Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Three Cantos

Monday we had rain, thunder and lightning in Tualatin. Kelly just had to go out and play in the rain. It'd been raining heavily for awhile, and backed off to a drizzle, so I let her, grabbing an umbrella to be near her. She was walking around in a shirt, shorts and sneakers. Soon she discovered the pools of water collected along the curb, and began to walk around in them.

"Kelly, you have to wear those shoes to school tomorrow, so you shouldn't get them wet," I said. Being the good father, I made her stop: "take your shoes off, and play in your sock feet."

So she got good and soaked, and I decreed that she had to take a hot bath. Once the tub was full, she asked me to stay with her. I didn't really want to just sit around while she played with bath toys, so I told her, "I'll stay if you let me read to you." She resisted, but relented.

I ran into the den, and returned with Allen Mandelbaum's translation of Dante's Inferno. Jean and I had been talking about it because I got Jean to read a modern adaptation written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Kelly had asked what it was about, and we explained some of the background of Dante's time, how revolutionary a work it was, some of the politics in it (putting his enemies in real life into the various circles of hell). So I decided to expose her to it. I said "I'm just going to read the first Canto, so you can get a feel for it."

Well, I read it to her, getting into the emotion of the story, and reached the end. "That's the end of the first Canto. Now you know what the feel of the story is like."

"Read more!"

"Really? Are you sure? He's going to enter Hell soon, and it'll get pretty icky then."

"I want to hear more."

So we read the first three Cantos. I don't expect to pick it up again soon. I've read the Inferno in three different translations on various occasions, and I always enjoy it, but I doubt Kelly will be in the mood more than this once. Still, it was fun doing such an atypical thing with her.

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