David the Shepherd Boy
UP amongst the hills, perched like the nest of a bird on one of the long low ridges,
lies the little town of Bethlehem. It was but a small town at the time this story begins,
and there was nothing about it to make it at all famous. It lay out of the beaten track,
and any one wanting to visit it must needs climb the long winding road that led from
the plain beneath, through olive groves and sheepfields, up to the city gate—a steep,
difficult road, leading nowhere but to the little town itself.
It was in these fields on the slope of the hills that David, the shepherd boy of
Bethlehem, spent his days watching his father’s flocks. That father, whose name was
Jesse, was one of the chief men of the town, and David was the youngest of all his
There were seven big brothers at home, and it was no wonder Jesse was proud of
his sons. They were tall, splendid young men, all of them doing men’s work now, and
taking very little notice of the youngest, who was still only a small boy, chiefly useful in
looking after the sheep.
But though David was but little thought of, no one could say that he did not do his
work well. There was not a more careful or watchful shepherd on all the hills around
Bethlehem. He knew each one of his sheep, and never allowed one to stray. He always
led them to the best pasture, and found the coolest and freshest water for them to
drink. Then, too, he was as brave as a lion, and if any wild beast came lurking round
hoping to snatch a lamb away, David was up at once and would attack the fiercest
beast single-handed. Nothing could ever do any harm to his flock...
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