Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll
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23

into his room to view his library, four-hundred books, let

alone loan him any, and although the boy hopes for a

change every single day, he would never imagine asking,

out of the blue, never in his life, a man has his pride. He sits

there in the parlour, having accomplished something. Done

what’s important, something besides pull fish from the

deep, dig up peat, stack hay in the barn, and now, while the

sky quakes with the storm and ships fight against death, the

boy feels as if he matters. He who’s been called a variety of

names ever since his father drowned ten or twelve years

ago, who forgets everything, remembers nothing, hardly

notices anything, forgets and loses things. You would have

lost it a long time ago, said the old women on the farm

where he grew up after everyone died that was supposed to

have lived, you would have lost it ages ago, that thing

hanging between your thighs, if it wasn’t attached to you.

He’s been called an idiot, an imbecile, a muttonhead, a lout,

a plonker, a milksop, a wastrel, a wimp, a scoundrel, a

poltroon, scum, and loafer, the language is rich with such

words, it’s also easy to scold and humiliate, it takes neither

talent nor intelligence, let alone courage. But it could be

undeniably difficult at times to believe that a physically fit

urchin, later an adolescent and young man, could take so

long with some chores, could hardly remember anything

that his hands were supposed to learn; he might have

learned to tie a knot in the evening, and then came night

and when he woke his hands had completely forgotten how

to tie it. Chances are you’re just a dolt, an old woman said

to him once, not out of malice, but rather, astonishment.