Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Last Saturday morning we took our daughters to the Christmas Family Day, which my employer organises annually around this time of the year. They rent a sports complex for this event and transform two hockey arenas into a winter wonderland, complete with Santa Claus waiting for the kiddies in his realm run by elves and fairies. Among the attractions are huge inflatable slides and other games, a little train, a carousel, clowns making balloon sculptures, a seasonal theatre play, popcorn and candyfloss (or cotton candy, if you prefer), and of course gifts for each child. Not too bad. Quite enjoyable, in fact, if only for the happiness in the children’s eyes.

The carousel is big and beautiful, with flowers painted on it and many lights. This year, when riding it, round, and round, and round, and round, I suddenly thought of Cornelia Funke’s “The Thief Lord”. I read the book a few years ago and thoroughly took pleasure in it. It’s a beautiful children’s book - 9 to 12 years old as the publisher says, but perfectly fit for me - moving and exciting, the story of two orphan brothers in Venice, running of an evil aunt who wants to separate them, and joining the street gang of this boy called The Thief Lord. I remembered the book because of the carousel. There is one in there that can do magical things.

”Magical things?” Riccio looked at Ida Spavento wide-eyed, just the way he looked at Hornet when she read to them…

Ida nodded. “Yes, very strange things. People said that a few turns on the merry-go-round of the Merciful Sisters made adults out of children and children out of adults.”

For a few moments there was complete silence. Then Mosca laughed out loud. “And how’s that supposed to work?”

Ida shrugged. “I wouldn’t know. I’m just telling you what I heard.”

Children want to grow up faster, adults dream of going back to the idealised bliss of younger ages. And I wonder, would you risk a ride in it? Would you know which way to spin it and when to jump off?


Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

The Christmas family fun day sounds like so much fun, makes me, unsurprisingly, wish I was a child again. You're so right with what you say about children wanting to grow up faster and adults wishing to return to childhood. We seldom really appreciate what we have until we no longer have it.

Funny, you know, I just couldn't get into the Thief Lord, I started it a few times and always put it away. I'm inclined to put it down to the fact that translated books just somehow lose something.

Mad Munkey said...

I'd jump off about 8 years ago. Of course we assume we keep the knowledge we have today and that is cheating. In reality, we'd be just as dumb as we were then and the result would probably be about the same.

Aine said...

I'd want to go forward to a time when everything makes sense and I feel successful and happy in my life, then stop the carousel. Just stay in that time for awhile.

Jeff said...

What a fun time for you and your children.
I'm not sure I would venture a ride on the magical carousel. Although to once again experience the wonder and magic of Christmas through a child's eyes would be very tempting. :)

strugglingwriter said...

Christmas Family Day sounds like great fun.

I would like to ride that go-back-in-time carousel once, only if I can bring the stuff I know now back with me. I would also tell my younger self to enjoy having meals made for me, laundry done for me, etc. by my parents, because that doesn't last forever.

(I guess I strayed a bit from what the magic carousel does, so let's just pretend I used a different one :) )


Taffiny said...

What a great day. I am glad they are still young enough to lose themselves in the wonder of it.

I don't know if I would risk it. I suppose I would if it was just for a few hours, or for a day, then I would return to now me. A refresher if you will. But not a re-starter.

I often try and bring her back, that part of me, fully alive in the me now, but then I am also always trying to protect her, and with that emphasis, of protecting, I stay the me I am now, and the girl only gets to peer occasionaly out of windows.

by the bye,
I do keep trying to do the random things post, but each thing is monster long, and feels more confessional of my faults than randomly interesting.

Ello said...

OK - I admit to being a HUGE Cornelia Funke fan and none of my kids read her... yet! I can't wait for them to start. I loved the Thief Lord even though my copy was a bit stilted in its translation. The later books of hers has had much better translations. Lovely concept,I would want to learn to use it so that it would only take a few years off - a few pounds of fat with the years, a few unhealthy additions, etc.

Vesper said...

You're right, Vanilla, we always want something else. It's odd how some books appeal to us and others don't. Translations are very tricky.

We have to cheat, Munkey, otherwise it's (almost) pointless. :-)

Yes, Aine, that would be good. Stay (for awhile) in the time when you're happiest...

Jeff, not just Christmas, but everything new - as seen by a child's eyes - must be full of wonder... :-)

Yes, StrugglingWriter, with what we know now, live fully every moment of the childhood - I'd like that!:-)

Taff, oh, I'm glad they're still young children but they are growing much too fast.
Don't worry about the random things - don't waste your time with them. :-)

Ello, I also have Inkheart, Inkspell and Dragon Rider, but I haven't read these ones yet. Now that both you and Vanilla are mentioning this, the translation looks kind of awkward. Nevertheless, like you, I liked the book. :-)

Bernita said...

" I have a memory of winds and grass. And bitter tears."
So moving, Vesper.

Emperor Ropi said...

We also have that kind of day.

SzélsőFa said...

This events sounds nice. You must be working at a great company.
Re:time travel: No thanks. I am fine just as I am. I don't regret my pains and experiences and yes, I had some. I can't say I have recovered from all the pain I've been given, but I would not trade them for some onknown happiness/numbness/neutral feeling. Those are mine, having shaped my thinking, having formed the person I know now as me.

Vesper said...

Thank you, Bernita.

Ropi, it's nice, though I think that you, at seventeen, are not interested in that anymore. :-)

Szélsöfa, yes, it's very nice, especially for the children.