Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll
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5

Is your heart still beating? And why?

Life is strange; as far back as he can remember, education

had been the promised land that echoed under and over his

mother’s letters— his only education until now had been in

preparation for his confirmation, and one month of lessons

with an itinerant teacher when he was ten or twelve years

old. Yet he was able to read and write fluently by the time

the sea claimed his father, and he practiced writing

whenever he could, scratched letters on ice, on mouldering

rafters in the roof of the cowshed, in the snow, at first

without constraint, neglected his chores, the rafters barely

held up against the weight of the words, and one morning

when people came out of the farmhouse it was nearly

impossible for them to step into the snow due to the sheer

amount of words, the boy hadn’t been able to sleep because

of the moonlight, had gone out while it was still night and

started to write. Twelve strokes of the switch for three days

in a row and no dinner brought him to his senses. He was

beaten, not out of malice but necessity, for, in the first

place, writing words in the snow or dirt is bad luck, and

second, his chores went unattended in the meantime, and

how were people supposed to live in this land if they

neglected their work? And what would happen to you, who

would employ you if word got round that you wrote in the

snow instead of worked, you’d soon end up on the parish,

you’d be kicked at like a dog, so welcome these twelve

strokes, let them teach you, they’re not given out of malice,

but necessity, even care. But now he wakes up, does light