From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Laura Ingalls Wilder Quote

And What I Think About It...



Several years ago, I bought a postcard at the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Mansfield, Missouri, that has the following quotation on it.

It is always best to be honest and truthful;
to make the most of what we have;
to be happy with simple pleasures;
to be cheerful in adversity;
and have courage in danger.
Things of real value do not change
with the passing of years.

-- Laura Ingalls Wilder


I have always been curious what the source of the quotation was. I've also wondered if the two sentences were written together, and whether they were just combined to make the postcard.

Tonight I searched the internet for the phrases in the quotation. It seems that the first sentence came from Laura's letters to children. These letters are reproduced in numerous websites. This is the closing paragraph of a 1950's letter:

The "Little House" books are stories of long ago. Today our way of living and our schools are much different; so many things have made living and learning easier. But the real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with the simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong. Great improvements in living have been made because every American has always been free to pursue his happiness, and so long as Americans are free they will continue to make our country ever more wonderful.

--Laura Ingalls Wilder


I found the second sentence included as part of another quotation. I could find only one instance of the quotation -- on a Mansfield, Missouri, bed and breakfast website:

Things of real value do not change with the passing of years. Remember, it is not the things you have that make you happy; it is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good.

-- Laura Ingalls Wilder


It seems that the two sentences were probably from separate writings, though they are combined on the postcard. It doesn't really matter. They contain good, wholesome principles to live by, and Laura's intention was that they should be shared, especially with children.

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2 comments:

Mourningdove's Serendipity said...

How nice. This makes me want to read more about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Thanks for some history.

Genevieve said...

Have you ever read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? If you haven't, I think you will enjoy them. They were written as pioneer stories for children, but it is interesting to read them with an adult's understanding and grasp of history, too.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.