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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Luther’s Letter to his Little Son Hans, Aged Six
By Martin Luther (1483–1546)
 
GRACE and peace in Christ, my dear little son. I hear with great pleasure that you are learning your lessons so well and praying so diligently. Continue to do so, my son, and cease not. When I come home I will bring you a nice present from the fair. I know a beautiful garden, where there are a great many children in fine little coats, and they go under the trees and gather beautiful apples and pears, cherries and plums; they sing and run about and are as happy as they can be. Sometimes they ride on nice little ponies, with golden bridles and silver saddles. I asked the man whose garden it is, “What little children are these?” And he told me, “They are little children who love to pray and learn and are good.” When I said, “My dear sir, I have a little boy at home; his name is little Hans Luther: would you let him come into the garden, too, to eat some of these nice apples and pears, and ride on these fine little ponies, and play with these children?” The man said, “If he loves to say his prayers and learn his lessons, and is a good boy, he may come; Lippus [Melanchthon’s son] and Jost [Jonas’s son] also; and when they are all together, they can play upon the fife and drum and lute and all kinds of instruments, and skip about and play with little crossbows.” He then showed me a beautiful mossy place in the middle of the garden for them to skip about in, with a great many golden fifes and drums and silver crossbows. The children had not yet had their dinner, and I could not wait to see them play, but I said to the man: “My dear sir, I will go away and write all about it to my little son John, and tell him to be fond of saying his prayers, and learn well and be good, so that he may come into this garden; but he has a grand-aunt named Lehne, whom he must bring along with him.” The man said, “Very well: go write to him.”  1
  Now, my dear little son, love your lessons and your prayers, and tell Philip and Jodocus to do so too, that you may all come to the garden. May God bless you. Give Aunt Lehne my love, and kiss her for me. Your dear father, Martinus Luther. In the year 1530.
[Coburg, June 19th.]    
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