Bertie was a very good boy. He was kind, obedient, truthful, and unselfish. He had, however, one great fault,—he always forgot.
No matter how important the errand, his answer always was, "I forgot." When he was sent with a note to the dress-maker his mother would find the note in his pocket at night. If he was sent to the store in a great hurry, to get something for tea, he would return late, without the article, but with his usual answer.
His father and mother talked the matter over, and decided that something must be done to make the little boy remember.
Christmas was near, and Bertie was busy making out a list of things which Santa Claus was to bring him.
"Santa Claus may forget some of those things," said his mother.
"He cannot," replied Bertie; "for I shall write sled, and skates, and drum, and violin, and all the things on this paper. Then when Santa Claus goes to my stocking he will find the list. He can see it and put the things in as fast as he reads." Christmas morning came, and Bertie was up at dawn to see what was in his stocking. His mother kept away from him as long as she could, for she knew what Santa Claus had done.
Finally she heard him coming with slow steps to her room. Slowly he opened the door and came towards her. He held in his hand a list very much longer than the one he had made out. He put it in his mother's hand, while tears of disappointment fell from his eyes.
"See what Santa Claus left for me; but I think he might have given me one thing besides."
His mother opened the roll. It was a list of all the errands Bertie had been asked to do for six months. At the end of all was written, in staring capitals, "I FORGOT."
Bertie wept for an hour. Then his mother told him they were all going to grandpa's. For the first time he would see a Christmas-tree. Perhaps something might be growing there for him.
It was very strange to Bertie, but on grandpa's tree he found everything he had written on his list. Was he cured of his bad habit? Not all at once; but when his mother saw that he was particularly heedless she would say, "Remember, Santa Claus does not forget."