South Berwick, Maine,
March 21, 1902.
My dear Children of the Grammar Schools:
One of your friends has written me that you have read my story of Sylvia and the little White Heron and have liked it. You cannot know how much pleasure this news gives me if I do not write and tell you, so I give you my best thanks now, and my kindest wishes.
I should like very much to know what each one of you liked best in the story and what seemed to you the best part of it, and if you think Sylvia would always be glad because she had been the heron's friend? I am sure that you do think so, as the writer of the story did. You see that the best thing in the world is to be self-forgetful and Sylvia was just that when she took care of the bird.
I wish that I knew whether you know the different kinds of birds that live near you, and how many you have learned to know by sight or by their songs, for even if you live in a large city like Indianapolis you must have many birds for neighbors. Some of you may have seen very strange and interesting birds, when you have been away from home, or have seen, what is still better, something very interesting about the birds that live in the trees that you know best. Perhaps you will each write a letter to tell me! Believe me always,
Sarah Orne Jewett
Reprinted from MS Am 1743 (109) by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University. This letter appears with a group of letters from school children in Indianapolis, Indiana, responding to "A White Heron."
Transcribed by Terry Heller, Coe College.