News from the North Pole and the Lonely Mountain

Today in 1897, New York’s Sun published an unsigned editorial (written by Francis Pharcellus Church) in response to eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon question: “Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?”

It read in part: “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…. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! …  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.”

Also today, in 1937,  J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was published. The Wikipedia entry says:”The book is popularly called (and often marketed as) a fantasy novel.”

Why “fantasy?”


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