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The Four Daughters

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Pilgrim’s Progress tells of four daughters: One wise and one wicked, one simple and one who does not know how to ask (about anyone but herself).

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The Wise One, what does she say?  “Marmee, for a life of happiness with Mister Brooke, what must I know and say and be capable of doing?”


To the wise child, you respond by teaching all the ways of matrimony. You explain to her how to find the best lover and keep him happy, what to do if he brings home unexpected guests. You instruct her in the raising of children and the keeping of a home. Even down to the last detail of canning currant jelly.


The Wicked One, what does she say?  “Christopher Columbus, Aunt Josephine. If getting married made you such a sourpuss, I won’t have any of it. If marriage means becoming a poky old lady, count me out.”


“It made you such a sourpuss,” she says. She does not remember, nor does she care to, who you were before he died. The happiness you experienced will not be hers. Then again, neither will the sorrow. She has always had a particular talent for making your blood boil and you don’t manage to mind your tongue. “With that attitude, I’d say you’re already on your way to being a crosspatch.”


The Simple One, what does she say? “Father, what should I want from life?”


And you should say to her: “All that is required of you, little one, is to serve simply and to live with humility. And that you are quite gifted at already. Trust in Him, your greatest friend and whatever happens will be for the best.”


And for the One Who Does Not Know How to Ask (about anyone but herself):  you must open up to her. You explain to her, on this day, the consequences of her thoughtlessness, saying to her: “If you do not consider others, you won’t get very far. The blessings I can count are only because I did not seek them for myself alone.”