Friday, January 27, 2017

My little Gilgamesh

At a certain age, children are tormented by existential problems.

Last summer, traveling back from our Black Sea vacation, we visited the city of Ruse at the Danube. We were there for first time. It is a beautiful city, full of culture and history. We especially liked the museum of history, arranged impressively by enthusiastic experts supported by EU funds. For example, one could see a prehistoric sickle from an antler horn with inserted sharp flint pieces as blades; and above, a video showed a woman harvesting with such a sickle. She was in a crude dress, as if it was woven also using Stone Age technology.

Another item was the skeleton of a woman killed during the Indo-European invasion. It was exposed as it had been found, only cleared from above for easy observation. The sight shocked my 12-yr-old son. He apparently realized his own mortality, fell in a whiny mood and kept talking about bones, graves and dying for days. After we returned home, my mother in-law told me that we shouldn't have scared the child like this. I said, in a serious voice, that I realized my mistake and would never again bring the kids to a museum (a promise that I would not keep, of course). I also gave my son Astrid Lindgren's Brothers Lionheart to read. I liked how he, by the end of the book, sensed the sad mood even before it was revealed that Jonatan was paralyzed and both brothers would die.

Half a year later, he had a history lesson about ancient Mesopotamia. It mentioned the epic of Gilgamesh. My son said about the hero:

"He went to seek immortality like me, as I intended!"

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