Posted in illustrations, tagged art, Benny Thomas, children's stories, friendship, give and take, Otto, Pipi-Lippi-Pi, sky writing, two way street on November 29, 2012 |
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Now for the Story:
THE AMAZING PIPI-LIPPI-PI ©
Name of the author: Benny Thomas
Long long ago there was an old farmer. One day he called his only son and said, ”Our farm is gone. I can no longer take care of you.”
Otto, his son was sad. His father hated to see tears in his son’s eyes. So he brought a bird from inside and said, “Go, take this bird along with you. Try your luck elsewhere!”
Young Otto asked his father if he could have some cash instead. He shook his head and said,” No son, I haven’t a cent to spare.”
So Otto went off with a bird. A bird with a strange name. Pipi-Lippi-Pi.
He walked a good length with his bird and wondered if he could make some money by selling him. Otto found no bird ever surpassed Pipi in appearance. His plumage was more colorful than that of a rainbow. His tail was as long as the tail of a comet. His comb was far magnificent than that of a rooster. Neither was his long neck any less grand. It was as graceful as that of a swan but speckled. He pecked at grains with his golden beak. His eyes were rubies of rare quality. In short in splendor no bird was a match for him.
Pipi-Lippi-Pi was almost perfect. “ But can you make my fortune?” Otto wondered loud,” It is money that I need now!” He began to feel hungry and he went around asking folks if he could find a buyer for his bird. “ No, you can’t!” one said,” If it could fly I might have bought it myself.” A little later another said,” Your bird is of no use. It can’t speak.” Otto was very sad that Pipi-Lippi-Pi was not perfect enough to feed him.
The boy led the bird along through villages and towns. Much as he tried to sell him he had no luck. At the market place of one town one fellow who was of his age said, ”You will never sell him the way you are going about it.”He added,”I shall teach you free.” Otto thought he found a true friend at last. Next day his friend whose name was Light Fingers said how to make some easy money. “Without money in your pocket you cannot sell a bird such as Pipi- Lippi-Pi.”
That night Otto went with the bird to a park bench. Before he slept the bird startled him by speaking. “ Be careful of Light Fingers.” Otto was stunned.
“But Light Fingers is my friend!” Otto protested, ”He himself said so.” The bird was sure no true friend would ever want his friend to get into trouble. The bird said nothing more.
Otto thought over the warning. Thinking it over and over he thought the bird was right. So he gave slip that very night to Light Fingers. On the way they came by a lion tamer that went along with a lion. King Zappo offered to teach the bird all the tricks. “Without tricks, no crowd. No crowd, no money!” Zappo cajoled the boy to let the bird keep company with his Leo. He assured the awkward bird would improve from example. Otto thought it was a good offer. The bird warned him,” Did you see how Leo is reduced to eat straw?”
”Isn’t that a trick?”
“If that is a trick worth teaching a lion I am an elephant!” Otto thought the bird was right.
The bird on reaching the Big City told him thus, “I feel sorry for you. So trusting, especially those whom you ought to be careful about.” Otto did not mind some plain speaking. ‘That is what friends for.’ he knew.
A few days later Pipi-Lippi-Pi explained why he felt friendly towards him. “Since the time we began this trip, you took care of me first before you attended to your own needs.” Pipi-Lippi-Pi was certain that Otto was his friend.
Pippi told him how to make a tidy sum. He urged him to meet the mayor of the city. He went directly to the Town Hall. He asked the worshipful mayor for a large area for putting up a show. The mayor naturally raised objections but Pipi had rehearsed with him how he should deal with the mayor, and he did accordingly. Otto spoke well and the worshipful mayor in the end gave him a stadium for his use.
The mayor gave such a publicity that everyone in the city wanted to see the show.
As a result Otto collected a great sum in advance.
On the appointed day the whole city had turned up. Those sponsors who had paid millions saw the bird strut like a barnyard fowl and became angry. “What publicity is this? We want our money back!”
Otto coaxed them, ”Wait till the end.” Then he went back stage and whispered to the bird, ”My reputation is now in your hands. What will you do?”
The bird laughed again.
When his turn came to perform the bird ran a few paces and to the amazement of all, took to air and spread his wings. He flapped his wings till feathers fell like leaves of trees in a storm. These wrote as if by magic, the names of the products of sponsors.
Such a sky writing none had ever seen! The mayor gasped in wonder; so did the sponsors who knew their products got wide publicity. Otto became rich beyond his dreams. He asked the bird, ”I never knew you could fly!”
“Yes, that is what I also thought!”
Otto and Pipi went back to the farm. His father could not believe. But when he got his farm back he realized he owed all to Pipi-Lippi-Pi who remained by the side of Otto for life. A true friend.
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These days have been trying for me. A good friend of mine of some 50 years standing lost his only son. He was 38 years and suffered from autism, – a severe case at that,and was put in a group home which he seemed to like. Weekends he would come home and splurge on things he had a yen for. I know how his disability put demands on the entire family and my friend was life long concerned for his well being. He is devastated and in this it has affected me as well. I know he shall pull through from his bereavement but till he is able to give a place in his heart for the loss he will have to deal with it as a father losing his only son. Love means the ability to suffer and if it is a good thing or bad thing I do not know. It is a sign of our strength and also our humanity that we are not proof to shocks and taunts of our mortality. Friendship also is bare and vulnerable.
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My grandchild is turning 8 today. Nina, here is something from your Pake. Have lots of fun! b.
BEAR BRUNO MAKES A FRIEND ©
In the middle of a forest lived a family of bears. Bear Bruno was the youngest of three black bears. His older brothers had left home early. They hardly wrote home. It made Mama Bear sometimes cry a little. After drying her eyes she would call Baby Bruno to her side. She always had cookies at hand. From a jar she would give Papa Bear one cookie and tell him. “Not a crumb more! The rest is for Baby Bruno!” Baby Bruno loved cookies. Especially Crispies, and it was sensational! One cookie made his mouth water; and two made him smile but three cookies in one go made always a bellyful. Mama Bear wanted Bruno to stay home always. “I have a baby to cuddle,” she would say hugging her baby. When she was done she would hasten to her kitchen to make more Crispies. “Oh let him alone, ”Papa Bear would growl in reply, ”Baby Bruno tips 100- kilo on my weighing machine and he raids my honey-reserve.” Mama Bear always had a hard time to make him shut up.
Papa Bear loved his son. So much so he expected to grow him to be as strong and hard working as he was. “So sonny,” he would admonish often, ”make the best of your time.” Bruno knew what his papa would say next. So he was sure to complete it for him, ”Coming of age is when you work.” Every morning when he went off with his wife in tow he told his son to go out and enjoy himself. He was alone most of the time. However he knew how to enjoy himself. He would carry a pack of Crispies and set out. He loved to explore wild places. He always came home in time. He had once found a trail that took him to a clearing. It was his secret that he did not share it with any.
One spring day Bear Bruno went to the clearing. In the middle of a forest. He intended to be there for a few days. Having pitched his tent on a nice spot he took out various articles he had brought. He set them in their proper places and he came out. The night was mellow and there was a beautiful moon overhead. He stretched himself on the ground. Never had he stopped to look at it closely. He could also see stars here and there. He got up and said, “I am the only one who has seen this!” He stood there lost in wonder. ” I wish I could share this wonderful moment with another!” said he.
He saw some clouds coming into view. Those wisps of clouds were shining with all that starlight above. He jumped about in excitement and began waving in all directions. The clouds floated lazily and took no notice of him.
“Stop by, Stop by, please!” he shouted at the top of his voice. But the clouds went on unmindful of his cries. He wanted tell them what was so dear to his heart. He was going to work beginning next Summer. “I have come of age!” he shouted with all the zest of a bear who had a honeycomb for the first time.
The night was clear and the smell and sounds from far carried by the wind reached him. Then he stopped. He heard sounds coming from his tent.
Someone was in his tent!
‘Chomp! Chomp!’ the sound went on and on. “Whoever it is, it is eating my apples!” Bear Bruno cried. With a growl he hurried to his tent and he saw apples scattered about. In the middle stood a rat dining on an apple!
The rat burped and looked as if he owned the place. Bear Bruno standing at the entrance could not believe! The rat said ‘Excuse me,” before he burped second time, “A sorry sight isn’t it? Eating in a hurry doesn’t agree with me.” Before Bear Bruno could gather his wits about, the rat announced, ”I am a water-rat but don’t mind me, I rather prefer cider to water!” He said it in all seriousness. Not a whisker was out of place and his eye did not shift while the bear checked the damage he did to his provisions, ”Thousand apologies Hon’able Bear, I thought it was dinner time.”
Bruno said,” If you want to be friends with me cut out fancy talk. Do I look like a judge?” The rat shook his head. “I am plain Bruno and not hon’able Bear.” He said.
”I am Jamie the rat,” the rat replied in all seriousness, ”I think I found me a friend.” He shot out his hand which Bear Bruno took and said, ”Yes, friend.” The bear led him into the open. Looking at the shadow cast by the moonlight Bear Bruno declared, ”Look Jamie!” He then pointed to the sky to say,” Look at that moon over there. Isn’t it so extraordinary!” They stood there lost in wonder. Jimmy the rat observed, ”Whenever I watch the moon shining so brightly I always go for Crispies.”
“You love Crispies?”
“Do I love Crispies?” the rat replied,” the word love, my friend Bruno, is weak. What I feel is much more. I could bite on a cookie and say million things about the moon and the stars. Any time!”
“You mean Crispies,” Bear Bruno asked. His eyes were wide and he asked hoarsely, ”those cookies with raisins and hazel nuts?”
“Oh yes,” the rat exclaimed, ”the same thing. Crispies add something to the moon, I dare say.” Jamie eyed Bear Bruno as he went back to the tent and came out with a pack of Crispies.
He offered the pack and Jamie took one.
“What a beautiful night!” said Jamie the rat. “What a beautiful night,” added Bear Bruno. They ate crisp cookies by the light of the moon. They knew they were friends. They had eaten their fill and enjoyed watching the moon together.
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Intimate Lighting (Intimni osvetleni to the Czech) is quintessentially a Czech New Wave film. It follows the visit of musician Petr (Bezusek) and his betrothed to old friends in a small country town. A moving tribute by Ivan Passer (who was Milos Forman’s co-writer ‘If There Were No Music’ or Kdyby ty muziky nebyly, 1963) to the pleasures of friendship the film retains a wistful, gently comic and affecting tone throughout. Lasting an admirably tight 72 minutes, it invites us to share a weekend in the countryside with six couples and two small children. During this period a series of outwardly unexceptional events and conversations take place; and it is to the credit of the filmmaker that such intimate grouping and their interaction do not peter out into self indulgent free-for all but each scene freely flows to another and at the same throw up a great many truths that are revealing of ourselves from the particular to the general. It is the last Czech film by Ivan Passer, a sympathetically directed study of belonging and feel for the place.
Music plays a large part in the film, beginning with a provincial orchestra essaying Dvorak Cello Concerto predictably without fire and passion and the string quartet rehearsal that for the first time establishes common ground between the three leading men. Among other things there is a brass band accompanying a funeral procession or Grandfather’s snoring which crop up as a leitmotif of provincial life expressed in musical terms.
Petr (Zdeněk Bezušek) and his girlfriend Štěpa (Věra Křesadlová, Forman’s wife at the time) live in Prague and they return to the country to visit Bambas (Karel Blažek) and the latter’s unnamed father (Forman regular Jan Vostrčil). Bambas still nurses some grudge since he was left behind to work as a school administrator and it pops recurringly in their conversation.
Passer delicately counterpoints their low-level squabbling (which, as so often in real life, is never really resolved). Whereas their women hold a more down-to-earth attitude. In addition to Štěpa, there’s no-nonsense housewife and mother Maruš (Jaroslava Štědrá), and Bambas’ unnamed mother (Vlastimila Vlková), who believes that she was abducted by a travelling circus when young.
The lightness of Passer’s touch recalls Jean Renoir at his peak, and comparisons with the latter’s Partie de Campagne (1936) are not out of place. Like Jean Renoir Passer opted to work in America and sadly nothing as remotely touching the promise he had shown in Intimate Lighting came to fruition. Forman’s regular cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček (whose work was completed by Josef Střecha after Ondříček went off halfway to work for Lindsay Anderson) manages to make the lighting look both meticulous and deceptively casual, the slightly off-centre compositions giving an off-the-cuff feel that is in keeping with overall tone of the film as a whole. The scenes with Bambas’ children are small miracles of choreography and cutting, especially Štěpa and little Kaja’s peek-a-boo game interweaving itself into an early conversation, or the dinner-table scene in which a chicken leg changes plate three times before being accidentally drenched.
Passer has a wonderful eye for absurd but strangely congruous juxtaposition, with first a white then a black kitten held up outside the open window for the string quartet’s reluctant enjoyment, or the incident with the chickens and the car, its bloody conclusion rendered oddly poetic by a perfectly-formed egg rolling up to the corpse. ‘The film’s final shot is too delicious to spoil, but Pauline Kael’s description of it as “a freeze-frame closing gag that’s so funny and so completely dotty that you’re not likely to forget it” is right on the money.’(quoted from filmjournal)
For a non-professional actor, Blažek does an extraordinary job of conveying Bambas’ inner melancholy, though it turned out that part of the reason was that he was dying of leukaemia, succumbing just six weeks after shooting finished and never seeing the finished film.
1965, black and white, 72 mins
* Director: Ivan Passer
* Screenplay: Jaroslav Papoušek, Ivan Passer, Václav Šašek
* Story: Václav Šašek (’Something Else’)
* Photography: Miroslav Ondříček, Josef Střecha
* Editor: Jiřina Lukešová
* Design: Karel Černý
* Music: Oldřich Korte, Josef Hart
* Cast: Karel Blažek (Bambas); Zdeněk Bezušek (Petr); Věra Křesadlová (Štěpa); Jan Vostrčil (grandfather); Jaroslava Štědrá (Maruš); Vlastimila Vlková (grandmother); Karel Uhlík (chemist); Miroslav Cvrk (Kája); Dagmar Ředinová (young Maruš)
• Crew: Adolf Böhm (sound); František Sandr (production manager); Ludmila Tikovská, Věra Winkelhöferová (production representatives); Jiří Růžička (assistant director); Jiří Stach (stills); Barrandov Studios plus location shooting in Tábor and Mirotice
check out the other blog of the author:cinebuff.wordpress.com
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