Sredni Vashtar

Sredni Vashtar

author Saki 

illustrations of Francesca Pusceddu 

 

 

  

 

 

 

September 2019 

8 years and older, pages 48, cm. 21 x 29.7 

isbn 0000, € 16,00 

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Conradin is ten and lives with Mrs De Ropp, who is both his cousin and stern tutor. She secretly enjoys her frequent reproaches and the harsh punishments and privations to which she subjects him, including butter and toasted bread. Little Conradin escapes into his fervent imagination, and hides in an old shed at the bottom of the garden, inhabited by an old hen and a ferret, where he is safe from the eyes of all. The animal becomes for the child a powerful exotic deity: Sredni Vashtar. In his devotion, Conradin attributes every little or great misfortune that happens to his tutor to the intervention of the god with sharp teeth and coarse pelt. Until the day when his visits to the shed alarm the cousin who promptly goes and investigates. Conradin can only pray: “Do something, Sredni Vashtar!” Locked in the house the boy watches anxiously from behind the window: it is a long time, too long, he thinks, for her to be face to face with the animal. It is then that the cousin finds out what has happened, barely a few moments after a ferret sneaks toward the bushes, and only an instant before Conradin spreads a heap of butter on his second slice of toast.Saki, in what is considered by many to be his best story, makes us reflect on the obtuseness of the world of the adults and the redemption of childhood that is mirrored in the big eyes, deep as wells, tender and cruel, drawn by Francesca Pusceddu, recreating the anxiety of words in her picture in her first extraordinary demonstration.