Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Castles in the Air and "Little Women"

"Wouldn't it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true, and we could live in them?" said Jo, after a little pause.
"I've made such quantities it would be hard to choose which
I'd have," said Laurie, lying flat and throwing cones at the squirrel who had betrayed him.
"You'd have to take your favorite one. What is it?" asked

"If I tell mine, will you tell yours?"
--- Chapter 13 of Little Women

Castles in the air
are a name for the things you think about, things that you want to see or do in the future. When I was a little girl, I loved to read a book called Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I read it many times, and I liked the idea of castles in the air from the book.

Louisa May Alcott lived long before I was born, and her stories took place more than one hundred years ago. The family in Little Women lived in a big house like the one in the picture, which is Louisa May Alcott's real home. One sister named Beth liked to play the piano. Here they are listening, while their mother, called Marmee, was sewing:

I loved the part of the book where the four sisters called the Little Women and their friend, a boy named Laurie, all told what they wanted -- told about their castles in the air. Jo was the name of my favorite sister of the four. Here is what she wanted:

"I'd have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled high with books, and I'd write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie's music. I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle, something heroic or wonderful that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous, that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream."

Many girls have read that book and have wanted to be like Jo, and like Louisa May Alcott who wrote the book partly about her own life.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

What I really liked in Little Women was the idea that your thoughts were like castles that you built in the air, just thinking about what you wanted to do. One thing I really wanted to do was to see real castles! I wanted to travel. Later in the book, one sister named Amy did get to go to Europe and see some castles. Jo didn't get to go there. But Jo did write stories, just like Louisia May Alcott.

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