Monday, March 05, 2007

end of the story

"When the fiddle has stopped singing Laura called out softly, 'What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?'

'They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,' Pa said. 'Go to sleep, now.'

But Laura lay away a little while, listening to Pa's fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.

She thought to herself, 'This is now.'

She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago."

Isn't that just a beautiful ending? It really sums up the feeling I got from the book. It was a long time ago, but it was someone's now.

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out of the woods and on to the prairie

Tonight is the last chapter of Little House in the Big Woods and my son is very eager to begin Little House on the Prairie. I hope we'll enjoy it more than some members of the kidlitosphere have! Perhaps I should read ahead tonight to prepare myself for any unpleasant surprises.

Someone on the childlit list brought up the ugly caricatures of Africans in the Asterix books, which I had managed to forget about. Argh, it's always something, isn't it? But those books are absolutely non-negotiable, as far as I'm concerned. (Hockridge and Bell translations only, natch.) The wikipedia article linked to above has an interesting section on stereotypes of different nationalities in the books; apparently no one was left unscathed. I confess that the stereotyping of, say, Germans, does not concern me on the same level as depictions of Africans speaking like Amos and Andy. I think some of the later editions have cleaned that language up, and since we are talking humorous history rather than actual history here, that bothers me almost not at all.

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