by Jan Skacel
Dear friends, you have asked me for a piece on animals.
Please forgive me; I would like to help you, and I have been working
with you for many years, but this is simply too much for me.
I mean that it is morally too much for me. It would be
impudence on my part, as a mere human, to write about animals, natural
and beautiful creatures who refuse to wage wars, to rob, to lie and to
bear illegitimate children.
It's just a pity that animals cannot write. It would be
interesting to see what they'd write about us humans (that is, if the
printers would dare to print it). But why would a cow, ant or
nightingale do such a thing? They've got more important things at hand.
The birds, for example, start singing at dawn. People can't manage that.
But now that I'm writing, I cannot conceal my regret
that animals are inexorably repressed by people. It's a sign of the
decline of mankind. I have heard an urban child visiting the country for
the first time asks why cows have gloves between their legs. This child
had been to the zoo to see a tiger, a Przewalski's horse, and iguana and
an elephant, yet at age nine, he was frightened when he saw a goat.
Formerly, people rode on horses. But that was also an
injustice: I cannot understand why a being as imperfect and, on the
whole, as ugly as a human has the right to sit on the back of a being as
beautiful and delicate as a horse. It should be the other way round, but
the human is too feeble to carry the horse. To make up for this
inferiority, we invented metal animals that stink [and] are called cars.
Even a flea is more intelligent than a human. A certain
biologist and flea specialist swore that a flea could find the single
spot on the human body -- between the shoulder blades where even a
circus acrobat cannot scratch.
Forgive me, dear friends, for this indignant tone. I'm
sure you understand. I shall end. I'm sorry I cannot respond to your
Let me, in conclusion, add one more proof of the
superiority of the animal kingdom over the kingdom of man; animals
cannot speak or print newspaper, they don't have radio, and instead of
the television, they look at the beautiful world of God.
Jan Skacel (1922-1989), a Czech poet and writer, was
harassed by the communist regime and allowed to publish only
occasionally toward the end of his life. This collection of short
stories of which this article forms a part was published only after the
regime had collapsed.
Source: [email protected] (KSPADM - Sumathi)
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