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How I Began To Write Children's Stories

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How I Began To Write Children's Stories


 


It was a rainy autumn evening. The reception room of the Master was lighted. I knocked at the door. He opened it and invited me in. I took off my shoes in the lobby and went in.


 


Once I was in the room, there was an instant change within me: light and gladness engulfed me, I felt as if in another world. The Master looked at me and enveloped me with beams of light which he radiated. I forgot what I came for, I didn't know what to say, the grief with which I had come disappeared and I kept silent.


 


"Why are your stockings wet?" he asked, in order to give me the chance to open up the dyke and unload my life's heavy burden.


 


"I go thus all day long. This lack of money, these endless distances. The best years of my life will pass in poverty," I replied ruefully.


 


"The wise profit by all conditions, and the foolish lose even in the best conditions. Every trial is for good."


 


"Now, tell me, what good could I see in my misery?"


 


"Eh, it depends on what content you wish to insert into your life. What is more beautiful and more precious: to be a soulless doll with jewelry and silk dresses, or to be a developed person whose face bespeaks deep inward spiritual life?" the Master added gaily.


 


"I wouldn't like to be a doll but my hardships are not small. I live two kilometers from my work, I come three times a week to Izgrev, and all is usually done on foot because I have no money to board a tram or a bus. I don't whimper, I dislike people to have pity on me, but, Master, please tell me when these hardships will come to an end?"


 


"If you had money you would never have come to Izgrev, you would waste your life. Be glad that you sacrifice your worldly goods for others, and the hardships you can easily turn into good."


 


"And what good must I see in that every day, in rain and snow, I have to go kilometers and kilometers on foot?"


 


"I will tell you. Everything can be turned into good. When you walk-think. Think out a theme for a story and when you go home in the evening write it down. Try this, I say, and you will see that the long walking will cease being a burden."


 


"To think out stories? . . . Well, I shall try, but I doubt whether I shall be able to do it."


 


"Yes, you will do it. Chose a subject and dress it up in the form of a story," quietly and persuasively added the Master.


 


And every word of his was gulped down by my thirsty soul like crystal fountain water.


 


My life continued as heretofore. The words of the Master often came back to me and I tried, when walking, to think about some hero.


 


One evening, splashing in the mud towards home with a loaf of bread in my bag and no money in my pocket, I imagined a doll's city where no poverty existed. The dolls' queen was the good fairy for her subjects. Every evening with a flying chariot she went around the city and left at every door a basket full of fruit . . . and so on and so forth, and when I reached home the whole story, from beginning to end, was clear in my consciousness.


 


For the first time I went home not noticing the long distance and not feeling the unpleasantness of splashing in the muddy streets with my feet in a pair of shoes that badly needed repair.


 


Before going to bed that evening I wrote down my first story, "The Dolls' City."


 


The next day I told it to the children at school. They liked it so much that for days to come they made me repeat it daily.


 


Some days later, walking again on the streets of the city, I made up the story of "The Life of a Small Stone," then "The Snow Queen and the Snow-Drop," etc.


 


Soon my stories began to be published in the newspaper, "Novi dni" (New Days).


 


In rain, snow and frost I walked smiling, and in my thoughts talked things over with my story heroes.


 


Conditions are being overcome when man thinks about something useful and does not whimper.


 


"Every trial brings some good," said the Master.


 


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