owned a fishing boat. Every morning before sunrise he chugged out of the
harbor, blowing smoke from the boat's chimney. Sometimes Matthew woke up
early with his father and ran down to the dock to wave goodbye.
Matthew sat up in bed, wide awake. He looked out the window. The sun
shone and birds flew through the azure sky. He'd slept in and his father
had already gone fishing. After breakfast Matthew ran down to the dock
to wait for his father to come home with his boat full of mackerel and
cod. He stood at the edge, gazing into the water. On the other side of
the bay stood the rest of the village. Matthew saw the old Norman
castle, the church and a few houses.
A boy stood on
the grass looking towards Matthew. He waved.
back. The boy sat on the grass and watched everything Matthew did. When
Matthew's father returned, Matthew helped him unload his catch. As he
worked on the boat, Matthew kept his eye on the other boy across the
bay. When he'd finished, he stacked crates of fish and carried it to the
fishmarket with his father.
The next day the
same thing happened. Matthew went to the dock and the boy waved at him
again. Matthew wondered who it was and why he just sat there all day.
A few weeks
later Matthew decided to make friends with the boy. Instead of going to
the dock to wait for his father, he went into town. He passed the old
Norman castle ruins, the butcher shop, the woolen shop and the library.
He squeezed through between two buildings and saw the boy. His eyes went
straight to the boy's leg. He wore a brace on it. Now Matthew understood
why the boy sat there every day watching other people's busy lives.
down the hill and sat next to the boy. “My name's Matthew. You wave at
me every day while I help my father unload his fishing boat. What's your
“I'm Thomas. I
hurt my leg in an accident when I was three. I've been in this brace
since then. It's hard for me to walk.” Thomas gazed out at the bay.
you've got a bad leg, that doesn't mean you can't have a great life.
Come with me.” Matthew helped Thomas stand. “Lean on me. You're coming
with me.” Slowly and with a lot of patience, the two boys walked through
the village, all the way around the bay to the dock. “Sit here. My
father will be coming soon.”
Thomas all about the village's history and about how his father went
fishing every day. He learned that Thomas didn't have a father and that
his mother and he were very poor. She works hard all day just to provide
The boat chugged
into the bay and docked. Matthew introduced Thomas to his father.
“Thomas, why don't you sit there and you can roll up the fishing nets.
That'd be a big help, wouldn't it?” He winked at his father.
They carried the
nets to Thomas and dropped them near his feet. “If you roll them up for
me, I'll pay you and I'll give you some fish.”
worked, Matthew told his father about Thomas and his mother. That night
Matthew helped Thomas back to his house and every day he went to the
other side of the bay to help him come to work. Matthew's father paid
him a good amount of money for his efforts and sent him home with
haddock, cod, mussels, oysters, and crabs.
mother was able to move into a house on the other side of the bay, very
close to Matthew's house. Thomas could walk all by himself down to the
Matthew saw that
Thomas was getting stronger because he was eating better and exercising.
Even though he always limped, Thomas learned to walk for longer and
longer distances. When he and Matthew were old enough, they both went
out on the boat to help catch fish. Never again did Thomas or his mother
do without, thanks to a kind boy named Matthew.