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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

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Children from the woods

It was a hot August day. The sun was beating down mercilessly. Master and disciple were walking in a small countryside wood. The summer animation had got into the green as well. Disciple felt it was the ideal time for an exciting conversation.

“Who was your favourite author during your childhood times, master?” Disciple has the habit of slaking his literary thirst with questions.

Master obliged in a very casual tone: “Let me think…” Master pondered on. “I and my brother adored Grimm Brother’s fairy tales till we were…. around ten. But since then Enid Blyton took over.” Master added with a nostalgic smile in the face.

Disciple saw master smiling to himself. Not only that, he also perceived the retrospective tone in master’s voice. “Was she the most popular children’s author at that time?”


Enid Blyton

“I guess so. Her ‘Famous Five’, ‘Malory Towers’, ‘Secret Seven’, ‘Naughtiest Girl’, ‘Five Find Outers’.” Master went on. “We were so influenced by her. Sometimes we even spied people who we thought were criminals of some sort.”

Disciple had never seen master so descriptive of himself before. “I think she had a wide range, master.” He said enthusiastically. “I think her charm lies in…”

They were so suddenly disturbed by an ambush of a small group of children encircling them. “Who are you?” A boy around 13 years demanded, he seemed to be the leader of the gang. “Where are you going?”

Master’s apprehensions soon dissolved into amusement, but he didn’t show it to the children. “I’m going to give my student a lesson about this wood.” He had somehow disguised his voice to produce a fearful tone.

“We are from the High Hill School.” Said a small girl in the group, brimming with enthusiasm. “Our group is Mighty Minds. We are trekking an escaped convict called Gold Runner.”

“He’s guilty of kicking his stableman in the leg.” Another small boy explained. We are searching for him here. “Have you seen him?”

“Never thought those child-detectives so clumsy,” disciple muttered to himself, having shed off him initial panic over the din.

“No little detectives,” master said with a grin.

The mob didn’t spare any time in conversing with them. They greeted them, hurried goodbyes and scattered into the woods.

“What do you think of that, son?” Master asked.

“The influence of Enid Blyton.” Disciple had a direct answer this time.

“Don’t you think it’s something wonderful to delve into the childish world, and share adventures with them?”

“It is master. Has it arisen from deprivation for Enid Blyton?”

“Don’t apply those theories to everything!” Master raised his finger. “Life and literatures are hardly theory.”

Disciple thought a moment about it, and found master was almost right.

“You need to read some more of Enid’s works.” Master broke the silence. “Children’s literature, especially adventures of children, are something we should discuss at a broader level.”

Disciple nodded in agreement. Master perceived it as a sign he’d come out soon brimming with new ideas of Enid Blyton. So he did not mention it again.

Neither did disciple. The walk continued pleasantly. The sun chastened meanwhile. And master cherished in the thought the mob of children would soon find the lost horse.

Disciple didn’t understand it fully. But he knew childish investigations produce inquisitive minds.

Some children cried from a distance. It was kind of a ‘hurraah!’. It entered Master’s eyes as a sound from an irretraceable distance, while disciple thought it came from very near-by.

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