December 3, 2006


Catherine and Jack climb up above the fields on the slope of the hill where they can see all the fires of the village. It is a place which makes you realize how great the world is.

"Let's sit down here," says Catherine.

She seats herself, and, spreading her hands, scatters her flowery harvest round her. Her little body has been perfumed with them all, and in a moment the butterflies are circling round her. She picks and arranges the flowers, and make garlands and crowns of them, and hangs little bells at her ears for earrings. Little Jack catches sight of her thus, and at once is seized with admiration. He stops, and the whip falls from his hands. He sees that she is beautiful. He would like to be beautiful, too, and covered with flowers.

"I'll make you a crown," cries Catherine, "and you will look like a king." She puts the crown of flowers on little Jack's head, and he turns red with joy. She puts her arms around him, lifts him off the ground and stands him, all covered with flowers, on a great stone near by. She admires him because he is beautiful, and it is she that has made him so.

Little Jack understands that he is beautiful and the idea gives him a deep respect for himself. Stiff, immovable, his eyes round, his lips shut tight, his hands open and his fingers sticking out like the spokes of a wheel, he tastes a solemn joy. The sky is over his head, woods and fields are at his feet. He is in the middle of the world. He is only good, only beautiful.

excerpt from "Across the Fields" written by Anatole France, illustrated by MS Hurford
in the children's series My Book House, published 1920-1971



baob said...

moi, je préfère les couronnes de nuages.

Anonymous said...

je ferai une couronne de nuage pour vous!