Fifty Famous People
James Baldwin
Children
3:43 h
Level 3
James Baldwin was an American educator and administrator. He served as the superintendent of Indiana's school system for 18 years and then went on to become a widely published textbook editor and children's author in the subjects of legends, mythology, biography, and literature, among others. He was one of the most prolific authors of school books for children at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. He wrote over thirty books about famous people in history and retold classical stories. His publications numbered 54 volumes. Fifty Famous People: A Book of Short Stories by James Baldwin, was published in 1912.

Fifty Famous People

A Book of Short Stories

by
James Baldwin


Prefatory Note

One of the best things to be said of the stories in this volume is that, although they are not biographical, they are about real persons who actually lived and performed their parts in the great drama of the world’s history. Some of these persons were more famous than others, yet all have left enduring “footprints on the sands of time” and their names will not cease to be remembered. In each of the stories there is a basis of truth and an ethical lesson which cannot fail to have a wholesome influence; and each possesses elements of interest which, it is believed, will go far towards proving the fallibility of the doctrine that children find delight only in tales of the imaginative and unreal. The fact that there are a few more than fifty famous people mentioned in the volume may be credited to the author’s wish to give good measure.


Saving the Birds

One day in spring four men were riding on horseback along a country road. These men were lawyers, and they were going to the next town to attend court.

There had been a rain, and the ground was very soft. Water was dripping from the trees, and the grass was wet.

The four lawyers rode along, one behind another; for the pathway was narrow, and the mud on each side of it was deep. They rode slowly, and talked and laughed and were very jolly.

As they were passing through a grove of small trees, they heard a great fluttering over their heads and a feeble chirping in the grass by the roadside.

“Stith! stith! stith!” came from the leafy branches above them.

“Cheep! cheep! cheep!” came from the wet grass.

“What is the matter here?” asked the first lawyer, whose name was Speed.

“Oh, it’s only some old robins!” said the second lawyer, whose name was Hardin. “The storm has blown two of the little ones out of the nest. They are too young to fly, and the mother bird is making a great fuss about it.”

“What a pity! They’ll die down there in the grass,” said the third lawyer, whose name I forget.

“Oh, well! They’re nothing but birds,” said Mr. Hardin. “Why should we bother?”

“Yes, why should we?” said Mr. Speed.