Georgi Kapchits

     Nin maqan tebiddii waa nin jooga ceebtii!


















Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings

                It is known that wisdom comes out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. Including, of course, the Somali ones. This fact has been reflected in many pieces of Somali folklore. Here is one of them: It was necessary to solve an important problem, and all the inhabitants of the nomadic camp - men, women and elders - came together for a council. They were thinking a long time about what should be done, estimated this and that, but could not arrive at a single opinion. At last somebody said: 'Let the elders decide. We shall do whatever they say.' All the people agreed. But there was a little boy sitting on the tree under which the meeting was being held. He heard how the discussion had ended. 'The decision must be made by the cleverest men, not by the oldest!' said he. 'He is right!' the astonished people said.

                A boy like this, about six years old, was sitting in the Somali class of the Frydenlundsskole in Arhus and looking at the man who, as he was told, came from Moscow to speak with the children in their native language. The teacher gave me the floor, but at that moment the boy raised his hand and said that he wanted to ask me a question. I understood that I would be examined and I was not mistaken. 'Have you written any books?' the boy asked. 'Yes' answered I. 'How many?' inquired he. 'Four.' I was confused, thinking that by the age of sixty I could have presented a more solid account. 'May I have a look?' I reached out to give the strict pupil the books, which I had luckily tucked into the bag before making for the school. He put them in front of him and started to turn over the pages, moving his lips.

                The meaning of the small strategist's action occurred to me some time later. He wanted to understand whether the gentleman was worthy to have been put on the plane in Moscow, to have been met with a car in Copenhagen and to have been taken by the ferry to Arhus in order to bring him finally to their classroom. It is wonderful that the boy, whose parents, though very young, had nevertheless been born before the Somali language acquired its script, chose a book for the testing.

           …Now, two months later, in snow-covered Moscow, I am writing a new book, the fifth one. Just in case.






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