She has now reached the question stage of her development. It is "what?" "why?" "when?" especially "why?" all day long, and as her intelligence grows her inquiries become more insistent. I remember how unbearable I used to find the inquisitiveness of my friends' children; but I know now that these questions indicate the child's growing interest in the cause of things. The "why?" is the DOOR THROUGH WHICH HE ENTERS THE WORLD OF REASON AND REFLECTION. "How does carpenter know to build house?" "Who put chickens in eggs?" "Why is Viney black?" "Flies bite--why?" "Can flies know not to bite?" "Why did father kill sheep?" Of course she asks many questions that are not as intelligent as these. Her mind isn't more logical than the minds of ordinary children. On the whole, her questions are analogous to those that a bright three-year-old child asks; but her desire for knowledge is so earnest, the questions are never tedious, though they draw heavily upon my meager store of information, and tax my ingenuity to the utmost.
"She sends the sunshine and rain to make them grow," Helen replied; and after a moment she added, "I think the sunshine is Nature's warm smile, and the raindrops are her tears."
After awhile he went nearer, and looking closely at the buds, found that they were folded up, leaf over leaf, as eyelids are folded over sleeping eyes, so that Birdie thought they must be asleep. "Lazy roses, wake up," said he, giving the branches a gentle shake; but only the dew fell off in bright drops, and the flowers were still shut up. At last Birdie remembered how he had awakened his mother with kisses, and thought he would try the same plan with the roses; so he drew up his red lips until THEY looked like a rosebud, too, and bending down a branch with a lovely pink bud upon it, he kissed it softly two or three times.
On March 4, 1888, she writes in a letter:
"The Frost Fairies" and "The Frost Kings" are given in full, as the differences are as important as the resemblances:
When in 1892, she was encouraged to write a sketch of her life for the Youth's Companion, in the hope that it would reassure her and help her to recover from the effect of "The Frost King," she produced a piece of composition which is much more remarkable and in itself more entertaining at some points than the corresponding part of her story in this book. When she came to retell the story in a fuller form, the echo was still in her mind of the phrases she had written nine years before. Yet she had not seen her sketch in the Youth's Companion since she wrote it, except two passages which Miss Sullivan read to her to remind her of things she should say in this autobiography, and to show her, when her phrasing troubled her, how much better she did as a little girl.
In 1886 she graduated from the Perkins Institution. When Captain Keller applied to the director for a teacher, Mr. Anagnos recommended her. The only time she had to prepare herself for the work with her pupil was from August, 1886, when Captain Keller wrote, to February, 1887. During this time she read Dr. Howe's reports. She was further aided by the fact that during the six years of her school life she had lived in the house with Laura Bridgman. It was Dr. Howe who, by his work with Laura Bridgman, made Miss Sullivan's work possible: but it was Miss Sullivan who discovered the way to teach language to the deaf-blind.