THE ROLL SNATCHER
by:
Sir Arthur James

On top of the hill in a large blue house lived Justin with his parents and a small dog named Curly. Curly was Justin's constant companion. Justin's parents had no time to spend with him. They were always busy either working or doing something else they wanted to do.

The father worked as a builder and was able to fix a lot of things around the house. The mother was a nurse who at present was looking for a job. She lost the last one after a long illness.

Every Wednesday the family would go to the store to get that week's groceries. Justin didn't like going to the store because he could never have what he really wanted. Dad would say it costs too much and mom would say that it wasn't good for him anyway. One thing that was always bought was food for Curly. Dad made sure of that. He didn't want the dog to get sick because than it would cost more to care for him.

One Saturday afternoon Justin went to play at his friend Tommy's house. In the middle of the afternoon Tommy and Justin went into the kitchen and Tommy got each of them a cookie.

"Are you sure this is ok?" asked Justin.

"Oh, sure, why wouldn't it be?" replied Tommy.

"Well, I just thought that maybe the cookies were for someone else," said Justin.

"I can eat anything in the house. Can't you eat what you want?" asked Tommy.

"I'm not sure," said Justin sadly.

"I'm sure your folks wouldn't care. Why don't you just help yourself and I be they won't say a word," suggested Tommy.

Justin thought about that the next day while he was playing one of his games. He thought about the carmel rolls that had been bought at the store and were still sitting on the counter in the kitchen. His parents were both home and sometimes when he asked about having something from the kitchen it was ok and sometimes it wasn't. He decided that he would go and get himself a roll just to see what would happen.

Quietly Justin and Curly walked to the kitchen. Justin took one of the rolls and broke off a small piece for Curly. He sat down my the kitchen table to eat his roll. All of a sudden mom came in through the back door.

"What are you doing Justin?" she asked looking at the two of them.

"I am having a carmel roll," Justin replied.

"It looks like Curly is having some too," said mom.

"Oh, I gave him a little bit of mine," said Justin proudly.

"You know it is not that long until supper. Did you ask your father if you could have a roll?" asked mom.

Justin sat quietly for a second and then replied, "No."

The phone rang and when mom went to answer it Justin and Curly went back to Justin's room. Justin thought about what dad might say about the roll. Well, he figured it was too late to do anything about it so he would go ahead and read his book.

Dad talked about having the guys over for a game of cards. Mom talked about her day with their neighbor Helen. Justin sat quietly and ate.

That evening while the guys were playing cards Justin's dad went to get the rolls. He was one short. He went into the bedroom to ask mom what happened to the other roll. She told him that Justin had eaten it that afternoon.

"Well, I guess I will tell the guys that I am not hungry for a roll," said dad as he went to the living room.

After the game was over and the guys went home Justin could hear his parents talking. "I don't see why Justin had to have that roll," stated dad.

"He has never taken anything before without asking," said mom.

"He could have waited until supper. It is not necesssary for him to be taking food during the daytime," snapped dad.

Justin went to bed a little sadder that night. He did not see what was really wrong with eating something that was in the kitchen. He decided if he had done something all that bad that he would not do it again.

The following week went quickly. Tommy was going to come to Justin's house on Saturday to play. Justin thought that would be great.

Saturday arrived and Tommy got there about one. The boys played for a couple of hours and Tommy suggested that they stop and have a snack.

"I don't think we better," said Justin.

"Why not?" asked Tommy.

"I am not supposed to take stuff from the kitchen without asking and mom and dad aren't home now," stated Justin sadly.

"That doesn't make sense don't you live here too?" asked Tommy.

"Yes!" replied Justin.

"Well, why can't you eat and drink what you want?" asked Tommy.

"I don't know. I think mom and dad want the stuff for themselves and figure I don't need any extra between meals. We do have good meals," stated Justin.

"I thought your parents were nice but I changed my mind. If it is okay with you from now on we will play at my house. My folks don't care what we eat or drink. They don't have stuff just for them," said Tommy.

"That is ok," replied Justin.

Mom had came home early and overheard the conversation the boys were having. That evening she had a talk with her husband about Justin being able to eat what he wants and being able to offer some to his friends.

"He can eat what he wants. You make it sound as though we were treating him like a dog who has to beg for a treat," snapped dad.

"I never thought about it like that. But if he does need to ask it is kind of like Curly coming to us for a treat. I am glad you decided to let him eat what he wants and to share some with his friends. I am sure he will feel a lot better about having playmates here in the future," said mom with a smile.

On Wednesday when they all went to the store Justin got to pick out a couple of things that he liked and could share with friends who came to play. Justin was so proud and happy that he invited Tommy to sleep over on Friday night. Tommy agreed.

When Tommy arrived on Friday he showed Justin the things he brought along for treats. They did look good.

"Oh, we have some stuff too that we can eat. Mom and dad said it was ok to eat and drink whatever we wanted. They did not realize that they were not being fair," said Justin.

"I think that is great," replied Tommy.

The boys had a wonderful evening and plenty of treats. Justin no longer needed to worry what he would tell his friends if they asked for a drink or a snack. He could give his friends treats just like they did for him when he went to their houses.

THE ROLL SNATCHER taught mom and dad a valuable lesson. When you treat people as though they were a dog they will feel like one.






























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