Summary 2010

One of the best authors of books for children (of any age) is Владислав Петрович Крапивин. I re-read his books regularly, when I feel the need to reinforce my understanding of what a proper and true friendship and relationship is. His works are translated in many languages, so go grab and read them.

I’ve chosen the epilogue of his novel Лоцман to represent my overall feeling of what the year 2010 was to me. The main character of this novel is a well-known aged writer for children being on a, may be his last, journey. The epilogue consists of an apocryphal work about the childhood of Jesus, written by that author.

Please pay attention and forgive me that this is a unauthorized unofficial translation, which I’ve made myself. And so it goes:

There is no worse torture than making the ones who love you to worry in absence of any news.

…”Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I sought thee sorrowing” (Luke 2:48) — through ages and ages this Mother’s cry is being heard. It contains the bitter taste of criticism, but also the great relief, because her Child is here, He has been found, alive and healthy… Indeed, His parents have been searching for Him for three days, after they hadn’t found Him among the people who went back home from a festival.

The Boy had responded that His parents didn’t have to search in the first place. They could understand right away that He is there where He has to be — in the house of his Heavenly Father.

It is believed that this was a presentiment and understanding of his predestination. May be, it was also a try to cover behind boyish stubborness embarrasment and being guilty towards the Mum?

It happened in the Spring during Pesach festival, when the great old wise Gillel, his rival Shammai, and also other well-known teachers and priests marveled in the Jerusalem Church at questions of The Boy and at his statement that if the Universe is infinite, then also the Good must be infinite; and they have involved Him in a multi-hour discussion… And then, He went back home together with His parents, and soon, Summer has arrived. And The Boy, besides going to the school to His teacher Zakhei and helping His father the carpenter, has found time for hanging out with His friends. He was only eleven, not a big age!..

…It was already evening when The Boy was sitting on a flat roof and wound off the thread of a kite on a chip. The kite was made of a bull’s bladder, thin like a foil. A neighbour girl and her small brother everbody has called Kid climbed to Him and sat down together with Him. The girl asked sympathetic:
 — Did your father scold you?
 — Scold? — wondered The Boy. — What for?
 — Haven’t your neighbours complained that you were playing in Caesar?
 — Ah! — The Boy has light-heartedly shaken his hair.
Indeed, they played this game yesterday. On a road side, in the near of a bridge across a creek, boys have made a stone throne, assigned some of them being guards, have made spears like Roma lictors have, and elected The Boy to be the Caesar. They have made Him to sit down on the throne and put a wreath on His head. Then, the boys stood on the bridge and was laughing and saying to all passerbys, “Bow to the Caesar, or else we won’t pass you”. The adults, those who was simple and cheery, enjoyed the game; but others were unhappy.
 — Yeah, they have complained, — remembered The Boy. — So what. And I didn’t want to be a Ceasar at all, I said “Let’s elect him”, — he pointed to Kid. But everbody kept saying “No, you must, you must”.
 — It is because you’re the most clever, — sighed the girl.
 — Why do you think so, — said The Boy with displeasure. Such discussions, He didn’t like them.
 — Of course you are! Who else would answer to the teacher Zakhei, when he was reproaching you on the bridge?
The grey-haired and peevish teacher was indeed saying shaking his crook:
 — Come to your senses! It is wrong when boys, even as a joke, putting the caesar’s wretch on their heads!
 And then, The Boy has said that boys are not worse than caesars. At least, their hands are not in blood. And Zakhei has frowned upon that, and then hurried up to His father complaining about his Son conducting revolting and adult talks…
 — Zakhei is since long time angry with me, — said The Boy to the girl and Kid. — Ever since we had a discussion about the greek letter alpha… And recently, he was angry again, because I’ve picked up a piece of an old scroll in the school’s trash and made a kite out of it. He was crying that I don’t value the wisdom of written word. But it was a tattered scroll thrown away. Besides, it has contained no single word of truth, and it made a good kite…
 — Is that true what you were saying to the big boys that one can make a big kite and fly with it? — asked the girl.
 — It is even possible to fly without a kite… — began The Boy, but suddenly stopped and listened carefully. Then He stood up. — Mum is calling me. I’ll better go. She is always so worrying when I’m absent for too long… — And He has jumped from the roof…

… In that evening, The Boy went to bed early, and therefore was awake also early…
He liked to sleep on fresh shavings remained after his father’s work. He gathered them in a corner, the Mother put a piece of cloth on them, and He rolled up on such a bed, breathing in the smell of freshly cut wood. But, of course, the bedsheet soon shifted, and He was lying directly on the elastic shavings. In the mornings He was laughing and jumping to toss the shavings from his wide shirt — the only clothes He had for day and night. Shavings also got stuck in His hair. Sometimes, Mum placed Him before Her and sighing picked the yellow woody rings and bands out of His dense locks. And then she gave Him a hug. But, as The Boy grew, He began to feel embarrased by this sign of endearment and flew away, even though His conscience bothered Him because of doing this…

…Now He was sitting on a flat clay roof, picking shavings from His hair, and considering how to fix a kite broken by the wind. Well, of course He knew how to fix it, but He was not up for it. It was so good just to sit on a roof already warmed up by the sun, and to look around. Nazareth, usually color-less and burnt by the sun, appeared now to be a comfortable and even beautiful town. The hills were not grey any more, but lighting green, and the sky above the head was deep blue. Roosters were crying…

The small Kid has come again, climbed to the roof, sat down not near to Him, and hesitantly said:
 — Hi…
 — Hi, — responded The Boy. — You can sit nearer to me. Why are you always afraid of something?
 — Big boys send me often away, — confessed Kid, musingly dangling with his brown legs. In his voice there was no injury, just a simple explanation of a fact. — Sometimes they allow me to play, but not too often. More often they send me away…
 — I never send away the small ones, — said The Boy.
 — Yes, I know, — acknowledged Kid. — But others are not like you. And I’m used to be afraid.
 — Don’t be afraid. And come nearer…
Kid moved up and looked with his brown eyes, both hesitantly and trustingly.
 — May I ask?
 — Ask.
 — You have told boys yesterday that people will learn everything… Everything in the world, yes?
 — Yes! — The Boy has liven up. — I tell you the truth, not so many years will pass, and people will discover fascinating secrets about how the whole Universe is made…
 — And they will know, what the sun is made of, and why leaves grow on the trees, and feathers grow on birds, and what is behind the end of the Earth?..
 — I tell you the truth, they will know that. It is not so hard to discover that, you only need some time… Other things are much more harder, Kid.
 — What things?
 — Well, for example, how to make that big boys will not send small ones away… And that adults not hurt children, and that nobody lies to each other. And that everbody love each other and be good… Thousands of years will be needed to achieve that…
 — Oh really? — said Kid. He was a brave small boy, and being good didn’t appeared complicated to him. Various wonders do…
 — You have also told that people will learn how to fly…
 — Yes I have. — said The Boy and listened quietly. It seemed that His Mum was calling him.
Kid became also quiet, touched The Boy with a shoulder and asked almost whispering:
 — And when it will happen? To fly…
 — People will learn it eventually… — musingly responded The Boy, listened again and then sighed: — But there is one thing they will never learn…
 — What thing?
 — People will never learn how to make their Mums not to worry, when they are flying…

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