Stories from Childhood

Sunday, June 14, 2009

There are the obvious ones of course, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Madeline, Cat in the Hat.

But there are others that stick with you for one reason or the other. Maybe you really identified with that little boy or girl; they were having the adventures you always dreamed of, lived the house/castle you would have like to live in. Had a big red dog. :-D

Sometimes it was a simple matter of the artwork.

Such is the reason for one particular story that has stuck in my mind. I couldn't even remember the whole story. And for the longest while I thought it was Little Red Riding Hood because it was about a little girl and a wolf. But really what stuck in my mind about this story, or I should say *that* book, was the artwork that showed the little girl in a field of flowers.

In The Gunnywolf (or Gunniwolf) the little girl disobeys her parents' order to not go out in the forest. She's not a naughty girl, you see, but the temptation of all the pretty flowers were too much to resist:

The little girl promised that she would never go into the forest. “I won’t go! I won’t go!” As soon as her mother had gone, the little girl decided to pick flowers to decorate the house. The first flowers were yellow flowers that grew right beside the fence around the year and the garden. But, as she picked the yellow flowers, she saw some pretty blue flowers blooming right at the edge of the forest, and she forgot about her promise.

While she picked the blue flowers, she saw some beautiful white flowers. They would look so lovely in a vase with the yellow and blue flowers. She could surprise her mother with them when she came home. The little girl just had to pick some of them too."

No, not naughty in the least! Good intentions and all that. ;)

If you're wondering why the reminiscence, it's because every time I take a certain way home and/or to work through the nearby ravine, this sight always strikes me as what the little girl saw. (exactly what the book’s artwork meant to conveyed):

Don't think I blame her a minute for being enticed down that path deep into the woods. (My crappy camera didn't quite capture how magical those blue and white wild flowers look alongside the trail. You can see a close up of the flowers in the bottom right hand corner.)

Unfortunately I couldn't find examples of the artwork from that book online, but while googling I came across an interesting article on the story on the Clayton County Library Blog if you'd like to read more on it.

Never underestimate the power of the story. You never outgrow its magic. Are there stories from your childhood that stick with you, not just because of the story itself but because of a certain image?
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azteclady said...

*waving* Lovely seeing you here, Vanessa!

There are a few stories that I remember today mostly because of the images.

Have you ever read Jean Webster's Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy? I still have my original copy (which peeves my sister no end :grin: but this is what happens when you marry first--things migrate with you :innocence:)

Both novels are told in the form of letters, which include the most wonderful line drawings. I can visualize several of these without even closing my eyes.

Yes, the story stays with me, as much as the image does.

vanessa jaye said...

Aztec, I'll have to check those books out. Incidentally over on TGTBTU they have a review up on The Velveteen Rabbit. :-P

Lynn Viehl said...

The cover art from the original 70's edition of Ursula Nordstrom's The Secret Language has stayed with me since fifth grade because of the tent with the door in the background. In the story the girls build it in the woods as their playplace/hideaway/sanctuary from the world, and they do use a real door. Eventually the door itself became a symbol of rebellion and freedom to me, worked its way into my stories and became one of my most chameleon-like metaphors.

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