Who changed his life When Charlie died, he left a wife and nine children. They lived in a house with four rooms. John was the oldest boy. He was 16 years old and
tall for his age. After his father died, John's mother told him, he would have to take care of the family. So John went into the cornfield（玉米地） behind the small house. There was very little corn and very many weeds（杂草）. His family needed corn and corn needed room to grow. John bent down（弯腰） and began pulling out the weeds. When John came in for supper that night, he told his mother that he had cleaned half the cornfield. She was surprised and immediately went outside to look at wha t he had done. While she was looking at the field, she remembered that her husband had sold some corn to Judge Don. She also remembered that they had never collected the money for the corn. She told John to go to the ju dge's house right away （立刻）to get it. John was afraid of Judge Don. The judge was the richest man in town. He owned a lot of land and everyone owed （欠）him money. His stone house looked like a palace（宫殿）. John went to the judge's house and knocked on the door. A servant opened it right away and brought John into the judge's office. Judge Don was sitting at his desk. He was a ve ry big man with a red face, long white hair and serious blue eyes. "Hello, John," said the judge, "what do you want?" John told the judge about the money he owed to his family. "Oh, yes," said the judge, "I had forgotten about that. I'm sorry." He stood up and reached into his pocket. Slowly he pulled out a large brown leather wallet(皮的钱包). He opened it and took out a new dollar bill and handed it to John. Then he sat down at his desk again. "How are you and your family doing?" He asked. "All right, sir." John said. "I wouldn't have bothered you about this money, but we needed it." "That is all right," the judge said slowly, "I should have remembered it. I didn't think of it. Because your father owed me money. He owed me forty dollars. And here is the receipt（借条） with your father’s signature(签 名) on it." John was so shocked that he couldn't think of anything to say. Forty dollars was a large sum for him and his family. The judge looked at John for a few moments. "How old are you, boy?" He asked. "Sixteen, sir." "And when do you think you will pay me back the forty dollars your father owed me?" He asked. John's face turned white. "I don't know, sir." He whispered. The judge stood up. "I hope you are not like your father." He said. "He was a lazy man who never worked hard." He held out his hand to the boy. "Good luck to you", he said as he shook John's hand. Then he walked with him to the front door and said good night. During the summer, John worked on other people's farms for forty cents（四十美分） a day. At first, nobody wanted him. People remembered how lazy his father had been. And they gave the work to other boys. But John was a hard worker and he began to get jobs. Soon he was working on other people's farms six days of the week. He worked on his own family's land every evening and all day Sunday. That summer, for the first time, the littl e farm had enough fruits and vegetables to feed John and his family. There was even some to sell at the market. John used to wonder how his father had always found time to go fishing. John had very little time to fish that summer and when he did have time to relax, he thought about the forty dollars he owed Judge Don. Then he would go out and look for more work. At first, he gave all the money he earned to his mother. But then, he began saving a few cents every time he was paid. By the end of August, he had saved a dollar. As he held the money in his hand, he realized for the first time that someday he might be able to pay off （还清） all the money he owed to the judge. By the middle of October, John had saved five dollars to give to the judge. So one night after supper, he went back to the judge's big stone house. He found the judge sitting in his office. "Sit down, John." The judge said. "I know you have worked hard this summer. I'll be glad to help you if you need some money for
the winter." John felt his face burning. "I didn't come here to ask for anything, Judge." He said. He pushed his hand deep into his pocket and pulled out his money. "I wanted to pay back some of the money I owed you. It is only five dollars, but here it is.'' And he handed the money to the judge. Judge Don counted the money. Then he went to his desk and put the money in a drawer（抽屉）. "Where will you find work this winter, John?" "I don't know, sir." Several days later, John's mother asked him to go into town to buy cloth. She wanted to make some warm clothing for the children for the coming winter. On his way into town, John met Seth. Seth was an Indian who also worked on the farms during the summer. But in winter, Seth traveled north and disappeared into the woods （森林）. As they walked toward the town, John told Seth that he had no work for the winter. Seth told John that he went into the woods every winter to hunt （打猎）and trap wild animals for their fur（皮毛）. Seth said he earned 200 dollars last winter. "200 dollars!" John thought. He turned shyly to the Indian. "Could I come with you this year?" he asked. Seth looked at John without smiling. "Have you got a gun （枪）and some animal traps?" John shook his head. "No," he said, "how much would that cost?" "75 dollars," the Indian replied." If you can get those things, I will teach you how to catch the animals. I am leaving in two weeks." Only one person could help John. That night he went to the judge's house. The house was dark except for a light that was shining in the judge's office. John could see the judge sitting at his desk. The boy knocked at the window. Judge Don opened it. When he saw the boy's thin face, he asked, "what do you want?" "Please, Judge," said John, "could I talk to you?" The judge shut the window and opened the front door. They went back to his office. "Be as quick as you can," the judge said. "It is late." John had never been so frightened in his life. He couldn't think or speak for a few moments. ''Talk, boy.'' The judge urged （催促）him. So John told him about Seth and the animal furs, and asked the judge for the money. ''75 dollars?'' The judge said, ''you are asking me to lend that much money to a 16-year-old boy just like that?'' ''I could do it with 50 dollars.'' John said,'' but if you think it is a bad idea, I won't bother you anymore.'' ''Shut up.'' The judge said, ''if I'm going to lend you money, I want to be sure you don't starve to death in the woods. In that case I would never get my money back, would I?'' The judge looked hard at John for a few moments. ''What about this Seth?'' he asked. ''Can you trust him?'' John nodded his head. ''He has always been nice to me'', he said. The judge pulled out a piece of paper from his desk and wrote something on it. ''Sign this(签字).'' He said when he had finished writing. ''It says you promise to pay me back 75 dollars by next spring.'' John was embarrassed （尴尬的）to tell the judge that he didn't know how to read or write. ''Put a mark at the bottom （底） instead of your name,'' the judge said. ''Here is the money. Don't lose it.'' He shook the boy's hand. ''Good luck. Come here as soon as you get back next spring.'' On the first day of November, John kissed his mother goodbye and left home with Seth. On his back he carried a large bag of food, a new gun and animal traps he had bought with the Judge's money. He and the Indian walked for hours to a cabin(小屋)deep in the forest（森林）. Seth had built the little house several years before. John learned a lot that winter. He learned how to hunt, set traps for wild animals and how to live in the forest. His body grew strong as the forest tested his strength and made him brave. John trapped a lot of animals and early March, his pile（堆）of animals' skins was almost as tall as he was. Seth said John should get at least 200 dollars. John was ready to go home but Seth wanted to continue hunting until April. So John decided to go home by himself. Seth helped John pack his fur and traps so he could carry them on his back. Then Seth said: "Now listen to me. When you cross the river, do not walk on the ice. It is very thin now. Find a place where the ice has melted（融化）, then tie some logs（木头） together. You can float on them across the river. It will take you a few hours longer to do this, but it is safer." "Yes, I will." John said quickly. He wanted to leave right away. As John walked through the woods that day, he began thinking about his future. He would learn how to read and write. He would buy a bigger farm for his
family. Maybe someday he would be as po werful and respected as the Judge. The heavy pack on his back let him think of what he would do when he got home. He would buy a new dress for his mother. He would buy toys for his brothers and sisters. And he would see the Judge and count the money into the Judge's hand. John could not wait to pay back the rest of the money that Judge Done said his father had borrowed. By late afternoon, John's legs hurt and the pack on his back was very heavy. He was glad when he finally reached the river because that meant he was almost home. John remembered Seth's advice. But he was too tired to search for a place where the ice had melted. He saw a large straight tree growing by the river. It was tall enough to reach the other side of the river. John took out his axe（斧子） and cut down the tree. It fell forming a bridge over the river. John gave the tree a kick but it didn't move. He decided not to do what Seth had said. If he crossed the river on this tree, he would be home in a couple of hours. He could see the Judge that evening. With the furs on his back, and his gun in his arms, he stepped on the fallen tree. He was about half way across the river when the tree trunk（树干）moved suddenly, John fell from it onto the ice. The ice broke and John sank under the water. He didn't have a chance even to yell（叫）. John dropped his gun, the furs and traps slipped off 滑落 his back. He tried to grab（抓） them but swiftly flowing water carried them away. John broke through the ice and struggled to the river bank. He had l ost everything. He lay in the snow for a few moments. Then he got up, found a long stick （棍子）and walked up and down the river bank looking for his furs, traps and gun. Finally, he gave up. He walked straight to the Judge's house. It was very late, but the Judge was still in his office. John knocked and went in. Cold and still wet, John told the Judge how he had ignored Seth's advice and what happened. The Judge said nothing until the boy was done. Then Judge Done said: " Everybody has to learn things. It is bad luck for you and me. That's you have to learn like this. Go home, boy." John worked hard that summer planting corn and potatoes for his family. He also worked on other people's farms and saved enough money to pay the Judge another 5 dollars. But he still owed him 30 dollars from his father's debt（债） and 75 dollars for the traps and gun. John felt he could never pay back the Judge. In October, Judge Done sent for him. "John," He said, "you owed me a lot of money. I had a best way I can get it. It is to give you another chance to hunt and trap this winter. Are you willing to go if I lend you another 75 dollars?" John found the voice to say yes. He had to go into the woods alone that year because Seth had moved to another part of the country. But John remembered everything that his Indian friend had told him. He stayed in Seth's cabin and hunted animals every day of that long lonely winter. This time, he stayed until the end of April, by then he had so many furs（皮毛） that he had to leave his traps behind. The ice over the river had melted when he reached it. He built a raft（筏） to take him across even though it took him an extra day. When he got home, the Judge helped him sell the furs for 300 dollars. John paid the Judge the 150 dollars that he had borrowed to buy traps and guns, then he slowly counted it into the Judge's hands, the money that his father had bor rowed. That summer, John worked on his family's farm. He also learned to read and write. Every winter, for the next ten years, he hunted in the woods. He saved the money he earned from the furs. He used it finally to buy a large farm. From time to time, he would visit the Judge in his big stone house. The old man no longer frightened him. By the time John was 30 years old, he had become one of the leaders of his town. When the Judge died that year, he left John his big house and much of his money. He also left John a letter. John opened it and looked at the dat e. The Judge had written it at the same day that John asked him for the money for his first hunting trip. "Dear John," The Judge wrote, "I never lent your father any money. because I never trusted him, but I liked you when I first saw you. I wanted to be sure you were not like your father. So I put you to the test , that is why I said your father owed me 40 dollars. Good luck, John." Inside the envelope （信封） was 40 dollars.