The Water-babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land-baby

T.O.H.P. Burnham, 1864 - 310 páginas
The water-babies was inspired by Kingsley's thoughts on evolution. He was one of the few clergymen to accept wholeheartedly Darwin's theories of evolution and natural selection and to devote himself to the spread of the new knowledge of nature.

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Ten year old Tom is a young chimney sweep who lives in a great town in the North country of England. He has never been taught to say his prayers or even heard of God and Christ except in cursing. He works for an abusive master named Mr. Grimes who drinks beer and smokes a pipe. One day, while cleaning chimneys in an upper-class house, he accidentally comes out in the room of a young girl named Ellie where a nurse accuses him of breaking in to steal. He runs away, falls into a river, and is transformed into a “water-baby,” as he is told by a caddisfly. There he begins his moral education under the major spiritual leaders of his new world such as the fairies Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby (a reference to the Golden Rule), Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid, and Mother Carey, as well as Ellie, who became a water-baby after he did.
In his final adventure, Tom must travel to the Other-end-of-Nowhere in an attempt to help Grimes, his old master, who is being punished for his misdeeds. Will Tom be successful? What will happen to him? Author Charles Kingsley was a minister, and even though he was an advocate of Christian Socialism and a supporter of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, Water-Babies is a didactic moral fable that is thematically concerned with Christian redemption. Kingsley also includes satire about child labor and how England treats its poor. The children’s novel was written in 1862 and 1863 as a serial for Macmillan’s Magazine; it was first published in its entirety in 1863. In the style of Victorian-era novels, it expresses many of the common prejudices of that time period, with dismissive or insulting references to the poor, Americans, Jews, blacks, Catholics, and the Irish. The story was extremely popular in England, and was a mainstay of British children’s literature for many decades, but these views may have played a role in its gradual fall from popularity.
While the book was written for children, much of it will be best understood by adults. It abounds in references to faith (“The most wonderful and the strongest things in the world, you know, are just the things which no one can see”), Scripture quotations (“’We are fearfully and wonderfully made,’ said old David”), and the desire for heaven (“But we, I hope, shall go upward to a very different place”). One reader reviewer noted, “But do NOT buy the abridged version (Puffin). One thing that is taken out is Kingsley’s many sarcastic references to American democracy. The publishers have taken out the anti-American sentiment to sell more copies to Americans.” Evidently, my version is unabridged. Additionally, perhaps some of the other prejudicial items were removed to make it less offensive, and possibly some of the adult satire was omitted to make it more understandable for children. There is a lot of description with many side comments, so it does read rather slowly at times, but it is still interesting.

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Great read man
Looks like you got your pants in a twist over something so small. Greaaaaat read man

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Página 195 - Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height, Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke The years to bring the inevitable yoke, Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife? Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly freight, And custom lie upon thee with a weight, Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
Página 160 - Stern Lawgiver ! yet thou dost wear The Godhead's most benignant grace; Nor know we anything so fair As is the smile upon thy face: Flowers laugh before thee on their beds And fragrance in thy footing treads ; Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong; And the most ancient heavens, through Thee, are fresh and strong.
Página 7 - I heard a thousand blended notes, While in a grove I sate reclined, In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
Página 76 - WHEN all the world is young, lad, And all the trees are green ; And every goose a swan, lad, And every lass a queen ; Then hey for boot and horse, lad, And round the world away : Young blood must have its course, lad, And every dog his day.
Página 261 - Come to me, O ye children ! And whisper in my ear What the birds and the winds are singing In your sunny atmosphere. For what are all our contrivings, And the wisdom of our books, When compared with your caresses, And the gladness of your looks ? Ye are better than all the ballads That ever were sung or said ; For ye are living poems, And all the rest are dead.
Página 117 - One impulse from a vernal wood May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can. Sweet is the lore which Nature brings ; Our meddling intellect Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things : — We murder to dissect.
Página 42 - Strong and free, strong and free, The floodgates are open, away to the sea ; Free and strong, free and strong, Cleansing my streams as I hurry along To the golden sands, and the leaping bar, And the taintless...
Página 224 - And Nature, the old nurse, took The child upon her knee, Saying: "Here is a story-book Thy Father has written for thee." "Come, wander with me," she said, "Into regions yet untrod; And read what is still unread In the manuscripts of God.
Página 261 - COME to me, O ye children ! For I hear you at your play, And the questions that perplexed me Have vanished quite away. Ye open the eastern windows, That look towards the sun, Where thoughts are singing swallows And the brooks of morning run.
Página 193 - I played on the heath one day; And I cried for her more than a week, dears, But I never could find where she lay. I found my poor little doll, dears, As I played on the heath one day; Folks say she is terribly changed, dears, For her paint is all washed away.

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