The Story of My Life

Part II. Letters (1887–1901)

TO DR. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES*

This, the first of Helen's letters to Dr. Holmes, written soon after a visit to him, he published in "Over the Teacups."


Dear, Kind Poet:--I have thought of you many times since that bright Sunday when I bade you good-bye; and I am going to write you a letter, because I love you. I am sorry that you have no little children to play with you sometimes; but I think you are very happy with your books, and your many, many friends. On Washington's birthday a great many people came here to see the blind children; and I read for them from your poems, and showed them some beautiful shells, which came from a little island near Palos.

I am reading a very sad story, called "Little Jakey." Jakey was the sweetest little fellow you can imagine, but he was poor and blind. I used to think--when I was small, and before I could read--that everybody was always happy, and at first it made me very sad to know about pain and great sorrow; but now I know that we could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

I am studying about insects in zoology, and I have learned many things about butterflies. They do not make honey for us, like the bees, but many of them are as beautiful as the flowers they light upon, and they always delight the hearts of little children. They live a gay life, flitting from flower to flower, sipping the drops of honeydew, without a thought for the morrow. They are just like little boys and girls when they forget books and studies, and run away to the woods and the fields, to gather wild flowers, or wade in the ponds for fragrant lilies, happy in the bright sunshine.

If my little sister comes to Boston next June, will you let me bring her to see you? She is a lovely baby, and I am sure you will love her.

Now I must tell my gentle poet good-bye, for I have a letter to write home before I go to bed.

From your loving little friend,
HELEN A. KELLER.

* The Atlantic Monthly, May, 1890. By permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

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