NOVEMBER 20, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—As we get near to Christmas and a time when you see many Santa Clauses in store windows and on street corners, I often think children must wonder how so many of them could be around when most children have been brought up to think of only one Santa to whom every child writes his letter, and by whom he expects his wishes to be fulfilled.
Now I have just received a book which answers this troublesome question, and I think many parents might like to know about it. It is called "The Real Santa," written by Margaret Walters and illustrated by Meg Wohlberg. It is not just an explanation, but really gives a child a reason for enjoying Christmas. We can all be Santy's helpers, no matter what our size or our age. As long as we are old enough to think of presents for other people, then we are Santy's helpers. I think that is a perfect way to start our children off on the only road by which the Christmas spirit can be developed.
Yesterday was a beautiful day in the country, and Miss Thompson and I had most of the day free for a number of things that I have been wanting to do for a long time.
In the afternoon I had the pleasure of a visit from a young man who brought the most charming lady to tea. She is the Ranee of Bhutan, a little country which lies between Tibet and India. She told me her country had only about half a million inhabitants, but they were the happiest people in the world. Nobody was very poor and nobody very rich. The population is a farming population. The government educates a certain number of people so that they can be employed; the rest are farmers and their mode of life has not changed for a long period of years.
They are so far away that perhaps only 10 or 12 Europeans have ever visited them. The Ranee told me that, as Buddhists, they were taught to abhor war and unkindness, and never to hurt anyone. They live in peace with their neighbors and have close ties with India, which manages their foreign affairs although it has no control over their domestic affairs. Culturally and religiously they are close to Tibet and China, and she is anxious over the latest moves of the Chinese Communists. She told me negotiations had been going on for over a year in the hope of preserving a peaceful understanding between them.
The Ranee's son, a student at Oxford, had been taken ill in England and she went to visit him. Afterward she decided to go home again by traveling around the world. It was lonely traveling alone, she said, but you learned more. There was dignity and grace in her bearing and wisdom in her face. I am sure she will observe much and return with a better understanding of the rest of the world, but also with a deep appreciation of that which is good in her own country. Some things may seen even better than in any of the modern countries she visits.