50 Stories to Tell to Children by Bryant S.C.

By Bryant S.C.

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Like a mighty angel of blessing she stood above the earth, and lifted her head and spread her wings far over the fields and woods. She was so great, so majestic, that men and animals were awe-struck at the sight; the trees and the grasses bowed before her; yet all the earth-creatures felt that she meant them well. ``Yes, I will help you,'' cried the Cloud once more. '' As she said the words a wonderful light glowed from her heart, the sound of thunder -7- rolled through the sky, and a love greater than words can tell filled the Cloud; down, down, close to the earth she swept, and gave up her life in a blessed, healing shower of rain.

The teacher, on the other hand, must avoid, with great judgment, certain absurdities which can easily be initiated by her. The first direful possibility is in the choice of material. It is very desirable that children should not be allowed to dramatize stories of a kind so poetic, so delicate, or so potentially valuable that the material is in danger of losing future beauty to the pupils through its present crude handling. Mother Goose is a hardy old lady, and will not suffer from the grasp of the seven-year-old; and the familiar fables and tales of the ``Goldilocks'' variety have a firmness of surface which does not let the glamour rub off; but stories in which there is a hint of the beauty just beyond the palpable -- or of a dignity suggestive of developed literature -- are sorely hurt in their metamorphosis, and should be protected from it.

It is done in very good schools, sometimes, because an enthusiasm for realistic and lively presentation momentarily obscures the faculty of discrimination. A much loved and respected teacher whom I recently listened to, and who will laugh if she recognizes her blunder here, offers a good ``bad example'' in this particular. '' That was the pity! I saw the illustration myself a little later. '' And so he proceeded, with a constant alternation of narrative and dramatization which was enough to make one dizzy.

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