Sunday, January 4, 2009

Of Children and Peasants – Part II

(To read Part I click here.)

Excerpt from “Anna Karenina Comes to America” by Leia Tolstaya*, Millerskaya Ltd., New York, 2009

Levina had thrown in her lot with the children for a day, thrilling in the physical labor of shoveling snow. “Hot chocolate with marshmallows for all if we reach the street by dark!” she had hollered.

On the skirts of her enthusiasm, the children had cleared the entire driveway. Levina had slept well that night, dreaming of leading the simple life of a child again. She was tired of intellectualizing all the time.

But waking up with her husband next to her, knowing all they shared in their happy responsibilities towards each other and their children, she also realized that the simple bliss of a childlike mental life was neither possible nor to be desired.

So she returned to the puzzle of how to get the children to work more efficiently while making it worth their while.

She had given them each their own room, thinking that naturally pride would cause them to care for their own space. If she told them to clean them, they would disappear for hours, without accomplishing anything that could be seen. They were so easily distracted.

“Give them a good education,” she had been advised by her elders.

That gave them even more to distract from their duties! Reading, writing stories, and illustrating could wile away the hours, as could chess games and backgammon.

All they wanted to do was have fun! She could not fault them in this, which was their natural inclination. She needed a better system, one which would work in accordance to their natures.

To be continued…

*Leia Tolstaya is a pen name for Elizabeth K. Miller, and as such her works fall under the same copyright.

2 comments:

Loren Christie said...

very cute, keep writing this.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I have no choice - it seems to be writing itself in my brain!