Vera was one of those very lively little girls—you know the kind. Full of high spirits. The kind that makes a mother tired.
That particular afternoon Vera had been a little more lively than usual, and when the time came for her to go to bed, no one was more happy than her mother.
“At last!” sighed Mother, as she went downstairs after tucking Vera into bed and kissing her goodnight. “Now, perhaps I can have a little peace.”
Mother went into the dining room, now quiet and still. Feeling very tired, she decided to lie on the sofa for a little while and take a rest. Gradually she felt herself falling asleep. Then, before her eyes were quite closed, something began to happen.
Very slowly, very softly, the dining room door began to open. A little more, and a little more.
Who could it be? thought Mother, frightened. Had a burglar gotten into the house?
Then, what do you suppose? From behind the door came a white-robed figure. Yes, it was little Vera in her nightie.
Mother did not move. Nor did she say a word. She just pretended to be asleep, and watched.
Vera tiptoed across the soft carpet over to the dining table.
Now, in the middle of the table was a large bowl of apples, oranges, and nuts. On top of all was a big bunch of grapes. Vera had been looking at this bunch of grapes all day, wishing that it might be hers. Now she reached out her hand, picked up the grapes, and tiptoed out of the room, closing the door very quietly behind her.
Of course she thought that nobody had seen her. But Mother, as usual, had seen everything. Mother always does.
But now Mother felt very sad.
“To think that my Vera, my own little girl would wait till she thought I was not looking and then creep down here to steal that bunch of grapes! Oh, what shall I do! What shall I say to her?”
Then, just as Mother was feeling very much upset, something began to happen again.
Once more the dining room door began to open—very softly, very slowly. From behind it came the same little white-robed figure. It was Vera again, still in her nightie, and still clasping the bunch of grapes tightly in her hand.
Tiptoeing over to the table, she put the bunch of grapes back in exactly the same place that she had found it. Then, in a big, loud voice, she said, “And there, Mr. Devil, that’s where you get left.”
After that she turned around and started for the door. But before she had reached it, Mother was on her feet and her arms were clasped around Vera’s neck.
“Oh, darling!” she cried. “I’m so glad you won the victory over that temptation!”
What a happy time they both had then!
I like to think of what must have happened on the stairs that evening. All the way up, the voice of the tempter had said, “Go on, Vera; grapes have a lovely taste. Take one. Nobody will ever know. It will be all right. Mother will never find out.”
At the same time another voice inside her had said, “No, don’t, Vera. That would be stealing. That would be wrong. Mother would be disappointed. Do the right thing and take those grapes back! Put them back where you found them.”
Somewhere on the stairs the victory was won. And after that everything turned out happily—as it always does when we fight temptation and win.
Every boy and girl is tempted at some time or other to do something wrong. Sometimes the temptation is very strong indeed. Sometimes you may wonder what is the right thing to do. But if you listen to that little voice that speaks within your heart, the voice of conscience, you will not make a mistake. Jesus will give you the victory, if you ask His help.
The Story Book, Character-building Stories for Children, 18–21.
“He has made it possible for every tempted son and daughter of Adam, in every time of temptation, to gain a glorious victory. He has placed the power of heaven within the reach of His children.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 3, 1901.