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In Channing’s biography of Thoreau, Channing relayed some stories of Thoreau’s early years told by his mother, which describe him as an adventurous young boy often plagued by injury and a chronic health condition: “At Chelmsford he was tossed by a cow, and again, by getting at an axe without advice, he cut off a good part of one of his toes; and he once fell from a stair.After this last achievement, as after some others, he had a singular suspension of breath, with a purple hue in his face, – owing, I think, to his slow circulation (shown in his slow pulse through life) and hence the difficulty of recovering his breath.
He stood aside and watched when the others played games.
Even when the townsfolk turned out for street parades and the rollicking music of bands, he would stay home.
Henry David Thoreau was a writer from Concord, Massachusetts who was a part of the transcendentalist movement in the 19th century.
He is most famous for his book Walden which is about his two-year experience of living in a cabin at Walden Pond in Concord.
With her love of nature, she tried to open her children to its delight.
Growing up in the countryside, Henry would have come to know every bug, bird, berry, and beast, every fruit and flower.”“I have heard many stories related by his mother about these early years; she enjoyed not only the usual feminine quantity of speech, but thereto added the lavishness of age.
Would they had been better told, or better remembered!
For my memory is as poor as was her talk perennial.
He was always a thoughtful, serious boy, in advance of his years, – wishing to have and do things his own way, and ever fond of wood and field; honest, pure, and good; a treasure to his parents, and a fine example for less happily constituted younglings to follow. Samuel Hoar gave him the title of ‘the judge’ from his gravity, and the boys at the town school used to assemble about him as he sat on the fence, to hear his account of things.” Thoreau had a knack for mechanics and construction.
According to Channing, when sudden rain storms would threaten his walks in the woods, Thoreau could build a makeshift shelter in a matter of minutes with nothing more than a knife.