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How John Became a Man by Isabel C. Byrum


Life Story of a Motherless Boy



[Illustration: Learning to Pray]

Author's Preface

In presenting this little volume, the author hopes that it may be useful in suggesting to the minds of young boys the great wrong there is in indulging in evil habits.

We read, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," and this is true concerning most boys who form habits that are harmful both to body and soul.

The story of John's life is a true one; and his earnest prayer that it may be the means of helping some boys from Satan's snares and prove a blessing to them, I trust, will be answered.

Isabel C. Byrum

Year 1917



I The Prairie Pasture II In the Sod Cellar III What the Big Chest Contained IV Early School Days V The Card Parties VI Visitors and Pastimes VII Leaving Home VIII With the Circus IX Caught Unawares X A Child Again XI How John Became a Man


Learning to Pray Opening the Chest A Card Party Leaving the Old Homestead


The Prairie Pasture

Out on the prairie in one of the western states where buffaloes and wild horses once had roamed at their pleasure and where cacti and yuccas still thrived and bloomed could be seen a small two-story frame building. There was nothing strange in this except that the house was different from the average house of the plains; for at this particular time the greater part of the dwellings were made of sod, mud, and brush.

The people, generally speaking, were of that type who think principally of getting all the enjoyment from their every-day lives that it is possible to obtain. There was, therefore, little thought among them of the hereafter, when men must give an account of themselves before a just and living God. In fact, the younger generation scarcely knew that there was a God who took note of all their ways.

The building, so different from the ordinary dwellings upon the prairie, was the home of a tiny lad named John. It was a happy home; for both his parents were living, and the love that bound their hearts together brought peace and happiness to each member of the little household. But could this happy group have known of the presence of a grim monster just outside the door, who at that very moment was seeking an entrance, their joy would have given place to sorrow. Death was soon to destroy the light and comfort of that home. The devoted wife and mother was not strong; and after a severe illness lasting but a few short days, her spirit left the ones she loved and her lifeless body was carried to its last resting place in the cemetery a few miles away.

Little John was, of course, too young to realize the true meaning of the change; but that something dreadful had happened he very well knew, and his large pathetic eyes spoke the grief that he did understand and could not express. During the three years of his short life he had known the care of a tender, loving mother, whose ambitions were high and noble. Although not a Christian, she had often expressed her wish that her little brown-eyed boy might grow up to be an honor to his father and mother, and a blessing to his country. After her death his papa's eyes were often filled with tears, for he loved and pitied his little boy.

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