"You see", said the stick, "they were as pretty little children once as you could wish to see, and might have been so still if they had been only left to grow up like human beings and then handed over to me. But their foolish fathers and mothers instead of letting them pick flowers and make dirt pies and get birds nests and dance around the gooseberry bush, as little children should. Kept them always at lessons working, working, working.
Learning weekday lessons all weekdays.
And Sunday lessons all Sunday.
And weekday examinations every Saturday.
And monthly examinations every month.
And yearly examinations every year.
Everything seven times over, as if once was not enough and enough as good as a feast. Till their brains grew big and their bodies grew small and they were all changed into turnips with little but water inside and still their foolish parents actually picked the leaves off them as fast as they grow, lest they should have anything green about them."
Charles Kingsley (The Water Babies)