WHY HE CARRIED THE TURKEY
In Richmond, Virginia, one Saturday morning, an old man went into the
market to buy something. He was dressed plainly, his coat was worn,
and his hat was dingy. On his arm he carried a small basket.
"I wish to get a fowl for to-morrow's dinner," he said.
The market man showed him a fat turkey, plump and white and ready for
"Ah! that is just what I want," said the old man. "My wife will be
delighted with it."
He asked the price and paid for it. The market man wrapped a paper
round it and put it in the basket.
Just then a young man stepped up. "I will take one of those turkeys,"
he said. He was dressed in fine style and carried a small cane.
"Shall I wrap it up for you?" asked the market man.
"Yes, here is your money," answered the young gentleman; "and send it
to my house at once."
"I cannot do that," said the market man. "My errand boy is sick to-
day, and there is no one else to send. Besides, it is not our custom
to deliver goods."
"Then how am I to get it home?" asked the young gentleman.
"I suppose you will have to carry it yourself," said the market man.
"It is not heavy."
"Carry it myself! Who do you think I am? Fancy me carrying a turkey
along the street!" said the young gentleman; and he began to grow very
angry. The old man who had bought the first turkey was standing quite
near. He had heard all that was said.
"Excuse me, sir," he said; "but may I ask where you live?"
"I live at Number 39, Blank Street," answered the young gentleman;
"and my name is Johnson."
"Well, that is lucky," said the old man, smiling. "I happen to be going
that way, and I will carry your turkey, if you will allow me."
"Oh, certainly!" said Mr. Johnson. "Here it is. You may follow me."
When they reached Mr. Johnson's house, the old man politely handed him
the turkey and turned to go.
"Here, my friend, what shall I pay you?" said the young gentleman.
"Oh, nothing, sir, nothing," answered the old man. "It was no trouble
to me, and you are welcome."
He bowed and went on. Young Mr. Johnson looked after him and wondered.
Then he turned and walked briskly back to the market.
"Who is that polite old gentleman who carried my turkey for me?" he
asked of the market man.
"That is John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States. He is one
of the greatest men in our country," was the answer.
The young gentleman was surprised and ashamed. "Why did he offer to
carry my turkey?" he asked.
"He wished to teach you a lesson," answered the market man.
"What sort of lesson?"
"He wished to teach you that no man should feel himself too fine to
carry his own packages."
"Oh, no!" said another man who had seen and heard it all. "Judge
Marshall carried the turkey simply because he wished to be kind and
obliging. That is his way."