Kids today are taught all about Stranger Danger.  I think this too often tips over into hysteria and teaches children to be paranoid and afraid of, well, everyone.  But the pendulum always swings.  Here’s a rather shocking little essay from a 1904 children’s third grade reading primer, when there was apparently very little suspicion about the motives of an unmarried man.

“There was once a very quiet little man, who was a professor of mathematics in a college.  This man had neither wife nor children, and he lived in bachelor rooms at the University of Oxford in England.

This man called himself Lewis Carroll, though that wasn’t his name at all.  His real name was Charles L. Dodgson.  But he pretended that his name was Lewis Carroll, and that is the name he signed to his letters and to his stories.

He seemed like a very queer little man. He did not like people at all – except little girls. But he was very, very fond of little girls, and they were very fond of him. They all called him “uncle,” and he took them up to his rooms and made tea for them himself. Then he took them for a walk about the college grounds or for a boat-ride on the river.

Lewis Carroll loved children so much that he once said that talking to them was next to talking with the angels. He had a great many little girl friends to whom he wrote queer little letters full of nonsense.  He not only made fun for them, but was kind and helpful.  He helped them so gently to overcome their faults that no one could be vexed with him.  He made timid children so happy that they forgot to be timid, and he made awkward children so happy that they forgot that they were awkward.

There were three little girls who liked him very much indeed.  They lived at the college, too.  Their father was another professor there.  So these little often went to see their dear ”uncle” who wasn’t their uncle at all.  But they pretended that he was their uncle, and he pretended that he was, too.  He liked nothing so well as pretending.”

Sounds like another very queer little man, if you just switch the genders of his favorite people.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter