LandofStorybooks3
At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.   …                      Robert Louis Stevenson

The scene is a picture of peace. A child goes about his way, secure in the presence of his parents. The parents talk and sing, maybe even do some hand-work. Together. Nothing takes them away, or apart; not even their own worries or concerns. Anchored in that union, the child is free to wander—into foreign lands, even into danger. He’s always at home, no matter where he goes.

This child’s simple yet pressing needs are fulfilled, right here at home. This experience, this reality, he will carry with him the rest of his life.

The land of storybooks should not be in storybooks alone. Some children would give anything to have just one such evening. What children want, and need, can seem so far away; yet it is close at hand. Our homes can be the land of storybooks. Such is within our power. And it needs to be done, for the sake of our children. And for own sake too.

R.L Stevenson (1850-1894) is the great Scottish author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, A Child’s Garden of Verses, and other classics.

Illustration by Margaret Tarrant

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Living with Yourself

“And a virtuous man wishes to live with himself; for he does so with pleasure, since the memories of his past acts are delightful and his hopes for the future are good, and therefore pleasant. His mind is well stored too with subjects of contemplation.” Aristotle,...

read more

Might vs. Valor

Phalinus, messenger from Persian King Artaxerxes, demands that the Persians (who had fought with Cyrus, now dead, against Artaxerxes) put down their arms. Xenophon responds: “Phalinus, at this moment, as you see for yourself, we have no other possessions save arms and...

read more

Bethany Weekends: Spring, Summer Schedule

Socrates insisted on the centrality of examining our lives. The purpose of such examination is clear: we will come closer to being the persons we can be if we accept the challenge of our human identity, of being rational. This is our privilege: to use our reason to...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest