Thinking One Can

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Thinking One Can  (1906) 
by Unknown
This is an early version of the story that became known as The Little Engine That Could, published in Wellspring for Young People.
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A little railroad engine was employed about a station yard for such work as it was built for, pulling a few cars on and off the switches. One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill. "I can't; that is too much a pull for me," said the the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. At last in desperation the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side. "I think I can," puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As is went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." Then as it near the top of the grade, that had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly, but still kept saying, "I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can." It reached the top by dint of brave effort and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself, "I thought I could, I thought I could."

To think of hard things and say, "I can't" is sure to mean "Nothing done." To refuse to be daunted and insist on saying, "I think I can," is to make sure of being able to say triumphantly by and by, "I thought I could, I thought I could."

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).