Monday, November 18, 2013
what we can give them
But there are some things we can give them. And one of these, of course, is the gift of books. I am severely biased and will tell anyone, anywhere, that nothing will prepare you for a life well lived more surely than being well-read.
I've been reading to Elias lately. The Sword in the Stone was a bit above him, and really a bit shambling in its prose no matter the age of the audience, but there were enough jousts and falcons to pull the thing off.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was a bit archaic in its language, but the core concept of a rascally boyhood won Elias over. I told him that Huckleberry Finn was an adult book and would have to wait until he was in high school.
We're on The Hobbit just now. And this one is perfect - Elias gets it. And it has opened my eyes again to the quality of J.R.R. Tolkein's storytelling. Not bad for an academic.
Two days ago we read the chapter where Bilbo and Gollum pose each other riddles. Do you remember this one?
Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.
Before I'd read half the next sentence Elias looked up at me and said, "Fish!"
I couldn't believe he'd gotten it. Though mind you, "fish!" is the answer to most questions for Elias these days.