And he reads to them, as he does every night, as if watering them, as if turning the earth at their feet.

And he reads to them, as he does every night, as if watering them, as if turning the earth at their feet. There are stories he has never heard of, and others he has known as a child, these stepping stones that are there for everyone. What is the real meaning of these stories, he wonders, of creatures that no longer exist even in the imagination: princes, woodcutters, honest fishermen who live in hovels. He wants his children to have an old life and a new life, a life that is indivisible from all lives past, that grows from them, exceeds them, and another that is original, pure, free, that is beyond the prejudice which protects us, the habit which gives us shape. He wants them to know both degradation and sainthood, the one without humiliation, the other without ignorance. He is preparing them for this voyage. It is as if there is only a single hour, and in that hour all the provender must be gathered, all the advice offered.  He longs for the one line to give them that they will always remember, that will embrace everything, that will point the way, but he cannot find the line, he cannot recognize it. It is more precious, he knows, than anything else they might own, but he does not have it. Instead, in his even, sensuous voice he laves them in the petty myths of Europe, of snowy Russia, the East.

~ James Salter, Light Years

Notes: Photo: zinegrrlReading


  1. Reblogged this on A Grateful Man and commented:
    What a powerful purpose to have for reading to children.

    With Love,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. and wonderful to be lost in the ritual telling of the tales and to share them, learning and remembering as you read to them, and them learning as they take it all in .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Speechless

    Thanks for the new to me author
    “Sainthood without ignorance…”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sigh. Fantastic. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. freddiegeorgia says:

    I have read and read again…so often I learn new things from your posts….
    …this time…
    ‘in his even, sensuous voice he laves them in the petty myths’ …
    ‘laves’..a new word for me…love it

    …princes, woodcutters, honest fishermen (for real they are)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jordan Richardson says:

    Preparation for the voyage, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lovely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. At the end of my audiobook yesterday, the voice talent talked about all the ways listening to story helped little minds and little psyches grow. It’s amazing the power in voice, vocabulary and story.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Much value can be salvaged and applied to the present from tradition. Too often while on the road of progress, we leave the best of who we are behind.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes and Yes. This doesn’t happen with an e-reader. Books. Stories. Reading. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Makere's Blog and commented:
    The power, the magic, the wonderful, old-fashioned morals and values of fairy stories, read over and over again as a child. So exquisitely captured here.


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