Yes, Virginia

Yes, Virginia (the original editorial)

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

DEAR EDITOR: 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?

VIRGINIA O’HANLON
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] 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 mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless 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 generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary 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 enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal 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 they 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 may tear apart the baby’s rattle 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, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

From “Is There a Santa Claus?”, an editorial in the September 21, 1897 issue of The New York Sun


Yes, Virginia (Simplified Text for EFL/ESL Learners)

We are pleased to answer the following letter that we have received:

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. My father says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s true. Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET

Virginia, your friends are wrong. They think that if they cannot see something, it is not real. But they do not know that people do not know everything in the world. There are many things in the world we cannot understand.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists just like love and generosity and kindness exist. The world would be very boring if there were no Santa Claus. Without Santa Claus there would be no poetry, no romance, no fun and no childhood.

Now, if your father hired men to watch all the chimneys in the world, they would never see Santa Claus. But that does not mean Santa Claus is not real. There are many things in the world that we cannot see, but we know that they are real. You can open a car and look at the engine and see how it works. But you cannot open up love or faith and see how they work.

Santa Claus lives and he will live forever. In one thousand years, in ten thousand years there will be a Santa Claus to make children happy!

Adapted by Walton Burns from “Is There a Santa Claus?”, an editorial in the September 21, 1897 issue of The New York Sun

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