How John Became a Man

Isabel C. Byrum
How John Became a Man

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Title: How John Became a Man
Author: Isabel C. Byrum
Release Date: June 3, 2004 [eBook #12493]
Language: English
Character set encoding: US-ASCII
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Life Story of a Motherless Boy

[Illustration: Learning to Pray]

Author's Preface
In presenting this little volume, the author hopes that it may be useful
in suggesting to the minds of young boys the great wrong there is in
indulging in evil habits.
We read, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," and this is
true concerning most boys who form habits that are harmful both to
body and soul.
The story of John's life is a true one; and his earnest prayer that it may
be the means of helping some boys from Satan's snares and prove a
blessing to them, I trust, will be answered.
Isabel C. Byrum
Year 1917


The Prairie Pasture II In the Sod Cellar III What the Big Chest
Contained IV Early School Days V The Card Parties VI Visitors and
Pastimes VII Leaving Home VIII With the Circus IX Caught Unawares
X A Child Again XI How John Became a Man
Learning to Pray Opening the Chest A Card Party Leaving the Old
The Prairie Pasture
Out on the prairie in one of the western states where buffaloes and wild
horses once had roamed at their pleasure and where cacti and yuccas
still thrived and bloomed could be seen a small two-story frame
building. There was nothing strange in this except that the house was
different from the average house of the plains; for at this particular time
the greater part of the dwellings were made of sod, mud, and brush.
The people, generally speaking, were of that type who think principally
of getting all the enjoyment from their every-day lives that it is possible
to obtain. There was, therefore, little thought among them of the
hereafter, when men must give an account of themselves before a just
and living God. In fact, the younger generation scarcely knew that there
was a God who took note of all their ways.
The building, so different from the ordinary dwellings upon the prairie,
was the home of a tiny lad named John. It was a happy home; for both
his parents were living, and the love that bound their hearts together
brought peace and happiness to each member of the little household.
But could this happy group have known of the presence of a grim
monster just outside the door, who at that very moment was seeking an
entrance, their joy would have given place to sorrow. Death was soon
to destroy the light and comfort of that home. The devoted wife and
mother was not strong; and after a severe illness lasting but a few short
days, her spirit left the ones she loved and her lifeless body was carried

to its last resting place in the cemetery a few miles away.
Little John was, of course, too young to realize the true meaning of the
change; but that something dreadful had happened he very well knew,
and his large pathetic eyes spoke the grief that he did understand and
could not express. During the three years of his short life he had known
the care of a tender, loving mother, whose ambitions were high and
noble. Although not a Christian, she had often expressed her wish that
her little brown-eyed boy might grow up to be an honor to his father
and mother, and a blessing to his country. After her death his papa's
eyes were often filled with tears, for he loved and pitied his little boy.
One evening when the lights were dim and the hands of the clock were
pointing to the bedtime hour, John felt his father's arms tenderly
encircled about him and heard him softly saying: "My little John, we
are left all alone now, and you must hurry up and become a man as
soon as you can; for I need you to help me. Mama has gone away and
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