Benjamin's Other Side
Got it!
Capturing the Lightning
Page 1

When I was growing up in Singapore, my grandfather read me Chinese stories of adventurers journeying to the west. He told me stories about the Monkey King, a beloved fictional character in Chinese literature.

As I listened to all these wonderful tales as a child I had trouble discerning the mythical fairy tales from adventurous realities.

Occasionally my grandfather would tell me stories of famous people and the feats they accomplished on the other side of the world, away from Singapore. One such person he talked about was Ben Franklin , a myth in his own proportions.

I've since learned a lot about Franklin, who celebrated his 300th birthday on January 17, 2006. We all know that he helped write the Declaration of Independence and was one of the signers, but do you know that he was also...

Silence Dogood

'Oh I'm a little widow...ta ta ta...'
Capturing the Lightning
Page 2

When Franklin was 15, his brother started a newspaper that printed opinion articles, advertisements and news of ship schedules. Young Franklin, an avid writer, wanted to contribute to the newspaper too, but he knew his brother would never allow it.

To get around this problem Franklin wrote articles under the pseudonym Silence Dogood, a fictional widow. Every night he would slide an article underneath the print shop door, to be printed in the morning.

The articles addressed important world issues, especially concerning the treatment of women. The public, especially women, loved them!

His talent with words was further revealed when he published Poor Richard's Almanac, a book of commonsense philosophy, which was filled with universally recognized truths called maxims.

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