This letter was written by Willie White to Anne Shirley while she was the Avonlea schoolteacher. As a writing assignment for her fourth class, she told them to write a letter to her on any subject they liked, address it, and send it, all without any parental supervision. As Anne says in her own words:
"Last week I told the fourth class I wanted them to write me letters about anything they pleased, adding by way of suggestion that they might tell me of some place they had visited or some interesting thing or person they had seen. They were to write the letters on real note paper, seal them in an envelope, and address them to me, all without any assistance from other people. Last Friday morning I found a pile of letters on my desk and that evening I realized afresh that teaching has its pleasures as well as its pains. Those compositions would atone for much."
- An extract from Anne Shirley's letter to Stella Maynard
I want to tell you about my Very Brave Aunt. She lives in Ontario and one day she went out to the barn and saw a dog in the yard. The dog had no business there so she got a stick and whacked him hard and drove him into the barn and shut him up. Pretty soon a man came looking for an inaginary lion' (Query; -- Did Willie mean a menagerie lion?) `that had run away from a circus. And it turned out that the dog was a lion and my Very Brave Aunt had druv him into the barn with a stick. It was a wonder she was not et up but she was very brave. Emerson Gillis says if she thought it was a dog she wasn't any braver than if it really was a dog. But Emerson is jealous because he hasn't got a Brave Aunt himself, nothing but uncles.
After Willie wrote "pretty soon a man came looking for an imaginary lion", Anne inserts, "(Query; -- Did Willie mean a menagerie lion?)".