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
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?