Wednesday, March 31, 2010

wound to do

'PRICES SLASHED,' said the gentleman. 'EVERYTHING MUST GO.'

'You're quite right,' said the elephant. 'Everything must, in one way or another, go. One does what one is wound to do. It is expected of me that I walk up and down in front of my house; it is expected of you that you drink tea. and it si expected of this young mouse that he go out into the world with his father and dance in a circle.'

'But I don't want to,' said the mouse child, and he began to cry. It was an odd, little, tinny, rasping, sound, and father and son both rattled with it.

'There, there,' said the father, 'don't cry. Please don't.' Toys all around the shop were listening. 'He'd better stop that,' they said.

It was the clock that spoke next, startling them with his flat brass voice. 'I might remind you of the rules of clockwork,' he said. 'No talking before midnight and after dawn, and no crying on the job.'
                                                                                       From The Mouse and his Child, Russell Hoban.

Remember this?

Next on the list (not that one, but just on my reading one): The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz.*


*It's taken me all this time, Cat. What can I say?


km said...

I smell a conspiracy. First you post that Redon painting, then you post about this writer whose wiki page makes a reference to Redon.

//Such a lovely excerpt. I've not read this writer before (though I've heard of one of his other books for children.

Space Bar said...

km: a coincidence, i assure you! there are other coincidences, but those will keep.

Banno said...

'Wound to do'... that seems pretty much what all of us are.

Cheshire Cat said...

"It's taken me all this time, Cat. What can I say?"

Maybe it was wound to do?

JP said...

I'm very fond of Hoban's novels for older readers, but I've never read his children's books.