Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Bed that Envelops Him....

Snow is falling, and through the streets, bareheaded, crazy Tiennette is running like a crazy woman. She plays all alone, catches the white flies as they fall in her violet hands, sticks out her tongue to dissolve the light candy she can just taste, and, with the tip of her finger, draws sticks and rings on the bright sheet.

Then the shoes that made her as tall as the roof thatch and dizzied her so come loose. She topples and stays on the ground a long while, making a cross, being good, until her portrait sinks in.

Then she makes herself a snowchild.

His limbs are twisted and shrunken from the cold. His eyes have been gouged out, his nose has one hole to take the place of two, his mouth has no teeth, and his skull has no hair, because hair and teeth are too hard.

“The poor thing!” says Tiennette.

She clasps him to her heart and whistles a lullaby, then, once he starts to melt, she changes him quickly and gives him a maternal roll in the fresh snow so the bed that envelops him will be clean.


~ Jules Renard (1864-1910), from "Crazy Tiennette" in
The Dark Lantern.