While waiting in the museum today for Alex to finish his morning shift, so we could enjoy our lunch together I happened upon a family of 4 – the parents, along with their twin baby girls , of about 3 years of age. The little girls were playing with a tablet (something which still surprises me to see…honestly…every time…despite living in Virtus for quite some time now) while the parents were trying to decide which room to look at first. I was smiling to myself watching the intensity with which one of the girls was looking at a Snow White video on her tablet, while the other was gradually loosing interest until she started reaching for her mother. She immediately picked her up, cuddled her and started singing to her the infamous
‘London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair Lady’
The little girl started yawning and soon enough she was napping in her mother’s arms. Instinctively I could not help but thinking about my own mother trying to put me to bed… I do not really have recollections of that. I have images and thoughts, possibly based on what my father had told me, or simply by my imagination.
My father used the exact same nursery rhyme for as long as I can remember… the one he told me my mother used to sing. Perhaps he did that in an attempt to keep her memory alive in my mind. Yet again it could be my mind playing games: she is holding me in her arms, cradling me, her long line of wavy blond hair twisting in my fingers and a sweet voice singing.
There are so many nursery rhymes that are many hundreds of years old. Like ‘Jack Sprat’ for example. Funny song for a nursery rhyme this one. Impossible as it may sound, it still is a popular one even today, despite dating back from the late 15th century; folk, tradition and things that we generally associate with the ‘story’ as a narrative form, can withstand the passing of time and remain solid in several cultures even today, when technology seems to overshadow everything else. Stories are still powerful, as always is in stories, or myths, or fairy tales that we are first introduced to as children, that we humans find comfort in the most. That’s why they never grow old and we still speak of the Arthurian legend, or the story of Snow White which for example can first be traced back in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphosis’. There’s s certain quality to them and it’s no chance that many cultures held their folk stories and fairy tales as paradigms of ethos, strong ideals, or as something to live up to, or something to avoid.
No matter how much the world changes, no matter how much technology advances, it is good to know that some things, remain the same. It is very reassuring for me to know that even in these modern times there’s a little bit space left for the simple and old-fashioned, yet essential old world?