” Ebenezer,” said Benny, ” where are you going ? “
” Into the woods,” said Ebenezer.
” What for ? ” asked Benny.
” To get a load of wood,” said Ebenezer.
” Wood to burn ? ” asked Benny.
” Yes,” said Ebenezer.
Ebenezer was very patient in answering the questions which children asked him, and one reason why it was easy for him to be so, was that he made very short work of it, never attempting to do anything more than to give a simple answer in respect to the one simple point to which the question referred, leaving the child, if he wished for farther information, to ask for it by new questions. Many people make it unnecessarily fatiguing and troublesome to themselves to answer the questions which children ask them, on account of their attempting too much, and giving too long and labored answers, which after all do not satisfy the children so well as such short and simple ones as Ebenezer gave. For they cannot well understand but one thing at a time, and when they have received information on one point, they generally make a short pause to give their minds an opportunity to receive fully the first idea before they are ready for a second. Their minds are in this respect like a very long telegraphic wire, which requires a sensible time for an electrical pulsation to pass through it. So that if the operator sends the pulsations on so rapidly’, that one follows upon another before the first is well out of the way, he mixes them together in confusion, and spoils his whole message.
” Ebenezer,” said Benny, ” why did not you take your horses, instead of the oxen,to come into the woods ? “
” Because oxen are steadier in the snow,” said Ebenezer.
(“Work for boys – volume 2: Work for spring“, Jacob Abbott, 1864)