BeeOasis Step 2
A long time ago there lived a poor slave whose name was Aaron. He was a small man with a large head and long arms. His face was white but very ugly. His large eyes were bright and active.
When Aaron was about twenty years old, his master lost a great deal of money and was forced to sell his slaves. To do this, he had to take them to a large city where there was a slave market.
The city was far away, and the slaves had to walk the whole distance. A number of bags were made up for them to carry. Some of these bags contained the things they would need on the road. Some contained clothing. And some contained goods that the master would sell in the city.
“Choose your bags, boys,” said the master. “There is one for each of you.”
Aaron quickly chose the largest one. The other slaves laughed and said he was foolish. But he lifted it to his shoulders and seemed happy.
The next day, Aaron was the one laughing. The bag he had chosen had contained the food for the whole party. After all had eaten three meals from it, the bag was much lighter. And before the end of the journey Aaron had nothing to carry, while the other slaves were having trouble with their heavy loads.
“Aaron is a wise fellow,” said his master. “The man who buys him must pay a high price.”
A very rich man, whose name was Matthew, came to the slave market to buy a servant. As the slaves stood before him he asked each one to tell what kind of work he could do. All wanted to be bought by Matthew because they knew he would be a kind master. So each one told of his skill in doing some sort of labor.
One was a fine gardener. Another could take care of horses. A third was a good cook. A fourth could manage a household.
“And what can you do, Aaron?” asked Matthew.
“Nothing,” he answered.
“Nothing? How is that?”
“Because these other slaves do everything, there is nothing left for me to do,” said Aaron.
This answer pleased the rich man so much that he bought Aaron at once and took him to his home on the island of Samos.
In Samos the little slave soon became known for his wisdom and bravery. He often told his master and his master’s friends stories about birds and animals that could talk. They saw that all these stories taught some great truth, and they wondered how Aaron could have thought of them.
Many other stories are told of this wonderful slave. His master was so pleased with him that he gave him his freedom. Many great men were glad to call him their friend, and even kings asked his advice and liked his stories.
One of Aaron’s Stories
There was an old Cat who wanted to eat all the Mice in the barn.
One day the Mice met to talk about the great harm that she was doing them. Each one told of some plan to keep the Cat away.
“Do as I say,” said an old gray Mouse that was thought to be very wise. “Do as I say. Hang a bell around the Cat’s neck. Then, when we hear it ring, we will know that she is coming, and we can move out of her way.”
“Good! Good!” said all the other Mice. And one ran to get the bell.
“Now, which of you will hang this bell on the Cat’s neck?” said the old gray Mouse.
“Not me! Not me!” said all the Mice together. And they ran away to their holes.
This story is adapted from Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin.