Little House in the Big Woods
Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs. The great, dark trees of the Big Woods stood around the house, and beyond them were other trees and beyond them were more trees. As far as a man could go to the north in a day, or a week, or a whole month, there was nothing but woods.
Little House on the Prairie
'We're going to do well here, Caroline,' Pa said. 'This is a great country. This is a country I'll be contented to stay in the rest of my life.'
'Even when it's settled up?' Ma asked.
'Even when it's settled up. No matter how thick and close the neighbors get, this country'll never feel crowded. Look at that sky!'
Laura knew what he meant. She liked this place, too. She liked the enormous sky and the winds, and the land that you couldn't see to the end of. Everything was so free and big and splendid.
These Happy Golden Years
Sunday afternoon was clear, and the snow-covered prairie sparkled in the sunshine. A little wind blew gently from the south, but it was so cold that the sled runners squeaked as they slid on the hard-packed snow. The horses' hoofs made a dull sound, clop, clop, clop. Pa did not say anything. Sitting beside him on the board laid across the bobsled, Laura did not say anything, either. There was nothing to say. She was on her way to teach school. Only yesterday she was a schoolgirl; now she
was a schoolteacher.
As a Farm Woman Thinks
Mrs. A. was angry. Her eyes snapped, her voice was shrill and a red flag of rage was flying upon each cheek. She expected opposition, and anger at the things she said, but her remarks were answered in a soft voice; her angry eyes were met by smiling ones and her attack was smothered in the softness of courtesy, consideration and compromise.
I feel sure Mrs. A had intended to create a disturbance but she might as well have tried to break a feather pillow by beating as to have any effect with her angry voice and manner on the perfect kindness and good manners which met her. She only made herself ridiculous and in self defense was obliged to change her attitude.
Since then I have been wondering if it always is so, if shafts of malice aimed in anger forever fall harmless against the armor of a smile, kind words and gentle manners. I believe they do. And I have gained a fuller understanding of the words, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” Until this incident I had found no more in the words than the idea that a soft answer might cool the wrath of an aggressor, but I saw wrath turned away as an arrow deflected from its mark and came to understand that a soft answer and a courteous manner are an actual protection.
Nothing is ever gained by allowing anger to have sway. While under its influence we lose the ability to think clearly and the forceful power that is in calmness.
Anger is a destructive force; its purpose is to hurt and destroy, and being a blind passion its does its evil work, not only upon whatever arouses it, but also upon the person who harbors it. Even physically it injures him, impeding the action of the heart and circulation, affecting the respiration and creating an actual poison in the blood. Persons with weak hearts have been known to drop dead from it and always there is a feeling of illness after indulging in a fit of temper.
Anger is a destroying force. What all the world needs is its opposite, an uplifting power.
Mrs. A. J. Wilder (Laura), "As a Farm Woman Thinks," Missouri Ruralist,November 1, 1921.
Return to Top