Friday, November 04, 2005

Bedtime Stories

When my brother and I were about 4 and 6, respectively, my father would read us a few chapters from a book every night before bed. We read Treasure Island, Around the World in 80 Days, The Old Man and the Sea, or sometimes chapters from the bible. He would do voices for the different characters or stand up and act out part of the story. We loved it, so much in fact that as i grew up i continued to read those same books over and over. I remember pointing out on my tenth birthday that i had just finished The Old Man and the Sea for the tenth time.

But our favorites, by far, were Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We probably liked them so much because of all the cool voices my dad would do for the many different characters.... heh, i'm chuckling now remembering it. He must have read each of those to us 3 or 4 times, and i read them each myself as well. I came across our old copy of Huck Finn once when i was in high school. You could tell how much it had been used, the cover was as thin as the pages in the book, and you could barely see the picture from all the creases in it. I'm annoyed now that in all the links to the books i've supplied here, none of the covers are the ones I remember.

Anyway, I was browsing around some sites reading select portions of Huck Finn this morning... and yes I'm at work, I don't wanna hear it. Last night, i was in borders for a good hour leafing through books on the middle east conflict, and that was still fresh in my mind this morning as i came across the excerpt below. Maybe my dad could read this bedtime story on his next trip to Israel (yes he's going again, and no i'm still not jewish).


"Did you want to kill him, Buck?"
"Well, I bet I did."
"What did he do to you?"
"Him? He never done nothing to me."
"Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?"
"Why, nothing -- only it's on account of the feud."
"What's a feud?"
"Why, where was you raised? Don't you knowwhat a feud is?"
"Never heard of it before -- tell me about it."
"Well," says Buck, "a feud is this way: A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man's brother kills HIM; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the COUSINS chip in -- and by and by everybody's killed off, and there ain't no more feud. But it's kind of slow, and takes a long time."
"Has this one been going on long, Buck?"
"Well, I should RECKON! It started thirty year ago, or som'ers along there. There was trouble 'bout something, and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit -- which he would naturally do, of course. Anybody would."
"What was the trouble about, Buck? -- land?"
"I reckon maybe -- I don't know."
"Well, who done the shooting? Was it a Granger-ford or a Shepherdson?"
"Laws, how do I know? It was so long ago."
"Don't anybody know?"
"Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old people; but they don't know now what the row was about in the first place."