Canville Communications: Article
O, papa are you going fishing again to-night? asked Harold Brewer.
I am going out with my rod, but I dont know whether there will
be any fishing done, said papa, I have been out three nights,
and have not caught a thing.
Take me papa, said his little daughter Ruth, you know you say
I always bring you good luck. You know Im your lucky penny.
Papa laughed. What do you say, mama? he said, turning to his
wife, would it be all right?
I think so, she replied, I will wrap her up warm and you will
have a fire. I will put on her thick coat.
Ruth could hardly stand still long enough to be dressed. To go
out fishing in the night with her father had been one of the things
she had longed to do. Harold had been several times, but she had
never even asked if she might go.
As soon as they arrived at the beach papa lighted a big fire of
driftwood. That in itself was very exciting. It was such fun to
help bring the wood from the dry bank. Then after the fire was
well started papa sat down on a log with Harold on one side and
Ruth on the other.
You must sit very close to me, if you are to bring me good-luck,
said papa to Ruth, but do not jostle my elbow.
For some time all three sat as quiet as mice, when suddenly papa
exclaimed, Ive got a nibble. Be careful, dont get in my way,
Ah! it is a big fellow! How he pulls! And papa was on his feet,
as excited as a school boy. Up the beach he ran, than back again,
and in much less time than it seemed, had landed a fine big bass.
What did I tell you, papa, cried Ruth, jumping up and down and
clapping her hands with delight. I knew you would catch a fish
if you brought me.
Well I am certainly very glad you came,said papa, as he and
Harold took the big fish from the hook.
The fire had died down a little so the children piled on more
wood, and the party seated themselves again on the log. Papa threw
his line into the water and waited for a bite. Waited, and waited
and waited, but all in vain.
The fish-line and the rod were as motionless as possible; at last
a voice at his elbow said rather sleepily I guess that big fish
used up all the good luck I brought with me.
Papa and Harold laughed. I guess he did said papa, and if that
is the case we might as well be starting home. Harold may carry
the fish and I will take the rod and my lucky penny. And he caught
sleepy little Ruth in his arms and tossed her on to his shoulder.
Well, said mama, as the fishing-party appeared at the house,
were you glad you took Ruth?
We will let you know at the breakfast table, said papa, and
that was all that either he or the children would say.
But the next morning when a fine broiled bass was brought on to
the table, papa asked, What do you think, mama, did I do well
to take my lucky penny with me?
Luck depends upon many things, such as patience, the ability
to listen, and the courage to ask for something. Papa Brewer found
that patience is often rewarded, and so is an adult who listens
to a child. Little Ruth learned that those who ask, including
children, shall receive.
For ages many people have believed that pennies bring good luck.
Back when people believed in sea gods, sailors threw pennies into
the sea to ensure a safe voyage. That custom was later converted
into the tradition of tossing a penny into a fountain or well
to have a wish granted. Those who find a penny are also supposed
to have good luck the rest of the day. ( Find a penny and pick it up; all day long have good luck .) Maybe you have found a penny yourself as you walked along
Sometimes people will hide pennies in their houses and leave them
there when selling the house to ensure the new owners good luck.
To this day, a bride might place a penny in her wedding shoe,
believing the penny will bring her and her husband good luck and
wealth. This wedding tradition may have started in the United
Kingdom, where the penny was actually a sixpence. When the United States was founded, Americans
carried on the lucky penny traditions. Though we Americans commonly use the word penny, the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Mint use the term one-cent piece.
I think penny sounds much better, dont you?
This story contains the unabridged and unaltered text of and modified
illustration from Papas Lucky Penny from Who Killed Cock-Robin and Other Stories , published in 1905 by Henry Altemus Company, Philadel phia,
Pennsylvania; with additional new text by Anne Verville and new
photograph by Dan C. Rinnert. New material Copyright 2004-2005
by Canville Communications.