The KISS Printable Books Page
Handel, the Great Musician
from - Golden Deeds:
Stories from History Retold for Little Folk
London: Blackie and Son Limited
Directions: Your teacher may ask you to write your own version of this story, in class, in as much detail as you can, without looking at the text. You should therefore read the story more than once. You can make a list of the names of people and places. You can use that list when you write your version of the story.

     In the small German town of Halle there once lived a barber-surgeon named George Handel. In those days barbers were nearly always surgeons as well, and George Handel was a very respected member of the profession. He had a large family of sons and daughters, the youngest of whom was called George Frederick. When quite a small child this little fellow showed a decided taste for music. In the nursery his only toys were trumpets, drums, flutes, and anything out of which he could get musical sounds. As he grew older this intense love of music increased, until it became the one great thought and pleasure of his life. Seeing this his father was very distressed and alarmed, for he did not wish his little son to take up music as the means of earning his living.
     At that time organists and musicians were very poorly paid, and George Handel wanted his boy to get on well in the world. So he tried to turn the child’s mind away from all such ideas, by never allowing him to go to any place where music was performed, and by sending every instrument out of his house. But in spite of so much care and trouble taken, it was impossible to destroy the strongest desire of the boy’s nature.
     One night, after the household had gone to bed, Mr. Handel was awakened by the sound of soft music stealing from an unused garret. He arose in great surprise, and calling his wife they went to find out the cause of these strange sounds.
     Going quietly to the garret they paused to listen outside for a few moments, when their astonishment was increased by the beauty of the melody which met their ears. Then, opening the door and holding up the candle he carried, George Handel peered wonderingly into the dusty old lumber-room. There, seated at a clavichord (an instrument something like a piano, only much smaller), was his little son Frederick, then only six years old. The child had coaxed one of his aunts, who was his friend and sympathizer, to help him smuggle the clavichord into the garret, where he taught himself to play while his parents were asleep, or out of the house.
     The wonderful sweetness of the music, together with the earnest entreaties of the tiny performer, softened the heart of his father to forgiveness of his conduct. But even then the old gentleman could not be induced to allow his son to follow the profession for which nature had so well fitted him, as he feared he would not be able to earn his living at it. However, it happened not long after that the Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels heard the boy play, and was so struck by his genius that he persuaded his parent to consent to have him properly trained.
     When once he was enabled to continue his studies under the guidance of a good master, it did not take young Handel long to show not only his father, but the whole world, that he was a truly great and marvellously gifted musician. To-day his famous oratorios are played everywhere, and people delight in them and marvel at them just as much as when they were first produced.