Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The tiniest of the bigger ones

Once upon a morning in the kingdom of Fiddlediddy everyone was going about their business.

The little ones were going to the-place-where-you-learn-things. It was in the centre of the town, in a place with a garden, a slide and a swing, and on the doors there was a big sign reading :
The Little Ones

The bigger ones were going to the-place-where-you-learn-even-more-things. It was on the outskirts of town and they had to go on a bus to go there. There was no garden but they had a big sports hall and a racing track. On the doors the sign read :
The Big Ones

Then the ones who think they know everything but don't know very much at all were going to the-place-where-you-start-learning-a-tiny-little-bit-of-what's-really-important (only a tiny little bit mind). It was in another town of the kingdom and they had to go on the train to go there. There was no garden nor racing track but there were buidlings with small bedrooms in them as they had to sleep there (the train journey was too long and costed too much to do it every day, two times a day). On the doors it didn't read 'the ones who think they know everything but don't know very much at all' but :
THE Ones
They liked that.

Then there was the place where people really start to learn a bit of the universe and everything. There were lots of buildings all over town, in every town in the knigdom. There was no garden, no racing track, no bedrooms, but there often were coffee machines. On the doors of all the places it read :

Then there was the place where people learnt even more of the universe and everything. It was everywhere. Sometimes there was a garden, sometime not, sometimes there were lots of bedrooms, sometimes not enough, sometimes none at all. There were rarely racing tracks, but there were often stuff, more often too much stuff, and lovers, partners, friends, children, aged relatives, lost loved ones and sometimes no one at all. There were no particular doors to go there, you were in it or you were notl but if there had been doors it would have read :

When someone moved from one place to the other it was almost always a big thing in Fiddlediddy. Everyone, except the interested party, wore a funny hat, danced and sang. Some people said they could have done without all this but it was Fiddlediddy after all.

On that particular morning a boy called Anatole was going for the first time to The Big Ones. He was feeling proud and excited but quite nervous too. As it was his first day a lot of his friends and family were going with him on the big bus driving to the-place-where-you-learn-evern-more-things, all wearing their funny hats, dancing - some holding a large white handkerchief or a stick - and singing. Everyone passed the doors of The Little Ones on their way to the bus station. In front of these doors children were either being very quiet or very loud, crying or laughing, hugging or swatting away their parents. They all looked very small and Anatole felt very big indeed.

At last everyone got on the first bus they could catch. That first morning there were lots of buses going out of town at regular intervals as there were so many people going with the new Big Ones.
When they had finally arrived and everyone had danced and sung and hugged and kissed, Anatole was waved off and found himself on the other side of the doors. He was quite small for his age and when he looked around he thought that all the other children seemed to be much, much bigger than him. Anatole felt very small indeed...

A familiar face suddenly appeared before him. Mr Bladibuss was a teacher at The Big Ones and an old friend of Anatole's family. Mr Bladibuss came from the knigdom of Tiniweeny where everyone was rather small. Babies were the size of your thumb and little children no larger than your hand. Mr Bladibuss was very tall compared to most grown-ups from Tiniweeny and he was about Anatole's height. For Anatole, who had known him since he was very litlle, Mr Bladibuss was a giant radiating authority and knowledge.

'Anatole, my boy !' said the teacher. 'You look a bit lost ?'

'Everyone is so big !' answered Anatole. 'I must be the smallest here !'

There was silence.

Then Mr Bladibuss said, 'I am smaller than you...'

Anatole looked at him with big, round eyes. His brain registered what his friend had just said but he still quite could not believe it. He felt so, so much smaller than Mr Bladibuss, who was now frowning at him and not looking too amicable. People from Tiniweeny are not too sensitive about their size but still...

At last Anatole said, 'I mean, I have so much to learn...'

Mr Bladibuss put an arm around the boy's shoulder, leading him through the crowd of children.
'And that's only the beginning, Anatole. that's only the beginning...'

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