E. Nesbit on Proof
Searching for public domain books to read to my small son, I ran across E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It. I remembered that Lewis expressed some appreciation for Nesbit, and I was delighted to hear in her some of the same wit and keen observation of children’s ways that I love in Lewis. Here’s a great sample:
Grown-up people find it very difficult to believe really wonderful things, unless they have what they call proof. But children will believe almost anything, and grown-ups know this. That is why they tell you that the earth is round like an orange, when you can see perfectly well that it is flat and lumpy; and why they say that the earth goes round the sun, when you can see for yourself any day that the sun gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night like a good sun as it is, and the earth knows its place, and lies as still as a mouse. Yet I daresay you believe all that about the earth and the sun, and if so you will find it quite easy to believe that before Anthea and Cyril and the others had been a week in the country they had found a fairy. At least they called it that, because that was what it called itself; and of course it knew best, but it was not at all like any fairy you ever saw or heard of or read about.
Can’t resist a good epistemology quote, even and especially if it comes from a children’s book from 1902.