The blood of the oak

N. Lygeros

Translated from the French by Vicky Baklessi

In the end it was not much. At least that was what the visitors thought when they left the crypt. The noise that had surprised them was that of the fall of a tree. Only a little girl lives in this tree, an oak in blood in the azure.
- You should have kept her in your arms.
- You know she loves statues.
- Everyone was looking at us.
- She didn’t do anything wrong. She just touched the foot of the recumbent effigy.
Her parents did not know she was approaching the recumbent effigy of the stonemason. She had been attracted by the letters of iron. She had already seen them somewhere in the grandparents' house. Without knowing why, the recumbent effigy reminded her of her grandfather when he was young. So she could not help leaving a swallow on the head of the recumbent effigy. She missed her grandfather so much. It was only after she had touched his foot. She wanted to tell him she would come back to see him. She felt her mother's hand on her buttocks.
- Why did you touch the effigy?
- I do not know.
- Don’t you know that we don’t do that?
That was her mother's favorite question. She knew she shouldn’t answer it. She was sad for the oak.
You ‘re going to make her cry. You do not see she's on the verge of tears?
His mother leaned towards her. As she saw a big tear about to burst, she felt hurt and kissed her little girl.
- You should have kept her in your arms.
The little one leaned her head on her mother's chest. She said nothing more. Her mother took her in her arms to console her. She passed by the oak without even looking at it. She was too preoccupied with her daughter and her gesture. She had the impression that the whole society was pointing its finger at her.

The father examined the fallen tree. It was impressive in size and especially in form. Unconsciously it reminded him of the battering rams to break the gates. He thought that this oak would have made an excellent battering ram.

-Doesn’t that remind you of anything?

His wife did not answer. She was trying to get away as quickly as possible from the ridiculous. As for the little girl, she thought of the recumbent effigy and the codex. Her grandfather too had strange books. She promised to look for them. And she felt that she was making this promise to the recumbent effigy. She would learn to read the letters of iron just for him and her grandfather. That would be their secret.

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