As I sat having lunch with Snooks today he told me a story.
It went like this: “Once there was a bean who lived under the sea. And he lived happily ever after.”
At this point I applauded and started to sing praise for such a magical and satisfying tale when he interrupted.
“Then,” he said ominously …
What a great way to open a novel, I thought to myself, with the classic fairy tale ending. What a marvellous malevolent twist to turn the familiar righteousness restored ending into a trick start which comforts the reader with a false sense of security just before the real drama starts.
Anyway, he went on ..
“…then, he and his friend (names were given but have been omitted here as they may relates to persons known and unknown) a park called Wavy Park. They played there, and then went home and went to bed. On the sea bed. There were waves coming out of the chimney. The end.”
I loved it and have recorded it here word for word. The bean story was prompted by our lunch menu and my recounting of one of my Dad’s favourite rhymes (all together now) “How many beans make five? A bean a bean a half a bean a half a bean a bean an d a bean.” I shall have to check the origin of that one.
I was glad to hear Snooks tell a story. Just last night I was discussing with the Engineer (whom I am pretty sure was asleep at the time) whether we have stifled Snooks’ imaginative powers with too many facts. When told or read fantastical stories he often demands an immediate audit of what is real or “true” and what is not. Funnily enough he then refuses to believe my answers insisting furiously that fairies do exist and that God doesn’t.
Yesterday he asked the Engineer if Voldemort existed. I was quick to ensure that the Engineer was very clear in the negative on this (though of course some may argue that in a way, he does) as I did not want our very premature venture into reading JK Rowling to backfire with fearful nightmares. I am not sure what the argument against introducing a four year old to the concept of evil and the prospect of one’s parents being killed by it is, but I am sure there is a good one. So in the reading I have been careful to discuss with Snooks his understanding of what the story is, what it means, who is good and who is bad and that the whole thing is made up.
His question also revealed another new development – that he does not trust my answers and needs to double check with the Engineer. I can’t blame him for this. It could be brought on by my too often deferring questions (usually about the gauge on railway tracks or at what angle the earth is spinning) to the Engineer for confirmation. Or it could be a shift predicted for young boys around this age when their focus turns to Dad as the new guide and model.
However when it comes to good and evil and what exists and what doesn’t I must make sure he knows my credentials are as good as anybody’s and probably better than most.
And anyway I want to hear more of the Bean Stories.