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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Interpolation by John von Daler


I knew an old man who had traveled a
lot - by foot - through Europe in the thirties.

    Later, in the sixties, he would tell stories,
mostly from his travels. You could visit him,
have a glass of wine or whiskey, perhaps some
bread and cheese, and converse or just listen to
him talk.
    If you had known him as I had for many
years, you might have noticed that the stories
got repeated - or that part of one story would
suddenly be spliced into another. But however
they were arranged, they meant something
important in relation to the subject being
discussed at the table.
    He was not a rich man and he had no
love for the upper classes in Denmark. When
he started weaving in and out of his tales, I
would sometimes tease him by pointing out
that he could have been a character by
Karen Blixen, telling stories so meaningful
that they could cause duels to be fought or love
to be declared.
    He would peer over the top of his reading
glasses, his pipe in one hand, his wine in the
other, his long, thin, grey beard almost touching
the Crottin de Chavignol on his plate. You could
see he was irritated. Then he would growl, "The
Baroness wouldn't have given me the time
of day!"
    It is no good thing to know your storyteller
too well. Just listen to the tale.

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