Books of my grandfather, or what you need French for


When I was I don’t remember how old (or young), and couldn’t read, I loved playing with books of my grandpa. Those were leather-bound old volumes with crispy yellow pages and engravings I loved to watch but couldn’t really understand.

I was a sweet child. This is my photo from approximately that time. With a mushroom.


Could you NOT give this sweet boy granddad’s old books to play with? So, grandma would give them to me, but would always accompany her permission with a lecture about being careful, having clean hands, and not tearing the pages. And show me you hands again! And no pens around!

I was dreaming of reading these books one day, because I knew all little people eventually learn to read.

When that day came, I found out the books were mostly in French, some in Italian, and a few in German. And my favourite ones were 100% French. My language was Russian. That was my first big disappointment in life, maybe even bigger than the one I felt about that girl from my kindergarten who seemed to like me, but whose parents moved to another city right after I started having high hopes for our future together. I still remember the girl’s name. And that she had coal-black hair. And really dark eyes. And a smile some girls would kill for.


Since then, I’ve been dreaming of learning French. Not on and off. Like, constantly. Alas, my studies, work and the general course of my life pushed me towards English. People keep asking me “why haven’t you done it  yet? Learn it!”.


Yes, I still have the books. They sit in one of the shelves that I can see daily. You see, I am very attached to those books.

Maybe I am afraid to learn French, read the books and get disappointed?

I don’t know, or, rather don’t want to really know the answer. I have even come up with a justification for my inaction: in today’s world, you need English to earn money, and French to spend it. I am still in the earning phase.

But is there something you can but don’t do even though you think you want it badly?

PS This is written in response to the Daily Prompt: Describe an item you were incredibly attached to as a child. What became of it?


    1. Because reading the real thing would make me younger by about 40 years. Reading the actual book will make my childhood’s dream come true. I was not dreaming of learning what’s inside the book, but of the reading process, turning the yellow pages and understanding their meaning 😉 Plus, some of the books, like the History of Czars of 1725, have not been translated.

It would be grand to hear from you now!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: