OF ALL THE stories Dr. Boli has published since his celebrated Magazine moved to the World Wide Web nearly four years ago, by far the most successful has been the tale of “The Little Dutch Boy Who Saved Holland.” Not only does it consistently attract hundreds of readers every month, but it also continues to bring in new correspondence, which is always delightful. Only today a reader from the other side of the world left this remark, in which we preserve the capitalization as the writer apparently intended it:
children in school should be motivated to love their country by telling such stories in Moral Value class
Dr. Boli remembers something similar to a “Moral Value” class at the School for Unusual Boys. In those days it was called a “Bible” class, but the idea was much the same. It has been a couple of centuries, but Dr. Boli can still remember listening with rapt attention as his Bible master expounded on the story of the naughty boys who mocked Elisha and were eaten by bears. This was the teacher’s favorite story, nor can Dr. Boli recall his ever having presented any other. It was a very effective lesson: to this day, if (hypothetically) Dr. Boli were tempted to commit some uncharacteristic minor sin, he would have only to remember the bears, and the temptation would subside at once. Like many of the boys of his generation, Dr. Boli grew up with the certain belief that packs of bears waited around every corner to devour children who stepped out of line, and especially children who mocked their elders. It was something of a disappointment to learn as an adult that there are very few bears to be found in the city, and even in rural areas the bears are, if anything, notorious for their reluctance to devour children. Perhaps they have not been properly trained.
At any rate, it would be most satisfying to Dr. Boli if his tale of the little Dutch boy could have the same salutary effect on children of this generation that the story of Elisha and the she-bears had on his own generation. For that reason he grants permission to anyone designing a curriculum for a Moral Value class to make use of “The Little Dutch Boy Who Saved Holland” without any fee or royalty. But if that story fails to produce the desired effect, he recommends falling back on 2 Kings 2:23-24.