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A short story by M. (Arnaud) Berquin

Arthur And Adrian; or Two Heads Better Than One

Title:     Arthur And Adrian; or Two Heads Better Than One
Author: M. (Arnaud) Berquin [More Titles by Berquin]

Adrian had frequently heard his father say, that children had but little knowledge with respect to what was the most proper for them; and, that the greatest proof they could give of their wisdom, consisted in following the advice of people who had more age and experience. This was a kind of doctrine Adrian did not understand, or at least would not, and therefore it is no wonder he forgot it.

This wise and good father had allotted him and his brother Arthur a convenient piece of ground, in order that each might be possessed of a little garden, and display his knowledge and industry in the cultivation of it. They had also leave to sow whatever seed they should think proper, and to transplant any tree they liked out of their father's garden into their own.

Arthur remembered those words of his father which his brother Adrian had forgotten, and therefore went to consult their gardener, Rufus. "Pray tell me," said he, "what is now in season to sow in my garden, and in what manner I am to set about my business." The gardener hereupon gave him several roots and seeds, such as were properest for the season. Arthur instantly ran and put them in the ground; and Rufus very kindly not only assisted him in the work, but made him acquainted with many things necessary to be known.

Adrian, on the other hand, shrugged up his shoulders at his brother's industry, thinking he was taking much more pains than was necessary. Rufus, not observing this contemptuous treatment, offered him likewise his assistance and instruction; but he refused it in a manner that sufficiently betrayed his vanity and ignorance. He then went into his father's garden, and took from thence a quantity of flowers, which he immediately transplanted into his own. The gardener took no notice of him, but left him to do as he liked.

When Adrian visited his garden the following morning, all the flowers he had planted hung down their heads, like so many mourners at a funeral, and, as he plainly saw, were in a dying state. He replaced them with others from his father's garden; but, on visiting them the next morning, he found them perishing like the former.

This was a matter of great vexation to Adrian, who consequently became soon disgusted with this kind of business. He had no idea of taking so much pains for the possession of a few flowers, and therefore gave it up as an unprofitable game. Hence his piece of ground soon became a wilderness of weeds and thistles.

As he was looking into his brother's garden, about the beginning of summer, he saw something of a red colour hanging near the ground, which, on examination, he found to be strawberries of a delicious flavour. "Ah!" said he, "I should have planted strawberries in my garden."

Sometime afterwards, walking again in his brother's garden, he saw little berries of a milk-white colour, which hung down in clusters from the branches of a bush. Upon examination, he found they were currants, which even the sight of was a feast. "Ah!" said he, "I should have planted currants in my garden."

The gardener then observed to him, that it was his own fault that his garden was not as productive as his brother's. "Never, for the future," said Rufus, "despise the instruction and assistance of any one, since you will find by experience, that two heads are better than one."

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M. (Arnaud) Berquin's short story: Arthur And Adrian; or Two Heads Better Than One