Tuesday 19 April 2011

Chekhov for Infants

Yesterday a tiny girl, perhaps five or six, came into the shop with her mum and dad.  When they first arrived I was in the office making a cuppa, but Mum said the man turned to the little girl and said, "Right, now, you're not allowed to talk in this shop, or they'll pick you off with an air rifle."  "We're not that bad!" Mum replied.  "Well, I told her it was electric shocks in the last shop!" he laughed, before escorting the poor kid off down to the children's corner.

Back out on the counter, I was ready and waiting when they returned with two children's books.  The dad sighed and shook his head."I don't know why I bother," he said sadly as his wife handed over a note.  "Last week I bought her the complete works of Anton Chekhov and what did she do?  Scribbled all over The Cherry Orchard, made crayon marks right through A Marriage Proposal...  Evidently she's destined to grow up illiterate and never go to a good school."

"That's a bit harsh," I said.  "Perhaps she just doesn't like the Russians - have you tried her on Dickens?"

As they left the shop, I heard a dull thwack as he swiped her over the head with his tourist map, and his voice drifting back from outside, "I'm going to beat literature into you!  Just see if I don't!"