Everyone has heard of the “Braille” system of reading for the blind. But Few people know why it is called the “Braille” system or who was Louise Braille?
In the year 1812 louise Braille was a very small boy. He lived in a small town in France. Louis’ father had a small shop in wich he made things of leather. One day Louise was palying in his father’s shop and picked a small tool with a very sharp point. Louse fell, the point of the tool entered his eye, and later he become blind in both eyes. Although he was then only seven or eight years old Louise had to walk with a cane in order to feel where he was going. The people of the town felt very sorry when they saw this small boy, completely blind, feeling his way along the streets with his cane in order to find his direction.
A few years later Louis went to a special school for the blind in Paris. There he learned to read; that is, he learned to recognize the twenty six letters of the alphabet by feeling them with his fingers. But the letters ware severeal inchis high and several inches wide. Tis was naturally a very primitive system of reading. A very short article filled several books and each book weighed eight or nine pounds.
Later louis become a teacher in this same school. He wanted very much to find a better system of reading for the blind, but it was not easy. One day, on a visit home, he said to his father:’ Blind people are the most lonely people in the world. I can tell one bird from another by its sound. I can know the door of the house by felling it with my hand. But there are so many things which I cannot hear and cannot feel. Only books can free the blind. But there are no books for us to read.” Then one day Louis was sitting in restaurant with a friend. The friend was reading the newspaper to Louis. The friend read an article about a French army captain who had a system of writing wich he could ise in the dark. He called it “night writing”,. In this “night wriring” the army captain used a system of dots and dashes. Hte dots and dashes were raised on the paper so that a person could feel them with his fingers. When louise heard about it he become very excited. He becan to talk laudly and cry.
“Please, Lousie,”said his friend.” What is the metter? Everyone is looking at you.”
“Al last I have found the asnwer to the problem of the blind,” said Louise. “Noe blind can be free.”
The next day louise with a friend to see the army captain. Louis asked the army captain about his system. The army captain said that he used a tool with a sharp poit to make holes(dots) and small dashes in thick paper. A person could feel these dots and dashes on the other side of te paper. Certain marks meant one thing. Ther mark meant another thing. The tool which the army captain used, incidentally, was the same kind of tool which Louis had played with years before when one day he fell and the sharp point entered hus eye.
I am sure that we can use this system.” Said Louis,” to help blind people to read and to give them books.”
It was a wonderful day for Louis. Later he began to study this new system for use with the blind. He studied different ways of making dots and dashes on paper. At last he arrived at a simmple system in wich he used six holes within a small space. With this six holes in different positions within this space he could make 63 different combinations. Each combination indicated a letter of the alphabet or a short word. There were even combinations to indicate marks of pucntuation, etc. Soon Louis wrote a book using the “Braille” system.
At first people did not believe that this system of Louis Braille was possible or practical. One time Louise spoke before a group of people. He showd how he could write by making these holes in paper almost as fast as someone could read to him. Hen he read back easily what he had written. But the people did not believe Louis. Tehy said that it was impossible to do this. They said that Louis had learned by memory what he had read to them.
Everywhere it was the same thing. People did not believe Loise. In some cases, for one reason or another, they did not want to believe him. Even the French goverment did not want to hear anything about Louise’ system. They said that they were already doing everything possible for the blind.
Louis continued to work with his system. He was now very sick man, and each year he become sicker. But he worked and worked with his system to make it better. He worked out a system of marks for mathematics and also for music. One day a girl who had been blind since she was born played the piano very beautifully before a large audience. Everyone in the audience was very pleased. Then the girl got up and said that the people should not thank to her for playing so well. They should thank to Louise braille. It was Louis Braille, she said,who had made it possible for hter to learn music and to play piano. She also told them that Louse Braille was a very sick man. She said he was dying.
Suddenly, after so many years, everyone then become interested in Louise Braille. The newspapers worte articles about him. The goverment also became interested in his system if reading for the blind. Some of Louis’ friends went to his home to see him. He was sick in bed. They told him what had happened. Louis began to cry. He said:” This is the third time in m life that I have cried. First, when I become blind. Second, When I heard about “night writing” and now because I know that my life has not been a failure.” A few days leter Lousise Braille died”. He was only 43 years old when he died.