4 Dec 2011

Frightening you child

When is it time to introduce your child to notions of the transience of life and inescapability of death?

You could mutter about ‘death and taxes’ every January or July when the letter from the Inland Revenue arrives. Or you could take your child to the Catacombs of Paris, where millions of skulls and leg bones have been used to shore up the honeycombed limestone deposits far beneath the city. I took the latter option. Honey and I went far below the French capital, passing thousands and thousands of long-dead Parisians set into rock. At first, she took the Hammer House of Horror view to it all (see picture)

 Then, however, familiarity bred contempt. We marched under Paris looking at thousands of skulls, placed amid improving passages of verse from Horace and Baudelaire, all of which said essentially the same thing -

‘Make the most of your life, because you’ll be down in this dripping cavern a long, long time.’ Apparently French impresarios in the 19th century would bring daring art lovers down here for midnight concerts where entire orchestras would play Beethoven’s Funeral March until 2 am when they would get ‘night carriages’ home again.

Honey sighed. “It’s all about Death. And Life,” she remarked as we walked up the 83 steps to the daylight and warming bowls of that Parisian classic, French onion soup.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments.