“Well,” said Ebenezer, “I’ll tell you seriously. If you intend to have a bench and tools just for play, and think that because the tools look bright and curious you can make things with them at once, without learning, then it will turn out just like it always does with boys in such cases. Just as it did in Bill Booby’s case.”
“How was it with him?” asked John.
“Why, he teased his mother to let him buy a chest of tools. When it came home he looked the tools all over, and was very delighted; but on trying some of them, he found they would not cut, for being new they had not been ground and sharpened.
“So he had to send them all to a carpenters’ to be put in order for work. Then he found he could not work without a bench, and so his mother got a man to come and make his bench.
“When at length he got his bench and everything ready, he determined, for the first thing, to make a martin-house to put on top of a tall pole in the yard. He was going to have it the shape of a church, with a belfry and a spire on the top, and a portico before the door.
“So he got a board and tried to saw it off, of the right length; but he could not make the board hold still. So he said he must have a vice; and his mother gave him some money to buy one, and to pay a carpenter to come down and put it upon his bench.
“Then he tried to saw off his board, but his saw would not go straight; and so the ends of his pieces, when they were sawed, were all askew. When he tried to plane them, the plane would hitch and stick, because it was set too rank. So he knocked out the iron and set it again, and now it would not plane at all….
“When he tried to nail his boards together, first he drove nails without boring, and they split the work….”
“Then he tried to bore holes, but he could not bore straight…”
“Finally, he got in a passion and knocked his martin-house all to pieces with the axe…. He slammed the tools all back into his chest, and went in and told his mother that the man that sold them the tools was a cheat,– for the tools would not work at all. He could not do anything with them.”
“What a silly fellow!” said John.
“But where does Bill Booby live?” he asked after a moment’s pause.
— from “John Gay; Or, Work for Boys: Work for Spring” by Jacob Abbott, 1864