Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Miss Polly was 40 now. She was Nancy’s mistress. Polly was often rude to her. Nancy was like the maid. Nancy’s mum was widowed and left behind 3 children. Polly was known to be a stern woman. Her niece, Miss Pollyanna, aged 11, would be moving into the house shortly. Polly didn’t seem too pleased about Pollyanna’s imminent arrival. Pollyanna’s dad passed on recently. He was a pastor. Her sister was Jennie. Jennie married the man who was not the family’s first choice as he was not wealthy and had a humble background. Polly’s parents had passed on and was lonely in nature. She admitted she knew it was her duty to take care of her niece although she didn’t like it.

Polly often lost her temper with Nancy. Nancy also was quite hot tempered too. Old Tom was the gardener. Polly was quite unpopular then. Tom knew about Polly’s love affair. He admitted that she had the choice on whether she wanted to look good.

Oh, I’m so glad, GLAD, GLAD to see you. Of course I’m Pollyanna, and I’m so glad you came to meet me! I hoped you would. – Pollyanna

Polly ordered Nancy to go pick Pollyanna up the next day. Timothy was Tom’s son and was good natured in mannerisms. They all hoped that Pollyanna would be nice. She started dancing. She gave them a check from Mr Gray. Pollyanna had plenty of questions. Mrs White and Mr Gray took care of her back then. She was glad to have Nancy, whom she confused for Ms Polly. She liked to pay compliments. Pollyanna expected the house to have carpets and ice-cream. Her room was pathetic. She commented that the house was perfect.

Pollyanna flung herself into Polly’s lap. She started explaining about her dress. Aunt Polly didn’t like it one bit when she mentioned about her father to her. Polly was glad to place the child in the room as she would not run around and destroy things. It was hot and stifling in the attic. Pollyanna was frightened. She stood still and stared at the bare room. She did not comprehend why her dad had to pass on. Nancy and her started unpacking. Pollyanna was glad to have the room because of the lovely view of the window. Nancy started crying. She opened the window and flies flew in. The next time, she started climbing outside the window and swung from tree limbs. She came upon the gardener at the back of the house. It was 6pm but Pollyanna was not back yet for dinner. Polly wanted to teach her a lesson by not rewarding her food. Nancy realized that Pollyanna was not in her room. Nancy went outside of the house to look for her.

Nancy found her at the big rock. Pollyanna told Nancy that she didn’t worry at all. She was glad for the bread and milk and admitted that she still liked it. She was playing the ‘just being glad’ game. It turns out that she played it when she was younger. When she received a pair of crutches for a present, she was glad too that she did not have to use them. It is always challenging to be glad over every situation. It usually doesn’t take her long to be glad. Miss Polly thought it was odd that her niece enjoyed the punishment. She went back to sob in her room.

The game was to just find something about everything to be glad about – no matter what it was…You see, when you’re hunting for the glad things, you sort of forget the other kind. – Pollyanna

She started talking to the birds in the morning. Pollyanna admitted that she was glad to be alive. She hugged her hunt. Old Tom started talking to her. It was time for breakfast now. Flies entered the kitchen and they flew in from Pollyanna’s room. Polly was angry at her for not having shut the windows. Polly ordered screens for the windows and it was Pollyanna’s duty to shut them. Pollyanna was still very enthusiastic even in her room. Miss Polly examined her wardrobe. Her aunt wanted to send her to school, where Mr Hall would be the principal. Pollyanna was good in reading but not in music. Now, Polly wanted to make her read to her, learn cooking and sewing and music. Polly didn’t want her to be ungrateful. She wanted to remove all of Pollyanna’s clothing too. To the girl, existence loomed ahead of duty.

I’d be BREATHING all the time I was doing those things (cooking, music), Aunt Polly, but I wouldn’t be living. You breathe all the time you’re asleep, but you aren’t living. I mean living – doing the things you want to do… – Pollyanna

They went shopping for her new clothes. Pollyanna got to chat with Old Tom and Nancy. Old Tom said good stuff about her mother. She wanted to sleep outdoors. She slept on the tin roof at night. The screens hadn’t arrived yet and she could still see the stars. Polly detected someone on the sunroof. Timothy was the first to locate her. Aunt Polly offered her bed to Pollyanna and she was delighted. Once again, the punishment was treated as merit. This left Polly helpless.

You see, lots of times; you get so used to looking for something to be glad about. And most generally there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it. – Pollyanna

2 to 6pm was Pollyanna’s free time. Although she did not get to visit other kids, she didn’t mind. She loved people. She often met the Man. The man didn’t like how enthusiastic she was but finally spoke to her. He didn’t reveal his name yet. Pollyanna was tasked to deliver food to a weird lady as an errand. She was Mrs’ Snow. Nancy admitted she hated running that errand. After delivering jelly, Mrs Snow wanted lamb broth. The woman sat erect in her chair. Pollyanna complimented Mrs Snow that she was pretty. She fixed her hair before giving her a mirror to see it for herself. The curl would go away but she can come again the next day to do it for Mrs Snow again. Mrs Snow finally released the curtains in her room to let some light in. She also wanted to wear a night dress now.

Pollyanna met the man on the street again. The man ignored her and was angry. He had other things to think about other than the weather. He asked her why didn’t she had other friends to talk to. She liked the old folks as well. The man strolled on. The next day, the man greeted her with a smile and complimented the sunshine. The man was John Pendleton and he lived in a big house himself. John inherited wealth from his father. However, John was thrifty and didn’t spend much of them. John also goes on spiritual trips and writes books. Pollyanna was glad that he was speaking to her now.

Pollyanna went to visit Mrs Snow again. She wanted her yesterday though. Pollyanna was her usual cheerful self. The woman brought her something. She no longer had many wants. However, she did wish for something. She wanted chicken. Mrs Snow was in a bad mood as she couldn’t sleep well in the day. She tried to move about in bed to keep herself active. Mrs White was deaf. It is always possible to play the game and aim to be glad at every moment. Sometimes, Pollyanna would have difficulty to think about what to be happy about. It’s more fun when it is hard. Polly wanted Pollyanna back home. Polly wanted both profit and happiness. To her, being glad wasn’t profitable. Pollyanna loved company. Pollyanna dreamt of carpets and rugs. Now, Polly allowed her to sleep in the room downstairs. The girl proclaimed that Polly wasn’t glad over anything.

It was August. Pollyanna brought a stray cat home. Her aunt was displeased by that fact. Pollyanna could empathize with the cat and thought it was lonely. The next day, she brought back a dog. In a week, Pollyanna brought back a small ragged boy. The boy was by the roadside when she found him. His name was Jimmy Bean and appeared apprehensive at the beginning. He left the Orphan’s room because he didn’t like it there. Fluffy and Buffy were the names of the cats and dogs. Once again, the aunt was in utter shock. Her nerves snapped. Pollyanna went to her room now. The boy was upset that he couldn’t stay there. The boy kept emphasizing that he was not a beggar. Pollyanna would present his case in front of the Ladies’ Aid. The boy was willing to put in a hard shift and work if necessary. Polly felt a little desolate after rejecting the boy.

Pollyanna was having a difficult time at the Ladies’ Aid meeting. Her aunt was not there. She told her story and was subject to questioning. No one agreed to take him. However, they considered channeling funds to his education instead.

She visited the woods after the chapel speech and wanted to relax for abit. It was delightful. Nature was beautiful. Mr John’s dog was there. The dog was acting strange. He was whining and dashing wildly and there was a man lying motionless at the foot of a steep. Mr Pendleton was not dead, he was just enjoying the sunshine. He directed her to a phone in his phone and she was to call Dr. Thomas Chilton. In actual fact, John had a broken leg. The house was massive. She went to accompany John after calling the doctor. A man with a stretcher came to pick John up.

Pollyanna was late when she got home. Her aunt wasn’t home though. Her cousin passed away suddenly and she would be away for 3 days. It wasn’t right to play the game during funerals. Pollyanna would write to the Ladies’ Aid and try to persuade the others to accept Jimmy. Pollyanna wanted Mrs Snow’s to be under someone else’s care now. Now, she wanted to take jelly to John instead of Mrs Snow for once. Her logic was that Mrs Snow will get her jelly the next day and so on. Polly wasn’t agreeable to this as she didn’t like John as a person. Now, she relented but Pollyanna was not to say how she was affiliated to Polly.

Pollyanna visited John again at his house with the calf-foot jelly. The doctor risked it by letting a visitor in. The nurse was impressed by Pollyanna. Dr Chilton imagined a world with more Pollyannas. John scowled and appeared unhappy when he saw Pollyanna. He won’t have the broken leg till doomsday, unlike Mrs Snow. He was pissed by how his maid cleaned the place. She revealed that she knew about his saving habits from Nancy and Aunt Polly. John was shocked on learning that Pollyanna lived with Polly. His face was ashen. The doctor wanted to send Pollyanna home. She didn’t think people didn’t need to learn how to live. She thought being a doctor was one of the gladdest professions out there. He thanked her for her advice and that tonic. Her aunt Polly was unhappy when Pollyanna mentioned to John that she didn’t send the jelly over.

I like to do almost everything that’s LIVING. Of course I don’t like the other things very well – sewing, and reading out loud, and all that. But THEY aren’t LIVING. Aunt Polly says they’re “learning to live”. – Pollyanna

Aunt Polly had black curls and her niece thought they looked lovely. A feeling of helplessness swept past Polly. She wanted to comb her hair now. Pollyanna kept complimenting Polly on her nice hair. She commented that she knew what she was doing. Polly’s cheeks were a pretty pink and her eye sparkled upon seeing how she looked. She placed a lace shawl over now. Polly was upset over how she looked. The doctor wanted Pollyanna to visit John today. Pollyanna was now finding it difficult to understand why Polly didn’t like her new look. That thought bothered her for a while.

John greeted her with a smile. He wanted to express his gratitude at what she had done for him. She had to retrieve a box full of his treasures and memories. He wanted her to visit more often from today onwards. Pollyanna recounted her stories to Nancy. Nancy was surprised at how she could get so close to someone who was usually very angry and quiet. Initially, Pollyanna reminded John of something he tried hard to forget. It turns out that they had a bit of history. John was Polly’s lover as it turned out. However, there was a quarrel that made them drift apart. In real life, Polly and John were actually all very downcast and bitter people. Nancy thought it would be good if they could reconcile their differences.

Pollyanna didn’t think John changed much when she visited. She wanted to bring happiness into their lives. Polly often liked to change topics of conversation and it was difficult to please her. She noticed a manufactured rainbow in John’s room now. With the help of prisms, John created a rainbow in the house. John didn’t know about the game and Pollyanna told him about it now.

Perhaps; but I’m thinking that the very finest prism of them all is yourself, Pollyanna. – John Pendleton

Pollyanna entered school in September. Going to school was living. She made new friends, but never forgot the old ones. John missed her and was a little displeased that Pollyanna was visiting less frequently. He wanted Pollyanna to play the game for him. But it doesn’t work that way. He wanted Pollyanna to stay with him and bring Polly along too. It turns out that he was still longing for her. John was taken aback with Pollyanna suddenly. He was not prepared to let Polly stay with him.

Dr Chilton wanted to speak to Pollyanna. John wanted to see her too. The doctor didn’t know that John and Polly were lovers. John wanted to make up for the quarrel. Now during the meeting, John denied that he ever liked Polly. He actually wanted Pollyanna’s mum. However, she didn’t love him back and eventually went together with your father. Since he couldn’t get her, he wanted Pollyanna to stay with him now. Pollyanna was shocked. He needed her to play the glad game. Although Polly was good to her, it might not mean that she wanted her at home. Polly was the dutiful kind of woman.

Pollyanna headed back to her house. Her aunt was worried about her. Nancy admitted that Polly did indeed care for her and was not so dutiful anymore. Nancy mentioned that Polly would definitely miss her if she wasn’t around. Polly had changed subtly over the period she was around. Pollyanna made up her mind and had to tell John. She didn’t even consult Polly when making that decision. John was upset with her decision. Pollyanna suggested that John take care of another child, Jimmy. He had the child’s presence. John immediately refused the offer. He had a skeleton in his closet and was embarrassed by it. Now, he was willing to listen to Pollyanna on the little boy. Pollyanna wanted him to have a home to live in.

Rev. Paul Ford visited John. A few women of the Ladies’ Aid quit due to gossip and a scandal. He wanted to pray and meditate. The church workers didn’t want to work and he had to do something about it. He rehearsed his sermon for next Sunday. Pollyanna saw him weeping by the tree. Pollyanna’s dad was a minister too. She asked whether Paul liked being a minister. Her dad, most of the time, liked being a minister. He liked those rejoicing texts more than anything else. There were 800 texts on rejoice. Her dad used to play the game too. Rev Paul read a beautiful passage and was inspired by it.

People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbours will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes – his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest! When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good – you will get that! – Reverent Paul

Pollyanna visited Dr Chilton’s office. It takes a woman’s hand and heart to make a home. She wanted him to take Jimmy Bean. He was not willing to share about his love life any further. Late, Pollyanna was involved in an accident and was unconscious. Aunt Polly and Nancy were by her side after the incident. There was a cut on Pollyanna’s head. A nurse would also tend to Pollyanna. Ms Hunt introduced herself. Pollyanna couldn’t get up just yet and she already wanted to go to school. She took her medicine.

A week later, Pollyanna was back to full consciousness. She was glad that she could walk again. She was also grateful for the warm care that Aunt Polly gave her. Her eyes were full of tears now. John Pendleton was in the parlor with Polly now. Polly described Pollyanna’s injuries to John. There might be paralysis from the hip down after the accident. John admitted to Polly that he wanted her niece to live with him. He wanted to adopt her legally. Polly thought about it silently. Polly didn’t agree but promised to update John about her situation once she was better.

Polly wanted her niece to see a specialist in New York. For some reason, she didn’t want Dr Chilton to be on the case. It was rumoured that Polly liked Dr Chilton. The doctor from NY was ill and did not arrive. It was a waiting game. Polly changed her dress sense and didn’t look that old anymore. Old Tom didn’t want to reveal who was Polly’s lover. Now, Tom and Nancy were chatting. Polly was growing old and pale too. Pollyanna still couldn’t get out of bed. Nancy was upset for Pollyanna’s situation.

Dr Mead, the specialist from NY, finally visited. He knew more about broken legs than Dr Chilton. Only time will tell. Pollyanna heard from the other door that the doctor was explaining that she would never walk again. Aunt Polly fainted. Pollyanna cried out loud and was feeling down. The nurse tried to reassure her that everything was okay. The nurse thought that the doctor made a mistake.

Nancy conveyed the news to John. Poor little girl. It was his little prism girl. Pollyanna couldn’t seem to be glad anymore and it was sad. John covered his hands over his eyes. The town was stirred by Pollyanna’s accident. It all seemed too cruel and unfair. There were many visitors that came to visit her. John came to visit Polly and Pollyanna. John told Polly that he agreed to take Jimmy and adopt him. He turned around and left. Pollyanna’s face lit up on hearing the news. Polly seemed very disturbed when her niece admitted that Dr Chilton wanted a woman and a child.

Milly Snow came to visit as well. She wanted Polly to convey the fact that her niece was special. Mrs Snow was a more positive person after interacting with Pollyanna. Pollyanna should be glad that she got to touch Mrs Snow’s life. Even the saddest lady in town, Mrs Benton, wore a blue bow instead of a black dress. Mrs Tarell was also glad that Pollyanna influenced her life. Mrs Tom Payson came to visit as well. She lived on the rich Pendleton Hill but Pollyanna would still interact with her kids etc. Mrs Payson basically said similar things as the other women. Polly wanted Nancy to tell her what the game was about. It was a game that Pollyanna’s father taught her how to play. Nancy explained everything to her. Pollyanna asked Polly what a divorce was. Polly wanted to play the game with Pollyanna now. It turns how that the whole town was playing the game. Pollyanna was very pleased now.

Why, Aunt Polly, there is something I can be glad about, after all. I can be glad I’ve HAD my legs, anyway – else I couldn’t have done – that! – Pollyanna

Pollyanna learnt to knit wonderful things. There were always the love messages. Jimmy was doing fine, thanks to John’s care. John received a call from Chilton one day. Dr Chilton and Polly had an affair before, many years ago. He was desperate to see Pollyanna and there might be a chance he might walk again. He knew some special study that might give her a chance. Jim overheard their conversation and ran down the hill.

Jimmy visited Polly. Dr Chilton has some contacts which might be able to help Pollyanna. Reluctantly, Polly allowed Dr Chilton to visit. Dr Chilton finally visited. Polly and Chilton were finally reunited and eventually got married. Next week, Pollyanna would be brought to try a treatment recommended by Chilton’s friend.

Fast forward to the future. Pollyanna managed to walk 6 steps today.

I don’t think I shall ever want to ride anywhere anymore. It will be so good just to walk. Oh, I’m so glad! I’m glad for everything. Why, I’m glad now I lost my legs for a while, for you never, never know how perfectly lovely legs are till you haven’t got them. – Pollyanna



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