Il ripostiglio (The Lumber Room)

Il ripostiglio (The Lumber Room)

author Saki 

illustrations of Cinzia Ghigliano 




collection: album



January 2018 

6 years and older, pages 36, cm. 22 x 22 

isbn 0000, € 15,00 

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Nicholas has found a frog in his bowl of milk. Despite the incredulity of all the adult people, “older, wiser and better than him” –first and foremost the aunt of his cousins-, he absolutely doesn’t want to eat his infested breakfast: he knows that is all true, since he is the one that let the amphibian take a dive into the milk bowl! A punishment is essential and Nicholas is denied the supposed privilege of going to the beach with the other children. He will stay with the old aunt, expert in punishment for wicked children, who includes in the penance a prohibition to enter the gooseberry garden. But the aunt doesn’t know that, contrary to what Nicholas will let her believe strategically and astutely, his desired place is neither the beach nor the gooseberry garden, but the lumber room. A place, secret, mysterious and dimly lit that, once reached, won’t disappoint his expectations and will stir his imagination: a piece of tapestry with a hunter who has hunted a stag, but will the hunter save himself from the four wolves that are stalking him? Then immediately a duck-shaped teapot and then a carved sandalwood box get his attention. And then a book, at first unpromising, from which, once opened, “go flying out” a myriad different birds never seen before. The shrill shrieks of the aunt jolt Nicholas out from his paradise: looking for him, she has fallen into the empty rain-water tank and wants him to help her get out from there. What better way to make fun of her? Yet he is barred from the garden, and what's more, it doesn’t even seems to be the aunt’s voice; it must surely be the Devil who wants to tempt him… better to sneak off! The night falls, the aunt has been saved by a maid, the children have come back form the beach; the atmosphere is quite disgruntled and nobody speaks: because of the high tide they couldn’t enjoy the beach. Also silent, Nicholas is absorbed in his thoughts, he imagines that the huntsman on the tapestry will escape while the wolves devour the deer… Published in 1914 as part of the short story collection by Saki titled Beasts and Super-Beasts, The Lumber Room is one of the highest expressions of his delightfully cynical juxtaposing the societal conventions and the “demoniac” side of childhood. A cynicism perfectly supported and enhanced by the pungent and slightly retro style of the wonderful illustrations by Cinzia Ghigliano.