the wholesomely humorous

It is a great mistake to suppose that any kind of story will do for
any age of childhood. Nothing could be more erroneous. There are
well-marked periods or epochs for different kinds of stories, as for
any graded instruction, and care should be taken to give each kind of
story “in its season” in the unfolding life. A study of the normal
characteristics and interests of child life underlies the selection
of suitable stories. A boy of twelve is a very different personality
from what he was at three and seven, and will be at seventeen and
twenty-one. Your boy or girl at twelve will reject, with scorn, a
fairy tale that lights up the wondering eyes of the young child. It
is necessary, therefore, for the parent or the child-lover to know
at just what age a particular type of story is adaptable, or when
the particular ethical truth intended to be impressed can best be

There is perhaps less harm done by giving boys and girls what is
beyond them than is done by talking down to them. They will be
bored by the too mature. They may permanently scorn the babyish or
sentimental. Moral nuts are not for babes; nor predigested food for
young athletes. Studies of children’s characteristics and interests
at different periods may be found in such excellent books as the
following: “Aspects of Child Life and Education,” G. Stanley Hall; “A
Study of Child-Nature,” Elizabeth Harrison; “The Pedagogical Bible
School,” S. B. Haslett; “The Individual in the Making,” Kirkpatrick;
“The Psychology of Thinking,” Irving E. Miller; “The Unfolding of
Personality,” H. T. Mark; “Childhood,” Mrs. Theodore Birney.

Such books are well worth consulting. They should lead to a first-hand
study of the different epochs of child life by every parent, teacher,
and minister who wishes to be “a workman who needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Roughly sketched, the various periods of child life, with their story
interests, are as follows:


This period is from birth to three years. The story interest begins
with lullabies, rhymes, and jingles. Every thoughtful mother must
notice that even before the little one can speak it responds to
rhymes repeated over and over. Half of the baby’s pleasure is in the
frequent hearing of a familiar strain. The baby enjoys also, largely
for rhythm’s sake, the shortest and simplest stories with refrains and
repetitions; also cumulative stories like the “Three Bears,” “This
Little Pig Went to Market,” “The House that Jack Built,” and many
others to be found in Mother Goose, Æsop, Grimms, and Jacobs. Mothers
should begin singing and repeating rhymes, rhythms, and nursery ditties
from the child’s very earliest days. The child’s delight in rhyme and
rhythm will be satisfied, the ear will be trained to listen, the power
of concentration will be cultivated, and, best of all, a preparation
for a love of poetry, a most valuable asset in education and in life,
will be begun. A keen interest and enjoyment in rhythm is found in
almost every normal infant. It is the rudiment or germ of a sense of
balance and harmony, and as such should be carefully nurtured. The
Greeks laid great stress on this sense of harmony through music and


This period is from three to six years. It begins in an interest in
live things, in domestic animals, and later in flowers, wind, rain,
stars, and other expressions of nature. The child now finds delight
in picture-books, short stories of animals, birds, and flowers. When
a little older he enjoys fables, short fairy stories, and folk and
wonder-tales, short moral stories and imaginative stories of home,
play, and humor. Historic tales of the nation and Bible stories, well
adapted and simplified in language, will prove of the greatest interest
to children of this early period. No hard and fast lines can be drawn
in ages. Allowance must always be made for temperament, disposition,
heredity, and family environment. I have found little children, under
three years of age, reproducing to me, without having previously seen
me, or hearing them from me, several of the fairy stories and fables
in this volume; and I have found boys and girls nine and ten years old
still enjoying them. But with the average child such short fairy and
folk-tales are keenly enjoyed between the ages of three and six years.


This period is from six to nine years. It differs from the preceding
period only in the fact that its normal interests are wider, its
vocabulary larger, and its whole outlook enlarged by reason of
attendance upon the public school. Fairies and Santa Claus are
naturally the favorite characters of children from three to six, but
as they pass out of early childhood they discern that “the cow did
not jump over the moon,” and that Santa Claus is, as one of my little
friends expressed it, “only the spirit of love.” The child then wants
true stories. He is apt to inquire earnestly, “Is it true?” or his
request may bluntly be, “Tell me a true story.” This is the period
for repeating in larger and more descriptive form the grand old Bible
stories that children of this age love so much. It is the time for the
realistic and historic tales of the nation that kindle imagination and
patriotism. It is the time for the lives of the pioneers, explorers, or
missionaries like Columbus, Capt. John Smith, Washington, Lincoln, and
Livingstone. This is the golden period of such stories from the Bible
(especially the Old Testament), from general history and from national
history, as are given in this volume.


This stage, from nine to twelve, is possibly the most impressionable
period of life. It is not a time of marked internal changes, but one
in which the external, social, and regulative influences are very
prominent. Life is unique. The boy and girl are unlike the children
that were, or the youth and maiden that will be. The transition from
childhood to boyhood and girlhood comes very imperceptibly. But the
average child enters it when he begins to read easily and naturally;
and this ability may well mark the change. When a boy or girl has
this new power to understand and enjoy books, life acquires a new
range. The whole wide world of literature lies open. Life begins to
be full of meaning. These plastic years are the habit-forming period.
As the twig is bent the tree will be inclined. A pebble may turn the
stream of life. It is the great memory period. It is the golden age
to mold character after the Pattern in the Gospels, if the work is
done naturally. Give the boy and girl realistic stories–those from
the Old Testament, and the Gospels, and Acts; those from the history
of all nations, and from our own national life. Give the choicest
idealistic stories–those legends, strong fables, romances, tales
of chivalry, and poetic interpretations of ethical truth, such as
“Favorites,” in Chapter IV of this volume; Ruskin’s “King of the
Golden River”; Hawthorne’s “Great Stone Face”; and “The Story of
Midas,” which so strongly appeal to this age. In this pre-adolescent,
this habit-forming and golden-memory period, imagination, curiosity,
action, impressionableness, trust, loyalty, and many other instincts
of child-nature are all present ready to combine with every efficient
element of environment, education, example, and experience to build up
the foundation-stones of a wholesome character and useful life. Feed
the minds of these growing boys and girls on the great Bible stories,
the great classic, realistic, and idealistic stories of the world, such
as are found in this volume, or suggested by them, and your young men
and women will not care for trashy stories as they cross the bridge of
the teens.


This period is from twelve or thirteen to seventeen or eighteen. This
adolescent period is the time of marked changes no less in mind than
in body. Like the former period, it is critical and determinative.
Self-consciousness, memory, honor, heroism, idealism, moodiness,
partisanship, are among the prominent characteristics. Fairy tales
do not interest. Stories of romance, heroism, and adventure make
the strongest appeal. Stories of egoism, triumph over difficulties,
self-mastery, loyalty to friends, are most keenly enjoyed. Stories
of altruism come later, in the next period. If they have not been
given in the previous period, the great romances of the world should
come early in this stage–Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”; Virgil’s
“Æneid”; the stories of King Arthur and the Round Table; the stories of
“Beowulf” and “Siegfried”; the legends of the red Indian “Hiawatha,”
and the great romances from the story-books of the world. The epics,
hero tales, romances, and great purpose-stories of the Old Testament,
as well as the scenes of the New Testament, find a ready response in
every normal youth’s heart, and should be given at this period. In
addition to these, stories from history, adventure, modern biography,
missionary life, well written or well told, will interest and impress
the character of all those older boys and girls who are so fortunate
as to have the mirror of life held up to them in this way as an aid
to them in the realization of those highest and best instincts and
impulses which are so naturally and abundantly surging within their
breasts during these critical early adolescent years.


This period is from seventeen to twenty-one or twenty-five. It is the
period of altruism, love, and vocation. The period of early adolescence
is egoistic; this period is ego-social, and strongly altruistic.
This change in the unfolding nature of youth opens the interest to
stories of self-sacrifice, heroic service and love even for enemies.
These stories could not be appreciated in so keen a way before. This
altruistic interest normally awakens several years earlier in girls
than in boys. (See Altruistic Stories, page 33.) At the beginning of
this period, and sometimes a little before, a natural interest in
romantic love leads to the keen enjoyment of such stories. Love is so
important and normal a factor in human life that such interest ought
never to be suppressed, but it should always be directed by the most
tactful and sympathetic guidance in the selection of such love stories
as are referred to on page 33 of this volume.

Another normal interest of this period is that of vocation, choosing
one’s life-calling. If the young man or young woman has not already
started to work to support himself, the question of his life-work
begins to press hard for an answer. And the ideals that shall shape the
choice or spirit of that life-work are already being formed. This is
the great time of appeal of such vocational stories as are indicated on
page 34.

Stories for telling may be found everywhere–in a thousand children’s
books, magazines, periodicals, poems, novels, histories. They may be
recalled from those heard in childhood. They may be “made up” from
the memory of one’s own past history or the adventures of friends. Or
they can readily be woven out of a vivid imagination. Such stories
may afford children passing amusement and a degree of profit, but
such stories rarely have the permanent, cultural value that comes
from an acquaintance with the old classics. Emerson said, “We love
the classics, not because they are ancient, but because they are
true to life.” Every child has a right to his literary and esthetic
inheritance, and these classics, these great world stories, should be
given him for their cultural, moral, and religious values before his
twelfth year.

An understanding of the normal interests of child-nature is the first
step in the selection of suitable stories to tell. The second step is
the actual selection. The selection, of course, will depend on these
factors–the story-teller’s purpose, his available material, and his
taste. The purpose of telling a story may be pure enjoyment, or the
impression of an ethical principle, or some cultural or educational
aim. The available material may be supplied by many books of short
stories retold. Such is the purpose of the present volume. The taste
of the story-teller must not be permitted to dominate the real life
interests and needs of the child’s nature. Nor will this be the case
if we realize the child’s story interests, and permit the child to vote
on the kinds of stories he likes. An understanding of the different
types of stories to tell will be of value to all who desire to secure
the best results. Some of the different types of stories may be
classified as follows:


Bible stories are the best of all to tell to children. They have a
cultural, esthetic, literary, educational, and ethical value, quite
apart from their spiritual and religious use, that puts them in the
very front rank as stories that interest, instruct, and inspire young
life. These stories are the rich inheritance of the race. They are a
treasure-house of ethical and spiritual wisdom. Bible stories are never
sectarian. It is the teller’s fault if he so interprets them. They are
pervaded by a perennial humanity and a direct simplicity that make
the strongest appeal to the young of every century. The Bible reaches
into the soul and impels the will to action as no other book does. For
these reasons every child should be made familiar with the Bible from
babyhood up. Simple parts should be read aloud to the child in its
early years. The simplicity, dignity, and grandeur of the language,
the objective spirit, and the dramatic action bring many parts of the
Bible within the comprehension of even a very young child. In telling
such adapted forms as are reproduced in this volume, care should be
taken, as early as possible, to familiarize the child with the Bible
version itself. Some of the best collections of Bible stories are:
“Children’s Treasury of Bible Stories,” Mrs. Herman Gaskoin; “Tell Me
a True Story,” Mary Stewart; “Stories About Jesus,” Dr. and Mrs. C. R.
Blackall; “Story of the Bible,” J. L. Hulburt; “Story of the Bible,”
C. Foster; “Kindergarten Bible Stories,” Cragin; “Old Stories of the
East,” James Baldwin.


Numerous short and simple stories of heroic lives have recently been
written in a very attractive way for boys and girls. These hero stories
are for telling, not reading, in home, Sunday-school classes and
opening exercises, junior mission circles, or young people’s missionary
meetings. A few of the best are: “Fifty Missionary Heroes Every Boy
and Girl Should Know,” by Julia H. Johnson; “Love Stories of Great
Missionaries,” by Belle M. Brain; “The White Man at Work,” and “The
Splendid Quest,” by Matthews (suitable for children eight to fifteen).


Some parents and teachers find it hard to see any value in play stories
like “The Runaway Pancake,” “The Little Red Hen,” and “The Golden
Goose” (pages 47-51); or such nonsense stories as “The Fox Without
a Tail,” “Why the Bear Has a Stumpy Tail” (pages 71, 77); or funny
stories like “Lazy Jack” and “Epaminondas.” Such parents do not get the
child’s point of view. The idle pleasure or extravagance provokes their
displeasure and appears to them driveling nonsense. But why should not
the mind have an innocent frolic? Why should the child be deprived of
his birthright of “being a child” and “understanding as a child”? The
child loves play and loves these play stories because they are play.


Sometimes a mother says: “I do not want to tell my child lies. I will
give him only truth, history, biography, or useful stories.” Such a
mother fails to see that in excluding fairy and folk-tales from her
child’s mind she is simply shutting the door of his imagination and
hindering his power to do great things in after-life by closing for
him the storehouse of creative imagination. Imagination is the most
powerful factor in any life. Helen Keller, when asked what sense she
considered the most important, replied, “Imagination!” By imagination
the blind see the invisible. By this sense, Newton, Kepler, Davy,
Faraday, Edison, and Burbank saw from afar their great discoveries and
inventions and brought them near. Such an unpoetic mother would rob
her child of his right to his inheritance of an age-long literature; a
literature marking his kinship with the race-children of the past; a
literature adapted to his needs as to theirs, and a literature which
will serve as the basis of all true spiritual culture. “There are those
who reduce life to the plane of that of Dickens’ Thomas Gradgrind, who
cared not for feeling and sentiment, but must have cold, bare, hard
facts, enjoying only the practical and the usable, and living in his
rectangular house and having everything about him right-angled. But
we know that in children there is a place for the sentimental and the
free play of feeling, although these are not to be made prominent in
training and instruction but provided for in the material used. Doctor
Parker said: ‘The atheism, the materialism of the present day in our
land, is largely due to the banishment of fiction and fairy tales by
the Puritans. “Facts,” Gradgrind “facts,” drive beauty and holiness
from the child’s heart.’”[2]

Fancy, imagination, power to see the unseen, need to be fed with
suitable food. Imaginative stories exercise and cultivate the
imagination, the creative faculty. If a child lacks imagination, fairy
stories help to arouse it. If he knows little about nature, tales of
woods and fields will quicken and interest. Children who are brought
up in cities especially need the counteracting influences breathed
by these race-long tales which are so imaginative, objective, and
childlike, and which have been the joy of childhood from the morning
of the world. The best fairy tales also have great ethical value.
They present moral truths in a way that appeals directly to children.
“Cinderella” teaches the reward of modesty and humility; the “Golden
Goose” shows the reward of charity and a kind heart; “Red Ridinghood”
illustrates obedience to parents, the cardinal virtue of childhood;
“Boots and His Brothers,” readiness; “Toads and Diamonds,” good and
bad speech; and “The Frog King,” keeping a promise. Fairy tales that
present perverted ideas of right and wrong or that picture success
achieved by lying or theft, or that justify ingratitude, disloyalty,
or irreverence, should find no place in collections for children. Yet,
in the desire to impress a moral lesson, great care must be taken not
to strip these age-long stories of all their native freshness and
strength. The best moral effect will be gained by letting the child
enjoy the story as a whole without too pronounced emphasis on the
moral. Some good collections are: Grimm’s “Household Tales”; Andersen’s
“Wonder Stories”; Grimm Brothers and Joseph Jacobs, “Fairy Tales”;
Baldwin, “Fairy Stories and Fables.”


Fables are short stories in which animals or inanimate objects are
represented as speaking or acting with human interests or passions.
They were among the earliest stories told by all races. Many of the
commonest fables, earliest told to children to-day, such as the “Dog
in the Manger” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” originated in Asia. Æsop’s
“Fables” was the first moral lesson book for children. They are now an
integral part of our literature and language. For this reason, as well
as others, children should become familiar with them. They please the
child’s fancy, satisfy his craving for short, objective, ethical tales,
and impress such virtues as prudence, honesty, contentment, generosity,
and wisdom. Fables that teach revenge or success by lying and craft
should be rejected.

Some good collections are: Æsop; La Fontaine; “Fables and Folk
Stories,” H. E. Scudder; “Fairy Stories and Fables,” Baldwin.


Myths have their origin in primitive man’s personification of the
forces and objects of nature, as gods, demons, giants, dwarfs,
light-elves, spirits of darkness, trolls, and hideous monsters.
Interpreting nature in poetic imagery and language, primitive races
came to believe in these myths as their religion. The Greek myths,
which are largely personifications of the beauty of nature, are
especially pleasing to children who love stories of flowers, trees,
fountains, and sudden transformations, as the natural response to
their inherent love of nature. The Norse myths are personifications of
the awe-inspiring natural phenomena of the cold and rugged northland.
Such stories picture stalwart courage, manliness, and heroic virtue,
qualities that appeal to later childhood and youth. The myths of the
American Indian, such as Longfellow’s “Hiawatha,” treating of the
spirit of the wild woods and free out-of-door life, are well adapted to
the child’s love of nature.

“Myth is not a goal. It is a means by which the goal is reached.
The race grew out of the myth-making period of its development, and
the child will grow out of the myth-loving stage in its religious
development, unless hindered by parents or teachers who unwisely
withhold this childhood religious material from him.”[3]

Some of the best collections of myths are Hawthorne’s “Wonder-Tales”;
Kingsley’s “Greek Heroes”; “Norse Stories Retold,” Mabie; “Stories of
the Red Children,” Dorothy Brooks.


Both myths and legends belong to folk-lore literature and to the
idealistic type of story. The difference between them is that the myth
is a personification of nature, while the legend is an idealization of
a person or place. “The myth is a creation of fancy from ideas. The
legend is the perception of an idea from a basis in fact. The myth is a
creation of pure and absolute imagination. The legend is a story based
on historical fact, but enlarged, abridged, or modified at pleasure.
Both myths and legends express the imagination, emotion, and spirit
of early man, and, for this reason, make a strong appeal to the same
qualities in the soul of those who are in the early years of life
to-day.” As all races have their legends, the list of them is long. Not
one-thousandth part of them can be told. Among legends that age after
age has loved and treasured, are those of India, brought together in
the “Jataka Tales,” those of Greece and Rome, of the Middle Ages, of
the Northmen, of King Arthur and the Round Table, and of the American
Indian. Some of the best collections are: “Juventus Mundi,” Gladstone;
“Famous Legends,” Crommelin (legends of all countries); “Legends of
Greece and Rome,” Kupper; “Book of Legends,” Scudder; “Child’s Book of
Saints,” Canton.


Stories of animals, birds, pets, trees, plants, flowers, mountains,
seas, and other expressions of nature are very popular with children
from their earliest years. But these stories need adaptation and
strengthening with the growing years. They may be used to teach
the habits of animals or the laws of plant life, thus stimulating
scientific interest in the animal and plant world. Their best use is
simply to please and delight the child’s fancy. How children revel in
a story that begins, “Once there was a bear,” or “There was once a
little, furry rabbit.” Such stories are the first steps, in curiosity
and imagination, into the feelings and fortunes of creatures different
from themselves, preparing for a sympathetic interest in the lives of
others, not only of animals, but of human beings. In the early years,
fanciful animal stories may be given. But later, only true stories of
animals have value. Some good nature stories are: “Nature Myths and
Stories,” Cooke; “True Tales of Birds and Beasts,” Jordan; “Door-yard
Stories,” Pierson; “True Bird Stories,” Miller.


The allegory is a double story, or two stories in one. While one story
is being told, another, a deeper and often a still more interesting
story, is caught by the imagination or reason. Fables and parables are
short allegories with one definite moral. The allegory has been the
favorite form of story among almost all nations, and is especially
pleasing to children. The Bible contains a number of beautiful
allegories, one being the comparison of Israel to a vine, in the
Eighteenth Psalm. Æsop’s fable of the stomach and its members is an
allegory. Some of the most perfect allegories are found in “The Golden
Windows,” and “The Silver Crown,” by Laura E. Richards. Ruskin’s “King
of the Golden River”; Spenser’s “Faerie Queene”; Swift’s “Tale of a
Tub”; Addison’s “Vision of Mirza”; Mrs. Gatty’s “Parables from Nature”;
Miss Slossum’s “Story-Tell-Lib”; and, above all, Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s
Progress,” are allegories with which every modern boy and girl should
become familiar.


Idealistic stories–fairy tales, folk-lore, myths, legends, fables,
and allegories–have their place. They add to the poetry, imagery,
enjoyment, spirituality, and enrichment of a life that would often
be wholly prosaic without them. But after all, the growing boy and
girl who pleads “Tell me a true story,” at approximately the age of
six, reveals the truth that the mind cannot be satisfied without the
solid, hard, real ground of historical and scientific fact. For this
reason by far the larger number of stories that must be told, and that
are demanded by advancing childhood and youth, are realistic stories.
These are stories from national or world history, biography, personal
reminiscences and adventures, true stories of animals, and all others
that recount actual happenings. “These have a special value because,
besides suggesting a principle, they also indicate how it may receive
specific application in life. The deeds of the Christian martyrs and
of the modest heroes of every-day life have a certain power which is
beyond that of the most beautiful myth. The story of what Jesus did
means more than all the visions of all the prophets.”[4]

Stories of national history impress the mind of the young with
patriotism. Historical world stories inspire the heart of the young
with a broader human sympathy for all the nations of the earth. The
hunger for the heroic, which is native to the imagination and emotion
of every growing boy and girl, may be fed by these classic stories of
heroic action, endurance, decision, courage, faith, and self-sacrifice.


“God writes his greatest thoughts in noble men and heroic women.” The
Bible is a book of biographies. The Gospels are the four biographies
of its preeminent character, Jesus. This is one reason for the great
charm of the Bible stories and for the great value of the Bible as a
never-failing source from whence to gather material for the unfolding
mind of childhood and youth.

History too is largely the story of great lives in their setting. The
stories of individuals, and of events in which they are concerned,
furnish the best historical material for boys and girls from nine to
twelve. Indeed, biography should be central in the study of history at
least to the sixteenth year. Suitable stories of the lives of great
men and women are interesting at all stages of life, but particularly
during the years of later childhood and early adolescence, when
environment is widening and social and world interests are expanding.
Biography is full of religious nourishment, spiritual contagion,
ethical uplift, and humanitarian values. That which makes the strongest
appeal is found in the Old and New Testaments, the life of Christ,
the Acts of the Apostles, the great lives in national and general
history, lives of discoverers, pioneers, missionaries, adventurers,
inventors, warriors, seamen, and characters full of deeds of daring
and difficulty, but at the same time manly and moral. Biography has
too often, in the past, been limited to a record of the heroic deeds
of generals and statesmen in war and political upheavals. We now
see more clearly the value, in the earlier period of education, of
biographies of leaders in other fields besides war and statesmanship,
and we realize the necessity of inspiring youth with lofty ideals, by
examples of both men and women in all possible forms of human service
and moral and social heroism. This truer interpretation of the ethical
and spiritual value of biography and history is illustrated by the
biographical stories in Chapter X, “Heroes of Peace,” and Chapter XI,
“Modern Boys and Girls Who Became Useful.”


Stories of unselfish heroism appeal to every age, but they find their
strongest interest for the spirit of youth during the years of middle
adolescence. Such stories of self-sacrifice may be selected from the
Bible, history, fiction, or modern life. They not only show what is
noble action, but touch the soul with the contagion of self-sacrificing
deeds. From the Ethical Index, on page 291, under Altruism, Loyalty,
Self-sacrifice, and such synonyms, a list of altruistic stories may be


Stories of real or romantic love between the sexes have their strong
appeal in middle adolescence. There may be an interest in these before
this period or it may appear later. Such stories are usually for
reading, but some of the best for telling are: “Ruth, the Gleaner”;
“John Alden and Priscilla”; “Evangeline”; “The Silver Girl”; “Love
Stories of Great Missionaries,” by Belle M. Brain; “The Three Weavers,”
by Annie Fellows Johnson.


These are the stories that will aid in preparing young people in
choosing their life-work, or that will inspire them with the highest
ideals in their work. Such stories may be found among all types. For
example, the fairy story, “Boots and His Brothers,” shows the value
of being prepared; the Bible story, “When Jesus Was Lost,” shows
when Jesus found his life-work; “The Legend of St. Christopher”
reveals ideals of service, and such legendary or historical stories
as “Horatius at the Bridge,” “King Bruce and the Spider,” and “Dick
Whittington” illustrate the rewards of service. Biographies are almost
all vocational. This vocational interest, either clearly revealed or
simply implied, may transform a story, otherwise distasteful to young
people, into one full of interest, inspiration, and profit.


These are stories that are invented simply for the purpose of imparting
instruction in some branch of science or art. The story-form and
story-interest is taken advantage of to produce interest in the
desired trade, craft, occupation, or science. Such stories must be
used with care. But if used moderately and with tact they may prove of
educational and even vocational value.


Variety is of great importance in story-telling, as in all ethical
instruction and educational training. Life demands variety. Moral life
is full of variety, vitality, and humor. Nor need we fear to bring
these qualities into story-telling. Humor is leaven. Without it ethical
teaching becomes flat. Laughter too is good for the world. It is a
tonic to the emotions. “It does us all good to laugh if there is no
smear or smirch in the laugh; fun sets the blood flowing more freely in
the veins, and loosens the strained cords of feeling and thought; the
delicious shock of surprise at every ‘funny spot’ is a kind of electric
treatment for the nerves.” (Sara Cone Bryant.) Laughter is tone to the
spirit and inspiration to fresh effort. It is a sign too, of broadening
imagination and sympathies. As the nonsense and play-story are good for
the child, so the wholesomely humorous story is good for the youth and
the adult.