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Raymond Fink
     December 25, 1903
          From Sunday School

WIDE AWAKE STORIES
ILLUSTRATED
 
THE MONEY-BOX

     It was Christmas Eve, and the children were gathered round the nursery fire, before going to bed, talking over what presents they should have on the morrow, and about what they were likely to find in their stockings that night.
     There were three children - Margaret, the eldest, just eight years old; Frank, the next, nearly six; and little May, only four.
     “I love hanging my stocking up,” lisped little dark-eyed May, “and I love Santa Claus for coming round to the little children each Christmas to give them the toys they want. I love going to sleep watching my empty stockings, and-oh! it is nice to wake up in the morning and see them all fat and lumpy!”
     Frankie looked up and laughed at the pleasant idea. “I like hanging up my stockings, too,” said the little boy, “and seeing them all filled up as soon as I wake, and it is great fun lying awake and watching for good old Santa Claus; but it is funny that one never can see him. However, I am looking forward to my regular Christmas presents, too, and Aunt Edith has promised to give me a money-box-a real good one. I don't know what father and mother are going to give me, but their presents are sure to be nice ones.”
     The morning broke - a bright, clear Christmas morning - with snow upon the ground and icicles hanging from the trees. The children, all awake before it was light, were fully satisfied with the contents of their stockings, and Frankie was so delighted that he quite forgot to be disappointed at again missing the sight of Santa Claus filling them. Aunt Edith went out of the room for a minute, and presently returned laden with three good-sized parcels. These were her Christmas presents for the children. For Margaret she had brought a large and very handsome photograph album, for May a beautiful large doll. “I keep yours for the last, Frankie,” said Aunt Edith, “for you know gentlemen come after ladies.”
     “I know what it is!” cried Frank – “it's a money-box, Aunt Edith, for you promised me one. But what a big one it must be!”
     Then the money-box was unwrapped, and the children thought that they had never seen such a funny looking one before. It was the figure of a negro down to the waist, with one hand raised to his mouth, his head a little thrown back, a broad grin on his face, showing a double row of shining white teeth, and large, rolling eyes. His coat was painted red.
     “Do put some money in,” cried the children all together; “we do want to see how it works!”
     “Well,” said Aunt Edith, “I will show you that without putting the money in, because, remember, once in, there the money must remain for a time, for I shall not tell you how you can get it out, and you will have to take the box to papa or mamma if you want it opened."
     “But do show us how it opens!” cried Margaret.
     “You mean to put the money in?” asked her aunt. “Well, this is the way,” and she pulled down a little peg at the back of the negro's shoulder, when wonderful things took place. The negro rolled his eyes in the most extraordinary fashion, showing only the whites of them - tossed his head back, opened his mouth wide, and raised up his hand to his mouth.
     “Oh, do it again!” cried the children, "but do let's put some money in!” And then Margaret remembered that she had three cents left in her purse, so she hurried to get it; and, one by one, these were placed in the negro's hand, and by him carried to his mouth and then swallowed. The children were all delighted, and as soon as the nursery breakfast was over, Sambo (as they called the n***** money-box) was carried down, to be shown to father and mother and the rest of the household, and it was admired and laughed at by all.
     In time, the screw was taken out of the bottom of the money-box, for Frankie was going to spend his twelve shillings in a magic lantern, with his mothers permission, and, at the same time, the three cents that Margaret had put into the money-box were restored to her, and were taken in Margaret’s little pocket to church, and dropped into the alms-bag, put on the altar in the parish church, and then spent altogether in bread for the poor.
 


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