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What is truth?

“A great work of the imagination is one of the highest forms of communication of truth that mankind has reached.  But a great piece of literature does not try to coerce you to believe it or to agree with it.  A great piece of literature simply is.  It is a vehicle of truth, but it is not a blueprint, and we tend to confuse the two… truth is not just provable fact, and … children themselves don’t have the trouble in recognizing this that we do…. Children are less easily frightened than we are.  They have no problem in understanding how Alice could walk through the mirror into the country on the other side; some of them have done it themselves.  And they all understand princesses, of course.  Haven’t they all been badly bruised by peas?  And then there’s the princess who spat forth toads and snakes whenever she opened her mouth to speak, and her sister whose lips issued pieces of pure gold.  I still have many days when everything I say seems to turn into toads.  The days of gold, alas, don’t come nearly as often.  Children understand this immediately; why is it a toad day?  There isn’t any logical, provable reason.  The gold days are just as irrational; they are pure grace; a gift.”  (Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet, pg. 202-204)

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