Sunday, September 28, 2008

Little Gifts


For some unknown reason life has been showering me with small gifts this week – letters and calls from friends, a day of rare sunshine, the kids, who suddenly don’t requir nagging for completing their chores, – it is funny how at times everything flows smoothly without a strain. One of the most unexpected gifts was a small print of Ole Lukøie. I went to see the exhibition of Norwegian artist whose prints makes me smile – it is a combination of whimsical images, warm colours and words that does the trick. So, here there was a little man standing on a cloud with an opened umbrella. “Ole Lukøie”, came immediate recognition along with the long forgotten words of Andersen’s tale. (For some strange reasons "Ole Lukøie" is omitted from many collections of Andersen’s stories in US. I had to find it on the internet in order to read it to the kids.)

“There's no one on earth who knows so many stories as Ole Lukoie-he certainly can tell them!
When night comes on and children still sit in good order around the table, or on their little stools, Ole Lukoie arrives. He comes upstairs quietly, for he walks in his socks. Softly he opens the door, and flick! he sprinkles sweet milk in the children's eyes-just a tiny bit, but always enough to keep their eyes closed so they won't see him. He tiptoes behind them and breathes softly on their necks, and this makes their heads hang heavy. Oh yes! But it doesn't hurt them, for Ole Lukoie loves children and only wants them to be quiet, and that they are only when they have been put to bed. He wants them to be quiet so that he can tell them stories.
As soon as the children fall asleep, Ole Lukoie sits down on the bed beside them. He is well dressed. His coat is made of silk, but it would be impossible to say what color it is because it gleams red, or green, or blue, as he turns about. Under each arm he carries an umbrella. One has pictures on it, and that one he opens up over good children. Then they dream the most beautiful stories all night long. The other is just a plain umbrella with nothing on it at all, and that one he opens over naughty children. Then they sleep restlessly, and when they wake up in the morning they have had no dreams at all…”

When I write, the little print sits by my side (I haven’t framed it yet) reminding me that “Life is beautiful and full of surprises.”

No comments: