The Shepherd Painter Boy The Shepherd Painter Boy
Click to Start TimerClick "I read this story!" to stop the timer.BeeOasis Step 2 One day a man was walking through the countryside near... The Shepherd Painter Boy

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Francis Preaching To The Birds by Giotto (Image, Wikimedia)

Francis Preaching To The Birds by Giotto (Image, Wikimedia)

One day a man was walking through the countryside near Florence, Italy. In this part of Italy, there were many sheep. They could be seen in all the fields. Near the top of a hill, the man saw a little boy. He was lying on the ground. A group of sheep were eating and sleeping around him.

The man was curious, so he walked up the hill. He came closer and saw that the boy held a stick in his hand. The stick had been burned at one end. This made a black powder to write with. The boy was drawing something on a flat rock.

The little boy was so interested in his work that he did not see the man. The man came closer to the boy. He looked at the picture the boy had made on the rock. It was the picture of a sheep, and it was drawn very well. When the man saw just how good the drawing was, he was filled with astonishment.

“What is your name, my boy?” he said.

The boy was surprised. He jumped to his feet and looked up at the kind man.

“My name is Giotto,” he answered.

“What is your father’s name?”

“Bondone.”

“And whose sheep are these?”

“They belong to a rich man. He lives in the big white house there among the trees. My father works in the field, and I take care of the sheep.”

“How would you like to come to Florence, Giotto? In Florence, you can learn to draw pictures of sheep, horses, and men,” said the man.

The Mourning of Christ by Giotto (Image, Wikimedia)

The Mourning of Christ by Giotto (Image, Wikimedia)

The boy smiled with happiness. “I would like to learn to do that. I would like that very much!” he answered. “But I must do as my father says.”

“Then let’s go and ask him,” said the man.

The man’s name was Cimabue, and he was the most famous painter of the time. His pictures were known and loved in every city of Italy.

Cimabue talked to the boy’s father. He offered to take the boy to the city of Florence. He would teach Giotto to be a great painter.

Bondone was very surprised.

“I know that the boy can draw pictures very well,” he said. “He does not like to do anything else. Maybe he will do well with you. Yes, you can take him.”

In the city of Florence, little Giotto saw some of the best pictures in the world. He learned very fast. Soon he could paint as well as Cimabue himself.

One day Cimabue was painting a picture of a man’s face. Night came before he had finished it. “I will leave it till morning,” he said; “then the light will be better.”

In the morning, when he looked at the picture, he saw a fly on the man’s nose. He tried to brush it off, but it stayed there. He tried to brush the fly away again, but it didn’t move. Again, he tried to make the fly go away, but it just sat on the painting — right on the man’s nose.

Then Cimabue realized that It was only a painted fly!

“Who has done this? Who changed my painting?” he cried. He was angry. His painting was changed. But he was also pleased. The fly was painted so well that it looked real!

Then little Giotto came out from a corner. He was shaking and afraid. “I did it, master,” he said. “It was a good place for a fly. I didn’t think it would ruin your painting.”

Giotto expected to be punished. But Cimabue only praised him for his great skill. “There are few men who can draw so well,” he said.

This happened around the year 1350 in Florence, Italy. The boy Giotto became a very famous painter and architect. He became the friend of many famous men. And he became one of the first artists during a time of new artistic creativity that we call the Renaissance.

This story is adapted from Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin.

I read this story! Honestly!