This book was such a sweet read from the children's classics, that i naturally wanted to read it to my kids. But as i am currently reading the exciting "Boys book"- The Swiss Family Robinson to my kids, i had to be satisfied by just telling them this story. Though, they said that they prefer the other better, (boys will be boys! :), this was termed as a "cool" one.
Story of how an isolated, friendless, bitter child transforms into an amiable and friendly person when just let loose in a garden. Spoiled and pampered cousins- Mary and Colin are cured by the "Magic" in the Secret Garden of a huge estate close to a moor in Yorkshire, England where Nature and Time play their part in healing and nurturing the children to become kind, healthy and friendly individuals while determination and playfulness through.
The book does contain a lot of references to the Indians who are referred to as "blacks" and are considered people of subservient and menial qualities, which was kind of demeaning. But, I assumed it was a way to highlight resentful character of the child.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett is available free for the kindle.
Some of these lines are definitely going up the whiteboard in my home:
How could I have stayed abed! Th' world's all fair begun again this mornin', it has. An' it's workin' an' hummin' an' scratchin' an' pipin' an' nest-buildin' an' breathin' out scents, till you've got to be out on it 'stead o' lyin' on your back. When th' sun did jump up, th' moor went mad for joy, an' I was in the midst of th' heather, an' I run like mad myself, shoutin' an' singin'. An' I come straight here. I couldn't have stayed away. Why, th' garden was lyin' here waitin'!" (A sample of the Yorkshire accent that is inevitable the book :)
Mother says as th' two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way—or always to have it. She doesn't know which is th' worst.
Oh! the things which happened in that garden! If you have never had a garden you cannot understand, and if you have had a garden you will know that it would take a whole book to describe all that came to pass there. At first it seemed that green things would never cease pushing their way through the earth, in the grass, in the beds, even in the crevices of the walls.
And the roses—the roses! Rising out of the grass, tangled round the sun-dial, wreathing the tree trunks and hanging from their branches, climbing up the walls and spreading over them with long garlands falling in cascades—they came alive day by day, hour by hour. Fair fresh leaves, and buds—and buds—tiny at first but swelling and working Magic until they burst and uncurled into cups of scent delicately spilling themselves over their brims and filling the garden air. (Oh Wow! How do they write like this?)
He would lie on the grass "watching things growing," he said. If you watched long enough, he declared, you could see buds unsheath themselves. Also you could make the acquaintance of strange busy insect things running about on various unknown but evidently serious errands, sometimes carrying tiny scraps of straw or feather or food, or climbing blades of grass as if they were trees from whose tops one could look out to explore the country. (How sweeeet :)
I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us—like electricity and horses and steam."
One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.
Much more surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.
"Where, you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow."