The Green Marble
It was a huge green marble—the biggest that Martin had ever seen. It glowed with a green light, and if you held it in your hand, your hand would glow also.
Martin’s marble bag was the biggest of all his friends. Mother had made him the drawstring bag so he could carry it on his belt. Martin had so many marbles that the bag was very heavy.
There were all kinds of marbles in that bag. There were cat-eye marbles of red, blue, green, yellow—even purple and orange. Some big, but most were smaller. Then there were the crystals. They cost more, but they were beautiful. Each of them glowed with a light, too.
It was no use to ask Mother to buy the big green marble. “You already have too many marbles,” she would say.
Martin knew that you always paid for things before you took them out of the store. But Martin did not have any money. Besides, Mother did not understand how much he needed that great, big, green marble. Mother was not a boy.
Martin picked up the big green marble. He looked at the green light on his hand. Then he put the green marble in his pocket. But he did not feel good inside.
In his bedroom at home, he took the big marble out and poured all his marbles on the bed. The big marble was more beautiful than all the others, even the other crystals. He lined them up on the window sill. The sunlight streamed through them and the big green one made the most beautiful light of all, but Martin still did not feel good.
“Martin,” said his Mother, “where did you get this big green marble?” She was standing in the doorway, and she looked very serious. “Did you take it from the store?”
Martin wanted to tell her that a boy had given it to him. But he knew it was not so, and Mother would never believe it. He felt like crying and wanted to hide under the bed. Finally he slowly nodded.
Mother looked so sad that Martin wished she could not see him. He wished that she would hurry up and spank him and get it over with, but she did not. She knelt down beside him and talked about stealing.
“God is watching us all the time, Martin,” she said. “He was watching you when you took that marble. He keeps a book in heaven in which He writes down everything that you do. When you took what did not belong to you, He wrote it down.”
“God was very sad when He saw you do that. He wants you to be an honest person who will not take what does not belong to you.”
Martin felt really horrible now. He was about to cry, and Mother had not even spanked him. He wished so much that he had not taken that marble.
“Do you want to pray, Martin?” Mother asked. “Do you want to ask God to forgive you for stealing?”
Martin nodded. Mother helped him to pray. He asked God to forgive him for taking what did not belong to him. Then he felt a little better.
Mother got her coat and her purse. “Martin,” she said, “we must take the marble back to the store, and you must tell the lady that you are sorry that you took it.”
Martin cried; he did not want to go back to the store. The lady would know he was thief. Maybe she would even call a policeman!
“Can’t you go, Mother?” he said.
“You must make your wrong right, Martin,” Mother said.
At the store Mother explained what Martin had done. The lady looked at him, and Martin felt awful inside.
In a low voice, full of shame, Martin asked her forgiveness. “I’m sorry I took it,” he said.
The lady said it was all right. She told Mother how much she appreciated them coming back with the marble.
Martin felt much better. God had forgiven him; the lady had forgiven him. The marble was back where it belonged. Everything was all right again.
“I’m never going to steal again,” thought Martin. And he didn’t.