How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul. But whatsoever was the reason, the rat knew from that moment that he was safe—even though he was a rat. He knew that this young human being sitting on the red footstool would not jump up and terrify him with wild, sharp noises or throw heavy objects at him which, if they did not fall and crush him, would send him limping in his scurry back to his hole. He was really a very nice rat, and did not mean the least harm. When he had stood on his hind legs and sniffed the air, with his bright eyes fixed on Sara, he had hoped that she would understand this, and would not begin by hating him as an enemy. When the mysterious thing which speaks without saying any words told him that she would not, he went softly toward the crumbs and began to eat them. As he did it he glanced every now and then at Sara, just as the sparrows had done, and his expression was so very apologetic that it touched her heart.
–Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess
6 Replies to “HAPPY 2017”
Happy New Year to my favorite writer.
Back atcha, Miss Karin! So Happiness to Meet You in 2017–yes!!!
That was one of my favorite books growing up too! I loved her little garrett. I always preferred A Little Princess to The Secret Garden, although that one was good too.
I think you're right about the reparenting. As a child, the safety and mystery of certain books protected my mind from some of the yelling I heard out in the family room. Those books seem like a familiar shelter as an adult.
Other favorites were Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White and Timothy and the Two Witches by Margaret Storey.
I too have been recently drawn in this way this season. In my case the book of comfort was The Country Child by Allison Uttley
Oh this is grand to learn of Allison Uttley, Margaret Storey, and an E.B. White I've not read. They are all on my "list" now–thank you. I, too, love The Secret Garden and in fact still have my childhood copy. But The Little Princess was a new revelation with the Christ-like nobility of spirit of Sarah–even when her fortune was restored in the end, she didn't lord it over the vile schoolmistress.
Also I have just learned of Tove Jansson (1914-2001), a children's writer and artist, much beloved, from Finland. I have her The Summer Book on reserve at the library.
More on the re-parenting to come!