Children's Sayings

Children's Sayings : Edited with a Digression on the Small People

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From the introductory.
I DO not know of a more conclusive proof that the wisdom of the East has not been overrated than the fact that among the Hindoos the Children are known as the Baba log-the Baba folk. For the word baba is primarily a term of reverence applied to the head of a household, the ancient of the hearth, the old man venerable.
Scholars, of course, have ingeniously wasted much time in trying to discover what was the intention of the wise or witty man who first bestowed that remarkably accurate appellation. Some have conjectured that he must have been a believer in reincarnation, and have fancied that he recognised in the bald, reflective bit of humanity he called "son" an ancient ancestor returned to the goodly earth for another lease of life. Others have fancied that he was a profound philosopher who, looking into the long vistas of the future with their swarming generations, felt himself compelled to treat the baba with the respect due to the prospective parent of an innumerable progeny.
Others, again-and these I am disposed to believe have come nearer the truth-supposed him to have been a pleasantly ironical person, who, on finding that the new-comer had usurped his place of importance, and appropriated to himself his various creature comforts, had resigned his soul to the inevitable with a solitary word of humorous sarcasm-maimed probably at the baba's mother.
Whatever the correct explanation may be, it is obvious that no more adequate name could have been devised for that irrepressible and irresponsible "third estate," which has tyrannised over good men and devoted women from the beginning of time.
On the whole, the Baba log seem to have used their power graciously. One finds that in all ages their slaves and dependents took a delight in serving them, treasured as a joyful possession the memories of the days of their servitude, and when they outlived them, spoke of them with tears, and rarely outlived the sorrow of losing their small taskmasters.
East and West, tradition is the same: they have ever been a race of plaguey, adorable, impish, angelic, indistinguishable, unique little creatures; radiant as the dawn, changeable as April; the dewy flower of humanity. Many of the beautiful things said about them have perished, but one of the finest survives. "The great man," said Mencius, the Chinese sage, "is he who does not lose his child's heart." Grave old Homer, who was not given to trifling, takes pleasure in thinking of the motherly hand which brushes away the flies from the face of the sleeping babe; he smiles at the woeful two-year-old who plucks at the gown of the mother, too busy at first to take her up and cuddle her, but compelled at last to yield to the child's persistency; he knows what a delight it is to a little fellow to have two or three trees in the garden that he can call his very own; he has watched the youngsters making sand forts on the seashore, and has laughed to see the ass munch his way at leisure through the corn in spite of the blows showered on him by the feeble bird-scarers. Then one remembers the babes on the chest of Cypselus, and the small people of Tanagra, and the weeping maid at the knee of Niobe, and the little maker of locust-cages in Theocritus, and the carver of peach-stones in Aristophanes, and the legend of Euphaues at Epidaurus; and no more is needed to indicate how in the old, old centuries the Baba log were loved by sages, artists, and poets....
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Product details

  • Paperback | 158 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 9.14mm | 294.83g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1514252163
  • 9781514252161