The Mighty Deeds of ABC
by Mrs. Follen
A LETTER TO A LITTLE BOY FROM HIS AUNT.
MY DEAR FRANK: I was much pleased with your writing me a letter. If
you were to take a piece of paper, and do up some sugar plums in it,
and send it to me, I should eat up the sugar plums, and then there
would be nothing left but the piece of white paper; but if you take
a piece of paper, and mark on it with a pen some crooked and some
straight, some round and some long strokes, they tell me, though
they make no noise, that you love me, and they seem just like little
messengers from you to me, all with something to tell me of my dear
Besides, after these messengers have spoken once, there they stand
ready to speak again as soon as I only look at them, and tell me the
same pleasant story the second time that they did the first.
If I were to put them away in a safe place for forty years, and then
look at them, when you were beginning to be an old man, these
crooked scratches of your pen would still talk to me of little
Frank, as he was when I held him in my lap, and we used to laugh,
and talk, and tell stories together.
Think, then, my dear Frank, how much better it is to be able to fill
a letter with these curious strokes to send to a friend than to have
bushels of sugar plums to send him.
Did you ever think what curious things these little letters are? You
know the great Bible that you love to look at so much, and to hear
father read from. All the wonderful things related in it are told by
twenty-six little letters.
It is they that tell you of the creation of the world, of the
beautiful garden called Eden in which Adam and Eve lived; they tell
you the sad story of their disobedience to God, and of their being
turned out of paradise.
Then they tell you all about the Israelites, or Jews, as we call
them. In the same book, these twenty-six letters place themselves a
little differently, and tell you the story of Joseph and his
brethren that you were so much pleased with when your father read it
to you, and that of David and Goliath, that you like so much.
Then these same wonderful story tellers relate to you the beautiful
history of Daniel; of that courageous, good man who chose rather to
be torn to pieces by wild beasts than not to pray every day to God,
and thank Him for His goodness; and how God preserved him in the
The wonderful story of Elijah they also tell you, and many others.
But last and most interesting and wonderful of all, my dear little
Frank, is the story of Jesus Christ and his friends called the
These little letters have never told such a beautiful and affecting
story as they tell you of that pure and spotless Being who was sent
by God to teach us our duty, and to show us the way to be happy
No being ever existed on this earth who showed so much love and
tenderness, so much goodness and humility, so much wisdom and power
as did Jesus Christ.
There, in that best of books, stand these little messengers, as I
call them, still speaking the very words of the blessed Saviour;
ready to comfort the poor and sorrowful; to teach patience and hope
to the sick; to instruct the ignorant; to reprove the wicked; and
inviting little children to come to his arms and receive his
Do you not want to know all that they can tell you of this great and
I could write you, my dear Frank, a letter so long that I fear you
would be tired of reading it, about these same wonderful little
figures; but now I dare say that you will think more of them
yourself, and that the little book with the corners rolled up which
contains your ABC will be more respectable in your sight.
Perhaps you will, after thinking some time, ask who invented these
wonderful letters; and then, if you do really want to know, your
father will tell you all that is known about it, or, at least, all
that you can remember and understand. When you are old enough to
read about the history of letters, you will find books which will
make you laugh by telling you that there was a time when, if you
wanted to write "a man," you would have been obliged to draw the
picture of a man; and, as there was then no paper like ours, you
would have been obliged to take a piece of wood or bark to make the
drawing on; and so the same with every thing else.
So you see, if you and I had lived at that time, and you had written
to me about your dog, your pleasant ride and the other things that
were in your letter, you would perhaps have been obliged to get a
man to bring me the letter, it would have been so clumsy, instead of
bringing it yourself, folded neatly in your nice little pocket book;
and as for my letter, only think how much room it would have taken
You will say, "Why, aunt, letters are not only better than sugar
plums, they are better than dollars."
Indeed they are, my dear Frank. The knowledge that they can give,
the blessing they can bestow, is better and more valuable than all
the silver and gold in the whole world; for they can teach us what
is wisdom and happiness; they can teach us the will of God.
I love to think, too, of what pleasant messages they can carry
backwards and forwards between friends, and that in a few hours
these curious, handy little things will appear before you, my dear
little Frank, and tell you what I have just been thinking about, and
that I always love you, and am ever
Your affectionate AUNT.