The Ball that Gave Comfort – January 1921

Dear Ailie.

It is very queer about that ball bursting because I am sure you would be taking great care of it. Father should have asked, “Who burst the ball?” And the one who did it should go without a second piece of cake to tea or pay a penny a week to buy a new one.  But I rather think that nobody burst it. Balls are queer. If it hadn’t burst it would have been lost. There must be a big heap of those lost balls somewhere — perhaps Peter Pan knows where they are. I don’t.

I looked for some the other day after the shrubs were clipped and the leaves all swept up and the garden tidied. You remember what a lot of cricket balls, and rubber balls went into the gardens or the next field or the garden over the way and hid themselves in such cunning places that four pairs of eyes could not see them. Well not one of them could I see. I am sure that Peter Pan takes them into the wood for his little motherless children to play with.

There was a little girl that lived a longtime ago in Egypt (ask John where that is) when a lot of savage people were living in this country in caves hiding from the wild beasts and dressing themselves in the skins of the beasts they shot. The little children in Scotland and England in those days had not as jolly a time as you and they had no toys except what their fathers made for them with rough bits of wood.

But far away where the sun shone in Egypt the people were clever and made beautiful things for their children to play with and the little daughter of a prince took fever and died. And when she was very ill and cried because her hands were hot and her head ached and her tongue swollen they put a doll in her bed beside here and gave her a ball she was fond of playing with. And she died, the poor little thing, with the ball in her hands and the doll cuddled up beside her.

Her father and mother said, “Our little Aida will be very lonely in the other world without us, so let us put her doll and her ball in the grave beside her.” And they sprinkled her body with something that kept it from going to dust and they put her in a coffin with the ball and the doll in her arms and a hoop and a little wooden camel beside her so that when she woke up she would have many things to play with.

That was thousands of years ago and not long ago the great, great grandchildren of those savage Britons found her coffin with the rubber ball and the other play things inside it. That is how we know that little girls played with balls long before Jesus was born. Perhaps Jesus was fond of playing a ball too. I think he would be when he was a child.

PS I will buy another ball for you when I have been to the bank

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