是的,這世界上真的有聖誕老人

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1897年,有個美國小女孩寫了一封信給「紐約太陽報」。信的內容很短,她說:

「親愛的主編
我今年八歲。我有些朋友說,聖誕老人不存在。
爸爸說,在『太陽報』看到的,就是真的。
請告訴我真相,到底有沒有聖誕老人?
維吉妮亞.歐函倫
西95街,115號」

source: wikipedia commons
source: wikipedia commons

幾個月後,太陽報刊出了一篇社論,回答了小女孩的問題。

「維吉妮亞:

你的朋友錯了。他們被這個多疑時代的懷疑主義所影響。他們只相信眼見為憑。他們以為他們小小心靈無法理解的,就不可能存在。維吉妮亞,人類的心智,不管是大人還小孩,都很微小。在我們這個偉大的宇宙中,人類的智能,跟這個無垠的世界,跟理解整個真理與知識所需要的智能一比,不過像昆蟲、像螻蟻。

是的,維吉妮亞,這世界上真的有聖誕老人!他的存在,就像愛與寬容與奉獻存在一樣,確切無疑。他們充滿在這個世界,而且給予你的生命至高的美與歡愉。噢!如果這聖誕老人不存在,這世界會變得多沈悶啊。就像這世界上少了『維吉妮亞們』一樣沈悶。我們將沒有童真的信仰、沒有詩、沒有容許他們存在的浪漫。我們無法有任何享樂,只剩感官與視覺。童年所帶來的、照亮世界的光亮,將會熄滅。

別相信聖誕老人!你也別相信精靈!你可能會要你爸爸雇幾個人,在聖誕夜裡盯著煙囪,想逮住聖誕老人。但如果他們沒看到聖誕老人的出現,那又證明什麼呢?沒人看過聖誕老人,這不表示聖誕老人不存在。這世界上,最真實的東西,是大人和小孩都看不見的。你看過精靈在草地上跳舞嗎?一定沒有,不過這不代表他們不存在。沒人可以理解或想像這世界上,那些沒看過也看不見的奇蹟。

你可以把小朋友的玩具拆開來,然後看看是什麼讓它發出喀啦喀啦的聲音。可是覆蓋在未知世界的面罩,是這個世界上最強壯的人,或者是有史以來所有強壯的人集合起來,也拆不掉的。只有信仰、想像、詩歌、愛情,以及浪漫,能夠撥開面紗,看見那至高的美與榮耀。這算是真的嗎?維吉妮亞,這世界上沒有比這更真實更長久的了。

沒有聖誕老人!感謝上帝!他活著,他永遠活著。維吉妮亞,一千年後,不,幾萬年後,他還是會繼續孩子們開心。」

太陽報的回答,成為美國新聞史上最受歡迎的社論。一直到今天,每到聖誕節,許多報章雜誌還是會把這一段著名的投書與回答拿出來複習。

clipping
source: wikipedia commons

原文:

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical 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 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.

投書的Virginia O'Hanlon(source: wikipedia commons)
投書的Virginia O’Hanlon(source: wikipedia commons)