November 08, 2008

My Oldest Book.


During my childhood summers, I spend several weeks with my grandparents in Prague. Those were the times in which I grew to love that city and that love has remained with me till this day. The particular atmosphere I remember is by long gone, but inside my heart and my mind, I carry all the precious memories that connect me to a specific time and place, that I will always cherish.
While staying in the old apartment with my grandparents, I was allowed to read a very special book. It was very unique to me, as it was a book with the tales of Prague, the city. I loved that book and perceived it to be very significant, as it was so heavy and large in my small hands. The cover captivated me; it depicts a man astride on a white horse, jumping of a cliff. One can sense clearly the feeling of resolution and determination not just in the posture of this man, but also in his face.

The man is called Horymir and he is riding his bellowed horse Semik (I often wondered whether Tolkien was inspired by some of the Slavic legends and used similar names for his heroes). This picture, painted by a famous Czech artist Mikolas Ales, is inspired by a legend, where Horymir, imprisoned in the Vysehrad castle asks for one last wish before his execution. He requests to be permitted a final ride on his horse around the castle yard. His wish is granted and after circling the yard a few times, the loyal horse obeys his master’s order and jumps over the castle wall and into the Vltava (Moldau) river below, bringing his master into safety. The king is so impressed by this courage, he grants Horymir his freedom.
It was one of my favorite stories of all.

After my grandparents passed away, this book was given to my parents, who later gave to me, knowing how much I loved reading it as a child. Today is not just the most treasured book I own, but being printed in 1937, also the oldest one.

8 comments :

Blog Princess G said...

What a delightful post Protege. The books of our childhood bring a sort of magic of memory to us, don't you think? And we can be taken back to that magical existence by delving into those pages again.

Hilary said...

Wow.. what a wonderful post. I could feel the comfort of that big book resting on your little lap as if I had been there. And I guess I was in some way.. in my own space, with my own books. What a magical memory.

Holly said...

I am delighted by this post. I am a collector of old books,and some of my fondest memories are linked to books. (Especially fairytales!!) I am so glad for you that this book was intrusted to you for its safe keeping. Obviously no one else would apreciate it the way you do.

You are bound to it :) :) hahaha
get it....bound?? Sorry, too much diet Coke and chocolate.;)

Diane said...

Diet Coke and chocolate have the same effect on Holly as they do on me (that, or we're both dorks and don't want to admit it ;).

I am tied to a book from my childhood in that way. It's a book of short stories, most of which I've never seen anywhere but in that volume. Not long after I got it, my dog chewed the spine. It looks all ratty and terrible, but it still holds a place of honor on my bookshelf.

Diane said...

Award at my place... come get it :)

Protege said...

G, I could not agree more. As children our imagination brings us anywhere we want; it is wonderful to be able to hold onto that magic from our childhood, that is linked to a book.

Hilary, you have a wonderful perception for beauty, which is hidden all around us, as you bring it out in your photographs and your writing; therefore I know you understand the sentiments in this post very well. Thank you for your kind words.

Holly, I know exactly what you mean about fairytales; I still recall fondly the time when my father read to us as children.
And yes, I get the "bound" joke and love it! Thank you for bringing a smile to my face. And I love coke and chocolate as well.:)

Diane, I guess all of us who enjoy reading, have those kinds of books. I guess the fact that it is chewed up by your dog makes it special in its own way.;)
Thank you for yet another award!:))

Mahmud Yussop said...

I love books, especially collecting historical value ones. So when I type 'oldest book' I arrived at your blog. Today I decided to be a follower. Keep up with the good work.

Protege said...

Thank you so much for stopping by Mahmud and also for your nice comments.:)