ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here is today's freebie, inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. This also fills the "a sure thing" square on my 5-22-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.


"The Children's Garden"


It was a sure thing:
whenever Victor and Igor
went down to the village,
the children would follow them
asking incessant questions.

It was their own fault, really,
because the two scientists
found it difficult to resist
answering questions,
especially if they were distracted
when somebody asked.

Adam was standing now,
and would pull himself up
using the nearest person or object.
He tried to mimic the toddlers
but invariably plopped back down
after only a step or two.

Older siblings swirled around asking
why Adam looked funny and
when he would talk and
why Igor was buying dead sticks.

"They're not dead," Igor said.
"These are rosebushes.
See how the stems are green?
That means they're only sleeping.
Once I plant them, they'll wake up
and put out new leaves and flowers."

One six-year-old girl, Crina,
the dairyman's daughter,
liked to tag along behind Victor
and imitate his serious air.
"I want to be a scientist,"
she declared.

The village women rolled their eyes
and told her not to be silly,
but Victor encouraged her and
taught her the names of tools he bought.

On market days, Victor and Igor
would sit in the little garden
at the center of the village
that was planted with flowers
the children could play with safely
and bordered by sturdy benches
suitable for climbing upon.

Adam liked to play with Sorin,
a boy almost a year older than him,
with sun-bright hair and a ready laugh.
Sorin's father, the chandler,
was happy to pay Igor in candles
for minding the boy for an hour.

Igor showed the children
how to make letters on a slate,
teaching them nursery rhymes.
Brânduá¹£a was only four, but already
she had a knack for remembering things.

Sometimes the boisterous crowd
made Igor feel a bit uneasy,
but he was determined
to get comfortable with it
for Adam's sake.

Victor brought out baskets and balls
and assorted other toys, inviting
the children to play with them.
"What do you think will happen,"
he asked his little audience,
"if we throw a ball at the basket?"

"It will miss!"
"It will go in!"
"It will knock over the basket!"

The ball knocked over the basket,
and the lucky guesser received
a breskvice sweet as a prize.

The village had no regular teacher,
and so Victor and Igor proved
extremely popular with parents
and children alike.

People dropped off bricks of butter,
jugs of milk, bread wrapped in cloth,
fresh eggs nestled in hay, and
other useful things in trade.

Victor and Igor went home happy,
their wagon full of potted herbs and seeds,
Igor's precious roses, and a bushel basket
of assorted kitchen supplies.

Adam snoozed in Igor's lap,
exhausted from playing.

They hadn't intended
to become such a centerpiece
of the village, but apparently
if you took care of people
they started looking up to you.
It was a sure thing.

Victor and Igor found
that they didn't mind a bit.

* * *

Notes:

Kindergarten literally means "garden of children," a dual reference to cultivating knowledge and to educational play spaces in nature. Explore some preschool garden activities.

At eleven months, Adam is standing up and exploring the world.

Bare-root roses may be planted during winter for warm climates or spring for colder ones. Some of them really do look dead when you get them. Rose is a traditional herb garden plant which has many medicinal uses.

Small children can learn basic concepts of science. There are tips for teaching preschoolers about science within various environments.

Breskvice are Croatian sandwich cookies that look like peaches. They are made for special occasions or used as treats.

A staple of the gothic genre is ignorant villagers who typically respond to unusual events by breaking out the torches and pitchforks. Now suppose the scientists in the castle up the mountain start teaching people to think ...

YES, YES!

Date: 2014-06-17 10:58 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
TIMES ONE MILLION!

Thank you for this!

BRILLIANTLY done, and fluffy as cotton candy!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-18 02:39 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh, yes, I love this. :-) :-) :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-18 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janetmiles.livejournal.com
Now suppose the scientists in the castle up the mountain start teaching people to think ...

And also making themselves well-liked.

Yes...

Date: 2014-06-18 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
... which is going to come in useful when trouble arises.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-06-18 09:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fayanora.livejournal.com
Yeah, it's like Lyria's philosophy: treat your staff well, reward them for their good work and forgive mistakes, and you'll inspire loyalty. Lyria treats all of her staff members like family. Technically speaking, all of them save Forizano *are* her family, in that she created half of them and brought them up like her children, and the other half are grandchildren and great-grandchildren and so on, but still...

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-06-19 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Good for Lyria.

Kovid, my evil warlord-wizard, has a similar philosophy. All his staff know each other in each location, so it's impossible to slip in a spy that way -- and every time they spot one, they get rewarded. They love it when someone tries that. It's like hearing the bell on the ice cream truck.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-20 09:43 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
Show up, be helpful, treat people like people. Sounds familiar.

And good for Victor encouraging girls in STEM...

And HELLYEAH, teach them to think... they say music calms the savage beast; *education* calms a savage village.

Thank you!

Date: 2014-06-21 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Show up, be helpful, treat people like people. Sounds familiar. <<

I write about that a lot. It's a favorite fantasy of mine.

>> And good for Victor encouraging girls in STEM... <<

That's a combination of several things: his own personality, my interest in encouraging girls, and a desire to distinguish the village children based on their different knacks so they don't all blur together.

>> And HELLYEAH, teach them to think... they say music calms the savage beast; *education* calms a savage village. <<

It's going to take a while for that to soak in all the way, but they're making good progress. So far the villagers don't have a lot of education but they are mostly decent people. Add a pair of scientists to the mix and that gives everyone an opportunity to learn more if they wish. I really want to explore what would happen if the gothic scientist actually interacted with the local folk so they would not continue being ignorant villagers forever.

I'm in ur literature subvertin ur classes.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-06-21 01:05 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
I'm in ur literature subvertin ur classes.

LOLOLOL Nicely done! (Punning on "classes")

(no subject)

Date: 2014-08-30 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, this is so gorgeous! Lovely to see them being appreciated. And this:

"They hadn't intended
to become such a centerpiece
of the village, but apparently
if you took care of people
they started looking up to you."

So. Much. Love. <3

~Anony-mouse

(no subject)

Date: 2014-08-29 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] book-worm5.livejournal.com
I like this one. :-) Thinking villagers are likely to be much more helpful, as well as being a better circle of friends.

Yes...

Date: 2014-08-29 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Exactly! One ubiquitous trope in gothic literature is that of the ignorant, violent villagers. So I wanted to explore what would change if the scientists shared their knowledge instead. It reduces the chance of mishaps, or at least the number of people who can be talked into doing stupid shit.

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