Monday, 12 March 2007

An old book

Dig's sorting out his library. I've got a freecycle box with some books inside and I need some more. While he's about it, he tells me a story, about an old scholar and a book, and I'm telling it you now.

An old scholar had a magic book in his library. 'What did it look like?' I asked. 'Not important' answers Dig. I reckon the cover probably wasn't much to look at, a bit battered and grey and worn, with the edges curling up, because magic books generally have to be like that. But anyway, I'll assume it was special, in its own way, because each time the old scholar read the book, the words would crackle and sparkle and come into life, and send off beautiful colours in all directions.

'Is this the Borges story where the words move round?' I ask Dig. 'No it isn't' says Dig. Anyway, the old scholar looked at the colourful words in book for many years, and probably got a great deal of pleasure from it. I don't know that of course. I'd like to think so anyway. Then one day when the old scholar opened the book, some pages fell out and drifted to the floor. Well, the old scholar looked at the pages and looked at the book and then suddenly lost interest in the book and all the colourful sparkling words inside. Perhaps the words began to fade right there and then.

'Why didn't the old scholar like the book anymore?' I ask. 'Lots of reasons and shut up interrupting' says Dig. Perhaps the old scholar thought the book was spoiled now, or not complete, or perhaps the Borges story really did come in and steal some pages away. Whatever happened, the old scholar put the book down and didn't pick it up for many years. I reckon he probably forgot about it since it was in a library and there were lots of other books and they probably had more interesting ideas to share than a manky old book with fading colours and some pages missing.

'That's not the end' says Dig. Because one day, after many years, the old scholar opened the book again. Perhaps it was by accident. The colours started to glow and change just like before. I like this idea. I think that if I was a book and no-one ever looked at me and then all of a sudden hey presto! someone starts reading again, then I'd feel chuffed. I wonder what the old scholar thought. 'What happened next?' I ask Dig.

Dig says he's not sure now. He thinks that the old scholar probably just lost interest in the words, and closed the book and put it away again. I reckon the old scholar was worse than that. I think he must have carelessly thrown the book on a pile in the corner. Or he might have used it to prop up a table. 'That's not a very nice thing to happen to a book, especially a magic one where the words can change colours', I say.

I think that's probably the end of the magic book. I reckon the colours in the book will never change again. Perhaps it'll end up in the freecycle box, not wanted by anyone, just going round everyone's house until it ends up on a skip or a bonfire.

'That's life', says Dig, handing me a book for the freecycle box.

1 comment:

Elibee said...

No, no, the book is fed up with being in the old scholar's library because he doesn't appreciate it so it has set out on a freecycle adventure to find a new library where it will have pride of place and sparkle again!