Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I’m reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s book “Travels With a Donkey, his journal of travel he made alone but for a stubborn donkey. His reason for travel I’ll let him describe --

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the need and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.”

His writing is so humorous, and his power of description so entertaining that I have to share this tidbit as he desperately tries to find his way out of the woods.
He comes to a little village in need of direction.

The next, I was pricking Modestine (his donkey), forward, and guiding her like an unruly ship through the open. In a path, she went doggedly ahead of her own accord, as before a fair wind; but once on the turf or among heather, and the brute became demented. The tendency of lost travelers to go round in a circle was developed in her to the degree of passion, and it took all the steering I had in me to keep even a decently straight course through a single field.
While I was thus desperately tacking through the bog, children and cattle began to disperse, until only a pair of girls remained behind. From these I sought direction on my path. The peasantry in general were but little disposed to counsel a wayfarer. One old devil simply retired into his house, and barricaded the door on my approach; and I might beat and shout myself hoarse, he turned a deaf ear.
Another, having given me a direction which, as I found afterwards, I had misunderstood, complacently watched me going wrong without adding a sign. He did not care a stalk of parsley if I wandered all night upon the hills!
As for these two girls, they were a pair of impudent sly sluts, with not a thought but mischief. One put out her tongue at me, the other bade me follow the cows; and they both giggled and jogged each other’s elbows. The beast of Ge’vaudan ate about a hundred children from this district; I began to think of him with sympathy.”

Picture from the internet


Mel said...

Ha! What a great example of old-fashioned humor! :) This is a truly charming little excerpt. Thanks for sharing it!


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

I had a good laugh at the passage. Yes, these things happen when you travel in strange places.

Many time when I asked for direction a stranger will tell me: YOU GO STRAIT AND TURN TO THE LEFT AND THEN YOU TURN RIGHT AND THEN GO STRAIT, YOU WILL REACH THE PLACE. The problem is when you go strait you will find so many turns here and there and you will not know where to turn.

Some times the person guiding you, will tell you: YOU JUST GO A LITTLE AHEAD AND YOU WILL REACH THE PLACE. This little ahead will will ultimately turn out to be 3 to 4 miles.

So I make it a point to ask at least two or three people to confirm the way. Otherwise gas will be lost and time will be lost.

Many thanks for sharing this hilarious post. I enjoyed it.

Have a nice day :)

FCB said...

Your welcome Mel,
glad you liked this one as well. He just tickles me, especially the last line - "The beast of Ge’vaudan ate about a hundred children from this district; I began to think of him with sympathy.” That makes me laugh each time I read it.
God bless,

Hi Joseph,
I've had the same experience as you with directions, yikes! it can be so frustrating, and that's without an incorrigible donkey!
Glad you got a laugh,