Story of the Engine that Thought It Could

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Story of the Engine that Thought It Could  (1906) 
by Rev. Charles S. Wing
This is an early version of the story that became known as The Little Engine That Could, published 8 April 1906 in the New York Tribune
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In a certain railroad yard there stood an extremely heavy train that had to be drawn up an 
unusually heavy grade before it could reach its
 destination. The superintendent of the yard was 
not sure what it was best for him to do, so he
 went up to a large, strong engine and asked:
 "Can you pull that train over the hill?"


"It is a very heavy train," responded the engine.


He then went to another great engine and 
asked:
 "Can you pull that train over the hill?"


"It is a very heavy grade," it replied.


The superintendent was much puzzled, but he 
turned to still another engine that was spick
 and span new, and he asked it:
 "Can you pull that train over the hill?"


"I think I can," responded the engine.


So the order was circulated, and the engine
 was started back so that it might be coupled
 with the train, and as it went along the rails it
 kept repeating to itself: "I think I can. I think
 I can. I think I can."


The coupling was made and the engine began
 its journey, and all along the level, as it rolled 
toward the ascent, it kept repeating to itself:
 "I ---think ---I can. I ---think ---I--- can. I ---think--- I ---can."


Then it reached the grade, but its voice could still be heard: "I think I can. I----- think-----I-----can. 
I -----think----- I----- can." 
Higher and higher it climbed, and its voice
grew fainter and its words came slower: 
"I -------think --------I-------can."


It was almost to the top.


“I ---------think"


It was at the top.


"I ---------can."


It passed over the top of the hill and began 
crawling down the opposite slope.


'I ------think------- I------ can------I----- thought------I-------could I----- thought----- I----- could. I thought I could. I thought I could.
 I thought I could."


And singing its triumph, it rushed on down 
toward the valley.

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).