children of America:
All too quickly did I pass through your country! It was like a dream which
flashed into my life, and was gone.
But not out of my mind, nor out of my heart! And I
remember your faces—your many eager, healthy, happy faces, so full of
life, of interest, of hope for all that is still to be.
I could speak to so few of you, I had no time to enter
your homes, nor to sit at your tables and listen to your talk. But for all
that, I have the happy feeling that we could have been friends.
But what could I do for all of you, when I was passing
by so swiftly, leaving nothing behind me but a memory which—all too
soon—will fade and be gone?
None of us like to be forgotten, and I am no exception
to this rule. So I began to wonder what I could do in order that you
should remember me. And so it was that I decided to write this story for
you—a simple story, with songs and verses in it, which I hope all of you
And because I am Queen of a far-away country which I
know will interest you—a country full of poetry and pictures, of old
customs and quaint habits handed down through long generations from father
to son, from mother to daughter—I have placed my story in Roumania and
among the peasants, for it is they who guard the past.
I have said that mine is a story in which "East and
West do meet," because I bring a small American girl—little
Nancy—with me over the seas. I hope that she will become your friend, as
she is mine.
May Nancy's wanderings from plain to mountain, from
mountain to sea, become a pleasant wandering to you also.
The songs and verses are my own, but they are inspired
by the songs of my country. They are not stately poetry, but they may give
you a better idea of the people of this poetical realm. So take them with
the rest, for what they are worth!
And you, child of America, in whose home this book has
found a place, remember that I have written it with warm love and with a
sincere desire that if East and West cannot really meet, they shall at
least become acquainted with each other, and grow to become
friends—brought closer together by the pen of one who knows how to love
and appreciate both.
Therefore, with all of my best wishes, with my
blessings also, I send this little book to you. Receive it kindly, and let
it keep the memory of my friendship always fresh in your heart.