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A handful of seeds to the wind
And then—bright blooms on the sod;
A handful of thoughts to the mind
And then—a heart turned to God.
"THE CHILDREN'S STORY GARDEN" announces its purpose at once. Its stories have the direct aim of teaching ethics and religious truth to children. The theory appears to be prevalent that children's books should not be burdened with too much distinction between right and wrong, and that a story cannot have the primary elements of unity, sustained interest and surprise if it is based on religious faith or the love of God working in the human heart. This unfortunate tendency perhaps is a reaction from the old type of "goody-goody" or "Sunday-school" story which had strong claim to morals but very little to art. Any collection which will help to dispel the idea that stories which teach morals must be dull, we are sure will be gladly welcomed by both parents and teachers.
Of recent years the art of writing for children has blossomed beautifully, and among the juvenile classics that grown-ups as well as little people love, there has sprung up a host of books of great charm. Yet with all their delightful appeal to the childish imagination, there are remarkably few stories with any appeal to the ethical instinct.
The compilers of "The Children's Story Garden" began their work purely from the religious point of view. Parents as well as teachers in both religious and secular schools feel the great difficulty in putting abstract principles into language that a child can comprehend. Of course, he cannot grasp abstract ideas as such, but a story to visualize the principles to be set forth a child understands at once. Hence the search began for stories illustrating the ethical principles and religious truths that Friends wish especially to emphasize. In the end comparatively few could be found already available and much new material was added.
It is not the intention of the compilers to make this a sectarian book. There are of course stories which show the reason behind some Friendly customs, but as a whole it is hoped that there is a fair representation of the simple virtues which lie behind human progress and Christian living.
The appendix contains the outline upon which the collection is based. It is added for convenience in locating stories to illustrate particular points, and has under each topic, besides the list of the contents of this volume, references to stories in other accessible books.
In addition to credit elsewhere acknowledged we are indebted to Scattered Seeds for permission to reprint "Wise Rightly, Wisest Wrongly," adapted from "The Jataka" by Frances M. Dadmun: "Grandmothers" by Alice W. Jackson, and the following stories written by members of our committee: "The Wasted Oak Leaf," "The Christmas Council of the Winter Folk," "The Mud Wasp," and "The Mistake;" and to The Children's Friend for "Billy's Accuser" and "The Obedient Kid."
|Anna Pettit Broomell||Emily Cooper Johnson|
|Elizabeth W. Collins||Alice Hall Paxson|
|Annie Hillborn||Anna D. White|