Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America.

Josh and Brent both like my lesson book.  Josh finds pleasure in the pictures and Brent enjoys the stories. My book is named “The American Spelling Book” and it was written by Noah Webster.  Today I am learning about words not exceeding three syllables, divided.

The wick-ed flee when no man pur-su-eth; but the right-e-ous are as bold as a li-on.

This was my story for today.

Of The Boy that Stole Apples

An old man found a rude boy upon one of his trees stealing apples, and desired him to come down; but the young saucebox told him plainly he would not.  Won’t you, said the old man, then I will fetch you down; so he pulled up some tufts of grass and threw at him; but this only made the youngest laugh, to think he should pretend to beat him out of the tree with grass only.

Well, well, said the old man, if neither grass nor words will do, I must try what virtue there is in stones: so the old man pelted him heartily with stones: which soon made the young chap hasten down from the tree and beg the old man’s pardon.      MORAL: If good words and gentle means will not reclaim the wicked, they must be dealt with in a more severe manner.

Josh said his mother would not let him ever throw stones at people in case the stone might harm someone’s eye.  Brent thought the old man was foolish to throw grass because it would not go very high.  I know only that I must learn the moral.

by Mary Beekman

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Victoria, I would be pleased to speak of the moral. There are

some that I do not understand in time for Sunday School.

Josh and Brent are a great help at times in my understanding.

But sometimes, they are not. I am pleased to meet you also.



Kenn, sometimes Josh's mother and Mother seem to agree

regarding child rearing (as Mother calls it) and sometimes

I fear they do not. Josh is a nice lad and I am glad he

is my friend.

Your friend, Mary.


Good Morning Phyllis, I like the birds also. I hope your granny

was able to enjoy her birds for a long time. Mother does not

have much time to notice but Josh said his Mother feeds the birds.

The birds eat by themselves here.


I suppose if I could be in the city tonight to meet you at the bookstore, Miss Mary, we could have a good talk about the moral.

It's lovely.

As are you. Delighted to meet you, and your imaginary friends, I am,


V. Thorne


The only time I saw my granny throw rocks at anybody was at a gang of boys who were throwing rocks at all the birds. That took care of it. I guess it is called instant karma.


There are always interesting lessons to learn, Mary. I believe Josh's Mom shared a valuable lesson. Best to deal with people in other means than with stones.