Is there really a Santa Claus?
现在，圣诞老人依然会在圣诞节前夜给表现良好的孩子们送来玩具和礼物。有时，孩子们会对圣诞老人产生怀疑，很想知道是不是真的有圣诞老人。1897年，一名叫Virginia O'Hanlon的小女孩就心中的这一疑问给纽约太阳报写了一封信。对于这样一封信，太阳报的编辑Francis P. Church进行了诚恳的回复。以下就是当时太阳报上刊登的小女孩Virginia O'Hanlon的来信及编辑Francis P. Church的回复：
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Signed Virginia O'Hanlon
The answer as published in the New York Sun was:
Virginia, your little friends are wrong.
They have been affected1 by the skepticism of a skeptical2 age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere3 insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless4 world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity5 and devotion exist, and you know that they abound6 and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas7! how dreary8 would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment9, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle10 and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal11 beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding12.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay13 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.