Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Question and Answer

Kate Roberts

In the 'twenties I had a small nephew living in Liverpool who was very fond of listening to stories from anyone with the patience to tell him one. As children will, he would ask questions of the story-teller as he went along, eager to know the fate of the characters in the tale, not wanting to know what would happen to them but what they would say. If you paused for a moment, the question would be on the tip of his tongue, 'And what did he or she say?' And so on, right to the end, and of course there never was an end to the story, because you always had to think up a reply to the question, 'What did he say?' I never once heard him ask, 'What happened next?' For him, what was important was what was said, not what happened.

The boy died in 1925 when he was only eight-and-a-half years old, and after his death they came across some little stories he had written. Although he had never been taught Welsh, except for a little in the Sunday School, and though he had heard only what was spoken in his own home, his Welsh was perfectly good. He had used to spend his summer holidays at Rhosgadfan and it was there all his stories were set. One was about a boy skating on the frozen brook near his grandmother's house, our house. In this story there was a dog with the boy, running at his side. At the bottom end of the brook the ice gave way and the boy went under. '"Bow-wow," said the dog, but he got no answer.' That's how the story ended. The answer was important for bringing the story to an end. It was what proved to him that the boy had been drowned. Someone older than a child would have been content to say merely that the boy had gone under.

I remember an old preacher who came to preach occasionally where we used to live. He was doubtless a godly man, but he was also a very feeble preacher. One Sunday afternoon he had been preaching on 'the best of meats and the finest of wines'. It was too warm an afternoon to pay much attention to such delicacies. The sermon turned out to be as inept as ever, and as we made our way past the deacons' pew on our way out, and the old preacher was coming down the steps of the pulpit, we heard one of the deacons say to him, 'You were pretty good, really': one has to be hypocritical sometimes. And the old saint replied, with the sound of great weeping in his voice, 'Only trying to say something, you know.' I can still hear the sound

-102-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 238

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?