We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of THE SUN:
Dear Editor: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."
Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
115 West Ninety Fifth Street
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. 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.
...And even I got teary-eyed when this fellow showed up...
Today is October 31st, and as demonstrated by the modern western celebration of Halloween (which, by the by, is a fascinating study if you don't already know the history!) all the way to the eastern veneration of spirits and ancestry, each culture has its own practices of superstition. Most people don't still take ancient myths and folklore seriously, but that doesn't stop us from avoiding black cats on Halloween and knocking on wood after a particularly risky statement. In fact, the enjoyment of superstition, myths, lore, and storytelling is key to our fascination with all things eastern and exotic.
So let me tell you the story of the Foo Dogs...
"Foo Dogs" is the corroded western term for fú shi ("prosperity lions") or Chinese Imperial guardian lions. These lions can be seen outside palaces, temples, and the private residences of the very wealthy. Lions are not native to the Orient but were brought from India and the Middle East through the Silk Road trade route. Both presented by diplomats as a tribute to the Han court and introduced into Buddhist teaching by the monk Hulin, the "shi" lion slowly but deeply became intrenched into religious and nationalistic iconography. Hulin taught that the lions are protectors of dharma, a Buddhist belief in the balance and circle of life. This teaching, merged with the animals' innate power and regal bearing, made them perfectly suited as imperial guardians. The lions are always presented in pairs: one male and one female: yin and yang. The male is placed on the left with his paw on the earth, depicting domination. The female on the left is presented with her paw on a cub, representing protection and nurture. The pair was thought to bring blessing and provide protection for the inhabitants of the structure over which they stood watch.
Is it any wonder that with such a rich backstory, Mayme LOVES anything Foo (we could be snobby and say "Fú")? Just look at this shot from her and her son's trip to China last year. She was smitten with the highly stylized, beautiful statues! Is it any wonder that she incorporates foo dogs into her decor scheme whenever possible?