"And you must tell the child the legends I told you--as my mother told them to me and her mother to her. You must tell the fairy tales of the old country. You must tell of those not of the earth who live forever in the hearts of people--fairies, elves, dwarfs, and such. Oh, and you must not forget the Kris Kringle. The child must believe in him until she reaches the age of six."
"Mother, I know there are no ghosts or fairies. I would be teaching the child foolish lies."
Mary spoke sharply. "You do not know whether there are not ghosts on earth or angels in heaven."
"I know there is no Santa Claus."
"Yet you must teach the child that these things are so."
"Why? When I, myself, do not believe?"
Because," explained Mary Rommely simply, "the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination."
-excerpt from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn