Sunday, January 23, 2011

“nothing at all to do with human beings”

Here’s a gentle riposte to recent languages DIR blog posts. To set the scene I have to tell you that “borrowers” are small persons who live secretly in human houses. They meet their needs by borrowing from the excesses of the house – a sock here, a thumbtack there, a broken cookie or corner of cheese.

Young Arrietty is new to her Aunt Lupy’s (which is hidden behind the lath & plaster of the wall) and she has learned that Lupy makes clothes for another borrower who is seen by everyone else as something of a wild thing – unlike the others he lives most the time out of doors. Homily is Arrietty’s mother.

”It’s very kind of you to make his suits,” said Arrietty …

“It’s only human,” said Lupy.

“Human!” exclaimed Homily, startled by the choice of word.

“Human – just short like that – means kind,” explained Lupy, remembering that Homily, poor dear, had had no education … “It’s got nothing at all to do with human beings. How could it have?”

source: The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers by Mary Norton

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