- Hercules and the carter.
- Men who rose by self-help.
- William Quarrier, founder of Quarrier’s Homes.
- His childhood of poverty.
- His early vow.
- His success in business.
- The fulfillment of his vow.
Every child knows the old fable of the carter whose wagon stuck in the mud, and who prayed to Hercules, the god of strength, to get it out for him. Hercules answered the prayer with, “Put your own should to the wheel, man!” The carter took the advice, and he and his bullocks got the wagon out of the rut.
There are in real life many better illustrations of the truth of the saying, “God helps those who helps themselves.” There are many inspiring life-stories of men who by their own unaided efforts fought their way up from poverty and hardship to success and fame. It was their own pluck, patience, perseverance and industry that in the end made them the men they became.
Take the story of William Quarrier, the founder of a great orphanage near Glasgow, that has rescued thousands of poor orphan child and started them in life. William Quarrier was born in 1829. His father died when Willie was only a few months old, leaving his widow and three little children. Those were hard days of grinding poverty. Willie never went to school. At six he was earning a shilling a week at pin-making: and he was apprenticed to a shoemaker when he was only seven.
It was at the time that he made the great resolve of his life. One night he crept out of his poverty-stricken home, where the family had scarcely and food for thirty-six hours. He was too proud to beg; but as he stood by a lamppost, he wistfully hoped that some kind soul would see his poverty and help. But none did. In his childish bitterness he vowed that, when he was a man and had money of his own, he would help poor and hungry bairns.
He kept his vow. As a lad, he worked hard at his shoe-making, educating himself in his spare time. He became the support of the family. When he was twenty-three, he set up a business of his own. His business prospered. But his aim was not a to become a rich man, but to carry out his scheme for rescuing poor homeless children.
Quarrier was a deeply religious man, and he made his scheme a matter of prayer. He wanted £ 20,000 to start home for orphans. He made known his plan in the papers, and at once offers of money and help came in. He began by taking in three ragged bairns; but in a few years he had a home sheltering 200 homeless children. The work nearly 2,000 orphans, besides many other supplementary centers of become one of the wealthiest men in Glasgow; but he chose to devote his great business ability to higher ends.