|EBU Otsuki Award
Momís telling tales
Anna Fusz (31, Female)
It is strange havingjust few memories from the childhood. However, there are experiences and moments which are never forgotten, which are being burnt for ever into the soul, with all their tastes, scents and warmth.
Such moments of life are for me when I was listening to my Mother’s tales. I still recall how I was waiting for the evening, to slip under the soft, cool quilt, while she got into the bed close to me. I rested my head on her chest, she put her arms around me and began one of her tales.
Most of time the tales I was told came from her own. These times I could add my own comments and thus influence how the story was to be continued, and she kept on weaving the adventures of my favourite heroes accordingly. Sometimes known stories and tales came true by my mother’s words. I loved her telling me tales. I loved the playfulness of her voice, the way she was making the figures and the sound of the objects of a tale alive. The seven-headed dragon, the fairies and witches in her performance were so realistic that I could imagine any joint of them, although she has never experienced how these kinds of creatures are pictured.
On one of my birthdays my parents gave me a wonderful gift, a surprise. I have never seen such a beautiful tales book before as the one I found in the gift box. I was absolutely impressed by the wealth of colourful pictures and beautiful drawings. I could hardly wait the evening to come when I could get to know the story of the heroes on the pages of the book. But then it occurred to me that my mother could not tell tales from that very book. I had been looking at usual books only with my grandma before, but that was not the same. It was something completely different compared to entering into the world of tales while hearing my mother’ voice, nestling to her and falling asleep.
When in the sudden silence she noticed my disappointment, she took an envelope and pulled out small sheets of paper with a strange kind of writing. She called it dot writing, which seemed to be quite right, since all I could see was not but dots across and through. It was not unknown for me, since I have met that kind of dots at various parts all around our home before. I had seen such dots in our kitchen on boxes, bottles and on some household appliances. I had met them in the living room while watching the boxes displayed in a precise order on the shelves or arranging my mother’s CDs. It was natural for me meeting that kind of writing all over our home. With my grandma’s help my mother stuck those small sheets of paper to the pages of my tales book, that is how she always knew which page to continue with and which picture I was actually looking at. Thus I did not have to give up the common joy of tales or my new book.
Most of the stories had already been known for my mother, so she could easily tell me them. She has read the new tales with her computer, and by the next time she was able to tell those by heart. After having read a tale several times she could quote the same almost word by word. Even I had learnt my favourite tales to the last details, and we always cracked up when she happened to miss a text which I could set right.
Growing a bit older, one day my mom took a book from the shelf which was hiding her favourite stories in. It was a book with dot writing I have never been shown before. Upon looking at the plenty of embedded dots I found it marvellous, raising harmony, each pages having their own melody. Of course I was not able to draft it that way yet, however I was staring at the book with the curiosity and admiration of a child. Although they seemed to be only blank pages to me, mom was able to gather wonders out of them like glassy mountains, wizards, princesses and little elves. I admired how gently her fingers were gliding over the lines resulting in more and more new stories.
I put my hand onto the paper as well, however I was feeling just a rough surface, and upon moving my hand my palm felt tickled by thousands of dots. How was my mother able to read any words out of them, it seemed a mystery for me as a small child. I can still recall the picture of her chubby fingers decoding the hidden melodies line by line. Having grown into an adult, I think that my soul is always imbued with pride and gratitude, since I am aware how much these hands have done for me, to have a childhood as anyone else. Of course it was not so, but I have never felt wishing a different one. Sometimes I had also had bad days when I felt I would have liked running out of the world instead of reading and filling the umpteenth official documents on my mother’s behalf. However these kinds of moments appear only as light unpleasantness today. I know I have been given everything by my parents a child may wish, a loving home and anxious care. I have also learnt how to give, how to fight, how to encourage, and even much much more, by which I have become a happy man of poise.
As a child I often played if had been blind. I closed my eyes, trying to move within our flat accordingly, pretending reading dot writing, reading out tales for my mother with a book on my lap. I remember she always said to handle the book with care, since once the dots get damaged they cannot be read anymore. I kept her warning except for one time, which today I still look back with a shame at. One evening after bathing I was just getting ready to listen to a tale, and I had already found out whose story I would have wished to hear, my mother told me that she had got a lot to do and the tale had to be postponed to the next day. I got awfully angry, I took her book and started pressing the dots over. I did not know that it was just one of my favourite tales which had fallen victim to my sudden anger. I have not heard that particular tale anymore ...
From that day my mom happened to be more and more busy in the evenings, and not to remain without a tale I was allowed to watch TV, or listening to one of my favourite CDs. But it was not as good as listening to the tales together.
And why are these moments still so unforgettable for me? Partially, because of the various adventures I was living through. I was anxiously waiting to hear about the fate of my favourite heroes every evening, and I felt as if even I would become a participant of the tales. I am still grateful for this all, as it was her whom I have received the love for tales, and thus the love of books from.
However listening to tales would not have probably remained such a wonderful memory itself without being surrounded by the tranquillity and intimacy raised by my mother’s holding hands, by the warmth of her body, by her scent, and by her soft voice. During the day when I was accompanying my mother somewhere, helped her shopping or just find something at home, I often felt the weight of responsibility on my shoulders. But in the evenings during those minutes I became a child again, a true child having nothing to fear of, being protected by motherly arms, falling asleep while listening to her loving heartbeat after a long, tiring day.
(Remark: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious.)