This section is from the "The New Student's Reference Work Volume 5: How And Why Stories" by Elinor Atkinson.
That is what a little blue-eyed girl asked her mama, when told that she shouldn't cry so much. She had the perfectly right idea that there must be some good reason for tears since she had so many of them and right "on tap" all the time.
"Why," said her mama, "tears are to wash your blue eyes with, of course. Eyes are little windows of the soul. In this dusty world windows become dim. Unless they are washed often we cannot see through them very well. Every time you wink, two tears come and bathe the eye-balls. What a lot of washings. And how bright and clear your eyes are, like the blue sky after a shower."
Back of the upper, outer corner of each eye is a tear bottle or bag, about as big as an almond nut. In some strange way this gland makes tears, stores them, and lets them out through several little hair-like tubes. The winking of the upper eye-lid spreads the water over the eye-ball. The tears flow away through little canals, that open from the lower inner corners of the eye into the nose. Most of the time just enough tears come to keep the eye-balls, the lining of the eye-lids and of the nose clean and moist. But several things will make the tears come with a rush. A bad cold, a big cinder in the eye, or a very little hurt or trouble anywhere on the body, or in the mind or heart, sometimes, will make the tears gush out. Just why one should feel like crying when hurt, or in trouble, no one knows. The writer has noticed that certain feelings of pain or grief make the eye-balls burn. Very likely tears flow to relieve this burning sensation, since tears are meant to protect the eyes from injury. But if one weeps too often, or too long at a time, the tears themselves are harmful. The salt m the tears inflames the eye-balls, lids and nose and makes them red and swollen. Many children cry too easily over trifling hurts and troubles. That isn't using tears; it's mis-using them.