A delightful exchange between the boy György Faludy, and a friend, or at least acquaintance, of his grandfather’s. I loved the man’s playfully evasive response when Faludy asked him who he was, and his further retorts when the boy played back to him his own words.
‘Uncle, who are you?’
‘Difficult question,’ the stranger smiled. ‘I have been asking myself that question for the last fifty years but I still haven’t found the answer. Let’s turn the question around. Who do you think I am?’
‘Somebody who cuts people’s throats.’
‘Who told you that?’
‘You said so to my grandfather at the pub. You said you wanted to finish Simon Pan.’
‘True, I did say that, but I meant it figuratively…’
Surely, one of the most dreaded phrases used by children towards grown ups is, ‘But you said…’ Remember you can always wriggle out of it by saying … ‘Yes, but I meant it figuratively…’
The image was the nearest I could find to an old man in a friendly exchange with a young boy, and it’s an illustration from Treasure Island.
Source: György Faludy, My Happy Days in Hell, trans. by Kathleen Szasz (London: Penguin Classics, 2010 (1962)), p. 21
Image credit: Newell Convers Wyeth, illustration from Treasure Island (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933), courtesy of Old Book Illustrations