By KENNETH GRAHAME
Long ago - might have been hundreds of years ago - in a cottage half-way between an English village and the shoulder of the Downs a shepherd lived with his wife and their little son.
Now the shepherd spent his days - and at certain times of the year his nights too - up on the wide ocean-bosom of the Downs, with only the sun and the stars and the sheep for company, and the friendly chattering world of men and women far out of sight and hearing.
But his little son, when he wasn't helping his father, and often when he was as well, spent much of his time buried in big volumes that he borrowed from the affable gentry and interested parsons of the country round about.
And his parents were very fond of him, and rather proud of him too, though they didn't let on in his hearing, so he was left to go his own way and read as much as he liked; and instead of frequently getting a cuff on the side of the head, as might very well have happened to him, he was treated more or less as an equal by his parents, who sensibly thought it a very fair division of labour that they should supply the practical knowledge, and he the book-learning.
They knew that book-learning often came in useful at a pinch, in spite of what their neighbours said.
Age group: 6+ years
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