The story of the Little Engine That Could is very old. The oldest version that I could find is from The Expositor and Current Anecdotes, Volume XIII, Number 1 (1911).

Once upon a time a little freight car loaded with coal stood on the track in a coal-yard. The little freight car waited for an engine to pull it up the hill and over the hill and down the hill on the other side. Over the hill in the valley people needed the coal on the little freight car to keep them warm.

By and by a great big engine came along, the smokestack puffing smoke and the bell ringing, “Ding! Ding! Ding!”

“Oh, stop! Please stop, big engine!” said the little freight car. “Pull me up the hill and over the hill and down the hill, to the people in the valley on the other side.”

But the big engine said, “I can’t, I’m too busy.” And away it went—Choo! Choo! Choo! Choo!

The little freight car waited again a long time till a smaller engine came puffing by.

“Oh, stop! dear engine, please stop!” said the little freight car. But the engine puffed a big puff and said. “I can’t, you’re too heavy.” Then away it went, too—Choo! Choo! Choo!

“Oh, dear!” said the little freight car, “what shall I do? The people in the valley on the other side will be so cold without any coal.”

After a long time a little pony engine came along, puffing just as hard as a little engine could.

“Oh, stop! dear engine, please stop and take me up the hill and over the hill and down the hill, to the people on the other side,” said the patient little freight car.

The pony engine stopped right away and said, “You’re very heavy and I’m not very big, but I think I can. I’ll try. Hitch on!”

All the way up the hill the pony engine kept saying, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. I think I can!” quite fast at first.

Then the hill was steeper and the pony engine had to pull harder and go slower, but all the time it kept saying: “I think-I-can! I-think-I-can!” till it reached the very top with a long puff—“Sh-s-s-s-s!”

It was easy to go down the hill on the other side.

Away went the happy little pony engine saying very fast, “I thought I could! I thought I could! I thought I could! I thought I could.”

Don’t forget the lesson, boys and girls. Think you can. Never think you can’t.

NoCOUG is the little user group that could! As you might imagine, it requires a vast amount of work to organize a tech­nical conference and publish a printed journal every quarter. No sooner has a conference ended and a journal mailed than it is time to start work on the next conference and the next journal. NoCOUG has no funding from Oracle Corporation and a miniscule budget compared to the national and inter­national user groups, but the NoCOUG volunteers have always managed to pull it off, quarter after quarter for 30 long years. The upcoming conference on Thursday, November 17 at PayPal Town Hall in San Jose will be our 120th quarterly conference.

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