The Little Engine that Could, un cuento para niños, que pertenece al imaginario popular americano y que, en realidad, esconde la idiosincrasia de su propio pueblo. Sobre él se han hecho versiones, películas, canciones, etc. y hasta paseos en en tren ambientados en la historia. De autor desconocido, destaca sobre todo su ritmo y su sencillez, dos elementos clave de la literatura popular. Ahí se lo dejamos:
A little steam engine had a long train of cars to pull. She went along very well till she came to a steep hill. But then, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move the long train of cars. She pulled and she pulled. She puffed and she puffed. She backed and started off again. Choo! Choo!
But no! The cars would not go up the hill. At last she left the train and started up the track alone. Do you think she had stopped working? No, indeed! She was going for help.
-Surely I can find someone to help me -she thought.
Over the hill and up the track went the little steam engine. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo!
Pretty soon she saw a big steam engine standing on a side track. He looked very big and strong. Running alongside, she looked up and said:
-Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and heavy I can’t get it over.
The big steam engine looked down at the little steam engine. Then he said:
-Don’t you see that I am through my day’s work? I have been rubbed and scoured ready for my next run. No, I cannot help you.
The little steam engine was sorry, but she went on, Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!
Soon she came to a second big steam engine standing on a side track. He was puffing and puffing, as if he were tired.
-That big steam engine may help me”, thought the little steam engine. She ran alongside and asked: Will you help me bring my train of cars over the hill? It is so long and so heavy that I can’t get it over.
The second big steam engine answered:
-I have just come in from a long, long run. Don’t you see how tired I am? Can’t you get some other engine to help you this time?
-I’ll try, -said the little steam engine, and off she went. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!
After a while she came to a little steam engine just like herself. She ran alongside and said:
-Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and so heavy that I can’t get it over.
-Yes, indeed! -said this little steam engine-. I’ll be glad to help you, if I can.
So the little steam engines started back to where the train of cars had been standing. Both little steam engines went to the head of the train, one behind the other. Puff, puff! Chug, choo! Off they started!
Slowly the cars began to move. Slowly they climbed the steep hill. As they climbed, each little steam engine began to sing:
-I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I think I can – I think I can – I think I can I think I can-
And they did! Very soon they were over the hill and going down the other side.
Now they were on the plain again; and the little steam engine could pull her train herself. So she thanked the little engine who had come to help her, and said good-by.
And she went merrily on her way, singing:
-I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I thought i could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could I thought I could.