The golden age by kenneth grahame

The Golden Age

By
Kenneth Grahame

“‘T IS OPPORTUNE TO LOOK BACK UPON OLD TIMES, AND
CONTEMPLATE OUR FOREFATHERS. GREAT EXAMPLES GROW
THIN, AND TO BE FETCHED FROM THE PASSED WORLD.
SIMPLICITY FLIES AWAY, AND INIQUITY COMES AT LONG
STRIDES UPON US.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE

Contents

PROLOGUE – THE OLYMPIANS
A HOLIDAY
A WHITE-WASHED UNCLE
ALARUMS AND EXCURSIONS
THE FINDING OF THE PRINCESS
SAWDUST AND SIN
“YOUNG ADAM CUPID”
THE BURGLARS
A HARVESTING
SNOWBOUND
WHAT THEY TALKED ABOUT
THE ARGONAUTS
THE ROMAN ROAD
THE SECRET DRAWER
“EXIT TYRANNUS”
THE BLUE ROOM
A FALLING OUT
“LUSISTI SATIS”

PROLOGUE: THE OLYMPIANS

Looking back to those days of old, ere the gate shut behind me, I
Can see now that to children with a proper equipment of parents
These things would

have worn a different aspect. But to those
Whose nearest were aunts and uncles, a special attitude of mind
May be allowed. They treated us, indeed, with kindness enough as
To the needs of the flesh, but after that with indifference (an
Indifference, as I recognise, the result of a certain stupidity),
And therewith the commonplace conviction that your child is
Merely animal. At a very early age I remember realising in a
Quite impersonal and kindly way the existence of that stupidity,
And its tremendous influence in the world; while there grew up in
Me, as in the parallel case of Caliban upon Setebos, a vague
Sense of a ruling power, wilful and freakish, and prone to the
Practice of vagaries – “just choosing so:” as, for instance, the
Giving of authority over us to these hopeless and incapable
Creatures, when it might far more reasonably have been given to
Ourselves over them. These elders, our betters by a trick of
Chance, commanded no respect, but only a certain blend of envy –
Of their good luck – and pity – for their inability to make use of
It. Indeed, it was one of the most hopeless features in their
Character (when we troubled ourselves to waste a thought on them:
Which wasn’t often) that, having absolute licence to indulge in
The pleasures of life, they could get no good of it. They might
Dabble in the pond all day, hunt the chickens, climb trees in the
Most uncompromising Sunday clothes; they were free to issue forth
And buy gunpowder in the full eye of the sun – free to fire
Cannons and explode mines on the lawn: yet they never did any one
Of these things. No irresistible Energy haled them to church o’
Sundays; yet they went there regularly of their own accord,
Though they betrayed no greater delight in the experience than
Ourselves.

On the whole, the existence of these Olympians seemed to be
Entirely void of interests, even as their movements were confined
And slow, and their habits stereotyped and senseless. To
Anything but appearances they were blind. For them the
Orchard (a place elf-haunted, wonderful!) simply produced so many
Apples and cherries: or it didn’t, when the failures of Nature
Were not infrequently ascribed to us. They never set foot within
Fir-wood or hazel-copse, nor dreamt of the marvels hid therein.
The mysterious sources – sources as of old Nile – that fed the
Duck-pond had no magic for them. They were unaware of Indians,
Nor recked they anything of bisons or of pirates (with pistols!),
Though the whole place swarmed with such portents. They cared
Not about exploring for robbers’ caves, nor digging for hidden
Treasure. Perhaps, indeed, it was one of their best qualities
That they spent the greater part of their time stuffily indoors.



The golden age by kenneth grahame