The two stories were so much alike in thought and language that it was evident Miss Canby's story had been read to me, and that mine was--a plagiarism.
Something I said made her think she detected in my words a confession that I did remember Miss Canby's story of "The Frost Fairies," and she laid her conclusions before Mr. Anagnos, although I had told her most emphatically that she was mistaken.
With the assistance of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, she investigated the matter carefully, and at last it came out that Mrs. Sophia C. Hopkins had a copy of Miss Canby's "Birdie and His Friends" in 1888, the year that we spent the summer with her at Brewster.
But the fact remains that Miss Canby's story was read to me once, and that long after I had forgotten it, it came back to me so naturally that I never suspected that it was the child of another mind.
I represent my teacher as saying to me of the golden autumn leaves, "Yes, they are beautiful enough to comfort us for the flight of summer"--an idea direct from Miss Canby's story.
Four of them, he says, thought I knew that Miss Canby's story had been read to me, and the others did not hold this view.
The passages quoted from the two stories were so much alike in thought and expression as to convince me that Miss Canby's story must at some time have been read to Helen.
I give below a portion of Miss Canby's story, "The Rose Fairies," and also Helen's letter to Mr. Anagnos containing her "dream," so that the likenesses and differences may be studied by those interested in the subject:
Now Helen, in her letter of February, 1890 (quoted above), alludes to this story of Miss Canby's as a dream "WHICH I HAD A LONG TIME AGO WHEN I WAS A VERY LITTLE CHILD."
Soon after its appearance in print I was pained to learn, through the Goodson Gazette, that a portion of the story (eight or nine passages) is either a reproduction or adaptation of Miss Margaret Canby's "Frost Fairies."
None of our teachers or officers who are accustomed to converse with Helen ever knew or heard about Miss Canby's book, nor did the child's parents and relatives at home have any knowledge of it.
I have scarcely any doubt that Miss Canby's little book was read to Helen, by Mrs. Hopkins, in the summer of 1888.
The style of her version is in some respects even better than the style of Miss Canby's story.