SEPTEMBER 2, 1938
HYDE PARK, Thursday —The young boy who acted in the moving picture "Elephant Boy," is now coming to this country. He has asked to come to see me in Washington the latter part of this month and I am looking forward to this opportunity of talking with him. Last night I read a book about him called "Sabu," by Frances Flaherty. It was written for children but I think grown people will also enjoy the charming, simple story and the interesting pictures.
It will take you less than an hour to read and it will give you a conception of the life of a little boy left alone in the world with no father or mother to protect him. He lived and played with the elephants and gained an understanding and a feeling for them which no human being has for animals unless he really associates with them intimately as a child.
I think the most charming part of this story is the little boy's feeling when his particular elephant is sick and he goes and sits beside him and talks to him. When I was a child, I always liked Kipling's "Jungle Books" and I like them still. In fact, I think my affection for animals and my appreciation of their intelligence has grown with the years. One of the things I look forward to most in the future is having dogs of my own again. That is why I hope to spend a good part of my time in the country, for big dogs should not live in cities any more than they have to, they belong to country life. I hope to have both big and little dogs again. I have been promised two Snowden setters and a scottie already, and someday I hope to see them running through our woods.
I have to go to New York today to see some people, but I will be back again late in the afternoon. It seems a waste of a very beautiful day, for the sun is shining again. But then, I am fortunate not to have to go in every day of the week, as I see so many people do when I take an early morning train.
The other day I was very much interested to receive the manuscript of two old Negro spirituals which I was told had never been written down or published. My correspondent wrote them down as he heard them sung and sent them to me because he knew how interested I was in having these native songs of our country preserved. Most of us are familiar with only the very well known spirituals. The other day, two of my guests who heard the quintet from Tuskegee, had never heard the spiritual which I call "The Walls of Jericho." It is one I particularly like. We really ought to take more interest in the preservation of all the old songs, whether they are Negro spirituals or the early white folk songs.