Throughout my young childhood, my father read me bedside stories whenever he was at home before my bedtime. Starting from Winnie the Pooh, we covered many of the world famous children’s literature such as The Little Prince, The Hobbit, Swallows and Amazons, Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver and more. Our bedside story started when I was two, and continued until when I was twelve or so.
During that time, my little brother was born. When he was still a baby, my mother would read him a picture book in another room while I was listening to my father’s bedside story. When he was old enough, he joined our bedside story. It was when we were reading Swallows and Amazons that my brother went to heaven after a difficult heart surgery.
After my brother’s departure, our bedside story continued. When we finished Swallows and Amazons, we started reading The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon.
One night, we were reading the short story called The Connemara Donkey. To be honest, it was a rather difficult story for a six year old to appreciate. There was nothing dramatic happening, and I couldn’t really get the point of this story. I was listening to the story puzzled and trying to understand it when suddenly my father broke into tears.
I had never seen my father cry like that before. Tears were streaming down his face, and he had hard time reading the story out loud. For the rest of the story, I was following my father’s expression. I wanted to understand why he was crying so hard, but as far as I listened to the story, there was nothing that I could cry about.
When he finished reading, I asked my father why he was crying. Instead of answering that question, he said,
“This story is too much. I can’t take it anymore, I can’t take it anymore!”
With that, he wished me good night and went to the next room. As I heard him explain to my mother how powerful the story was, I was looking at the ceiling with my eyes wide open, still trying to understand what it was about the story that got my father to cry that much.