Billy Brad and the Forbidden Fruit
By Ellis Parker Butler
Taken from "McClure's Magazine," Volume 40, November 1912 - April 1913
"And you must not take an apple," said Billy Brad's mother warningly. "If you want an apple, come to me and
ask me, and if I think you may have one I will pare one for you. You are too young to know whether you need
an apple or not. Do you understand? You must not take the apples!"
"Yes, mama," said Billy Brad cheerfully, and that was a bad sign. There was no reason why Billy Brad should
be cheerful; for the day, so far, had not been a success--success and mischief being synonymous in Billy
Brad's mind. So far, he had been spanked only twice, and this was far below the average and indicated an
unsuccessful day. His world seemed barren of opportunities. The day had begun well enough, for he had
found a large jar of cold cream on his mother's toilet-table, and had oiled the bedroom floor with it, giving the
floor a better gloss than even Katy had ever been able to give it. For this he had been mildly spanked. Then he
had found the shears, and stood on tiptoe, searching the top of Mrs. Bradley's toilet-table for a certain long
switch of hair that at times reposed there--for at that moment Billy Brad was a barber, and wanted to "cut it."
There was no switch visible, so he "cut" the hair of Mrs. Bradley's best silver-backed hair-brush. The crisp
bristles snipped deliciously, but the affair was a tactical error.
"Just look at that brush!" his mother had exclaimed. "It is not good for a thing in this world, now, but to spank
you with. I'll keep it to spank you with, Billy Brad. Come here to me!"
For an hour after that Billy Brad's morning was dull. He could think of nothing better than to throw all his
toys out of the play-room window into the geranium-bed--killing "Inyuns "; but when all the red-blossomed
Indians had been crushed to earth, this was no fun, and he came downstairs. His first impulse was to come
downstairs as a "big old dog"--on his hands and knees; but he remembered that the