What is history?
History is the
story of the lives of nations.
History tells about war and peace.
It tells of rules who, in time of peace, made wise laws,
and made the nation rich. It tells of rulers who were great
conquerors. You learn history at school.
How do you learn
You answer, "My teacher teaches
"Where did your teacher learn the history which
This seems to you a foolish question. "Why!" you answer,
"of course he learnt the history from history book."
I will ask another foolish question
"Where did the answer of the
history-book learn history?"
A history-book contains a number of facts.
From where did these facts come?
How do you know the facts are true?
Was the first history book true?
The first history-book wasn't a book.
People write letters;
They tell what is happening to
themselves and to the other people around them. They say, "There was a
very fine show because the new king was crowned." Then they tell
all about the show, and the people who were there. A history writer finds
letters of people who lived hundreds of years ago, and he learns history in this
The history writer
sorts out the letters.
Some are quite unimportant letters
about family matters,
or matters of business. Some letters are very important; they tell about
important matters; they tell facts which
the history writer did not know before.
There is another
sort of history-book--records.
To record a thing is to write
it down so that it may be
remembered. When a prisoner is tried in a court of law,
everything said is recorded.
There are records of what was said for the prisoner, and
records of what was said against him. At the end of the
trial, the judge gives his judgement.The judgement is also recorded. Perhaps the man
is sent to prison.
Perhaps he is set
free. These records of trials in the law courts are kept very carefully. Writers
read these records of trials hundred of years later. Reading
the records of trials is one of the most important ways
of learning real history.
In very early
times there was no paper. Records were made by cutting letters upon stone. Kings
jewels, and pots of food beside the dead body. They sometimes put a little house
and servants made of stone or earth, like a child's plaything.
Many years later a
learned man comes and finds the place.
He finds the little house and the servants, and all the
other things put with the dead body. He is able to learn from these things just
how men lived hundreds or thousands, of year ago. He learns how their houses were built, how their
servants were dressed-how men lived hundreds, of year ago.