have a moral.
"You must start a handy box of your own when you go back, and keep it in
the nursery. You don't know how many times a day you will be able to help
the others out. A little darning yarn, an odd thimble, a bit of soft linen,
and all the things that clutter and would be thrown away, go to fill up a
handy box. You can be the good fairy of the nursery."
"It is just wonderful!" said Marjorie. "If I had a little—just a little
wooden box, I would begin today, and when I go home I can have a larger
Grandmother smiled, and brought out a smaller wooden box, just the right
size. From that moment Marjorie was a collector, and her usefulness
began.—Mira Jenks Stafford, in Youth's Companion.