The Forbidden Ride

Colin was such a good little boy that Daddy gave him a bicycle on his sixth birthday. He was so happy that he rode it all day long.

Strangely, he didn't seem to be so good after that. Mother began to have a lot of trouble with him because he insisted on riding the bicycle when she wanted him to help her. Then, too, he started showing off to his friends by riding with bare feet and keeping his hands off the handlebars.

Mother wondered whether giving him the bicycle had been such a good idea after all. Maybe Daddy had given it to him too soon. But it was too late to take it away now, especially since Colin rode it to school and back each day. Perhaps if she talked to him it would help.

"Colin," she said, as he came in from school one afternoon, "I want tot talk to you about your bicycle."

"What about it?"

"Well," said Mother, "I'm glad you are so happy with it, but I wish you wouldn't show off so much. Riding without your hands on the handlebars may look smart, but it's very dangerous, especially for a boy of your age, and with so much traffic on the roads."

"Aw, Mom!" Said Colin. "There's nothing to it. All the kids do it, and nobody gets hurt."

"Maybe not yet," said Mother, "but somebody will. And there's that other foolish thing you do—riding with bare feet."

"What's the matter with that?" asked Colin, as if he were twice his age.

"Just this," said Mother. "One day you will get a foot caught in the spokes, or maybe a toe caught in the chain, and that could hurt a lot."

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Colin. "As if I would ever do anything like that."

"Bigger boys than you have done it," said Mother.

"But I'll never do anything so stupid," said Colin.

"I hope you don't," said Mother. "And to make sure, I'm telling you to never ride again with bare feet. What's more, apart from going to school, I don't want you to ride anywhere without telling me first. Understand?"

"You mean I have to ask you every time I go for a ride?" asked Colin. "Every time you leave this house," said Mother. "Then I'll know where you are and that you have your shoes on."

"Oh," cried Colin, pouting, "what a life!"

"It's all for your good, dear, as you'll find out someday. And when you are a little older, things can be different."

Colin scowled and went off to play with his bicycle— being careful to ride only on the path around the house.

Then he began to say to himself, "I don't see why I can't ride with bare feet. Other boys do it. And if Mother were a boy my age she'd ride with bare feet too. I'm not going to tell her every time I ride away from the house. That's too much. There's no reason that I should."

It's dangerous to think thoughts like these, because they always lead to trouble. Within half an hour Colin was riding out of the gate—with bare feet.

But he was soon back, his mother told me, crying his heart out and leaving a trail of blood behind him as he limped toward the house.

"What happened?" she asked as she ran toward him and picked him up. "What have you done! I though you were playing by yourself in the garden."

Through his sobs of pain, Colin explained.

He had sneaked out for a ride, hoping Mother would never find out. Then he had begun riding with only one hand on the handlebars. The bike had hit a bump in the road and wobbled badly. His foot had slipped off the pedal and had caught between the chain and the big cogwheel.

"Ouch!" he cried as Mother tried to clean the wound. "Is it cut badly?" he asked.

"Very badly," Mother said. "We'd better get you to the hospital right away or you may lose your big toe."

Colin groaned as he hobbled to the car for the trip to the emergency room.

"Oh, why did I do it?" he cried. "That's what Adam must have said when he left the Garden of Eden." said Mother.

"There's an awful price to pay for disobedience."