Clovis The Boy King

: Keep-well Stories For Little Folks

Long, long ago, on the banks of the Rhine, there lived a brave and war

like tribe called Franks. Their name means "Freemen." I always think

Frank is a very nice name for a boy or girl to have. It is so grand to

be really and truly free.

These Franks had for their leader a king, and, at the time I am going to

tell about, their king was a boy. His name was Clovis and he was only

sixteen years old. You would
hardly think that a boy could rule those

fierce warriors, but he was such a brave and fearless boy, and had such

a good sensible head that they were glad to follow him. He was never

afraid of anything, even when he was a little fellow, and he could tame

and ride the wildest horse as well as the best man among them.

One day a great idea came into the heads of the Frankish warriors. They

thought they would leave their old homes on the banks of the Rhine and

go and settle in a new country called Gaul. It would have been easy

enough, perhaps, if there had been nobody there but the natives and the

wild beasts, but that was not the case.

The Romans were there. I am sure you have heard of the Romans and how

very strong and warlike they were. Their soldiers conquered the world

and were very seldom beaten. They had an army in this country of Gaul.

Clovis was not afraid of the Romans, however, and he marched against

them. The two armies stood facing each other and the two leaders came

out to speak together in an open space between the camps.

The Roman general was very big and grand, and he had Roman soldiers on

each side of him in splendid uniform. Clovis was accompanied by some of

his brave followers. When the Roman leader saw Clovis, he burst out

laughing and cried, "Why, he's a boy! A boy has come to fight against

the Romans!" He thought it was so funny that a boy of sixteen should

dare to fight against him that he couldn't do anything but laugh. Clovis

did not like this at all, and he shouted back, "Yes, but the boy will

conquer you!"

Then came the battle, and the Roman general found it wasn't so funny

after all. For the boy did conquer him and he ran away. Afterwards the

Franks gained the country for themselves and called it their own name,


I believe in boys. I think they can do almost anything. I believe in

girls, too, just as much. The girls did not fight in this battle I have

been telling you about, but there is another and better kind of battle

in which boys and girls fight side by side.

The old kind of battle in which men were killed, and little children

lost their fathers, was very bad and very sad, at the best. In the new

kind of battle people don't kill each other, and yet they fight very

hard against their enemies and have to be very brave.

Let me tell you about a few of these battles. One that is going on now

is the battle against Disease. Very likely you have heard the grown

folks talk about consumption, and saying that it is one of the worst

enemies of our American people, and kills thousands and thousands every

year. Men and women and boys and girls are joining together to fight

against consumption and make an end to it, and a big fight it is. Then,

again, in the struggle with yellow fever some of our noble American

heroes willingly laid down their lives.

Another great battle is against Dirt. Dirt causes people to get sick and

die, and since we have known this we have been fighting hard against it.

The boys and girls have helped a great deal in this battle.

One of the finest fights to be in is the battle against Tobacco. What do

you think? Could the boys and girls defeat the use of tobacco and drive

it out of the country if they tried hard enough? I really believe they


But, perhaps, you have not all made up your minds that it would be a

good thing to fight tobacco. Let us think of some of the reasons why we

should fight it.

REASON NUMBER ONE is because the tobacco habit is a dirty habit. Are the

lips of the smoking boy nice and clean for mother to kiss? What about

his hands? Isn't he ashamed of that yellow stain that won't come off?

How much cleaner the streets, and cars, and railway stations would be if

nobody used tobacco!

REASON NUMBER TWO is because tobacco injures a boy's body. It hurts his

heart, causing it to beat too fast for a while and afterwards making it

weak and tired. It hurts his lungs, for when he draws the smoke in he

carries the poisonous nicotine to the tender and delicate air-cells. We

must talk more about that at another time. It hurts his stomach and

gives him indigestion, and no one knows how bad that is until he has had

it for himself.

REASON NUMBER THREE is because tobacco harms a boy's mind. Boys who

don't smoke make better grades than those who do. Some college boys

found this out for themselves a while ago. Don't you forget it.

REASON NUMBER FOUR is because it is a dangerous habit. The insurance

men, whose business it is to find out what causes the fires, say that

cigarette smokers are often to blame, because they throw the cigarettes

down with fire on them.

If you spend nickels on cigarettes, a dollar is soon gone. You don't

exactly burn the dollar bill, but you spend the bill and buy cigarettes,

and burn them. Isn't that just the same as burning the bill, after all?

If a boy spends a nickel a day on cigarettes, how much will he lose in a

week? Thirty cents in six week-days. In four weeks, what will he have

spent? A dollar and twenty cents. A month is a little over four weeks,

so we will add an extra nickel to find what he spends a month. A dollar

and a quarter. How much will this come to in twelve months? Is that too

hard for you, I wonder? Fifteen dollars. Dear me, how quickly money runs

away! Surely no one ought to smoke cigarettes unless he has more money

than he knows what to do with.

REASON NUMBER FIVE is because smoking is an enslaving habit. By that I

mean it makes boys into slaves.

So here are five reasons why we should fight against it. Let us see how

many of them you can remember.

I hope that all you boys and girls will be as brave as Clovis, and now

that you see how much harm tobacco and alcohol are doing to your people,

you will get ready for the fight and will say, "Yes, you are strong and

terrible foes, but boys and girls will conquer you."


1. Who were the people that were called Franks?

What does the name mean?

2. Who was Clovis? What kind of a boy king was he?

3. What country did the boy king with his Franks

want to conquer?

4. Who won the battle?

5. What kind of a battle can both girls and boys


6. Name some of these battles. (Disease, Dirt,

Tobacco, and Alcohol.)

7. What are the five reasons why all boys and

girls should fight the battle against Tobacco?