Eduardas Mieželaitis

  In his book A Tale of the Forest (1981), Eduardas Mieželaitis portrays nature, the world of a forest. The action takes place in the country, called Nebutija (“non-existence land”), where joy is forbidden, and from which the Diamond Bell that used to spread joy has been stolen. The main protagonist is a boy made of wood, a kind of Pinocchio – he represents the child and his nature. However, the similarity to the well-known Pinocchio of Collodi is superficial. The story emphasizes the mythical origin of the wooden kid. He is the son of a woman (a young recluse living in a forest hut) and a mythical creature, the Spirit of the Forest. Like in folk tales, the protagonist is small but very strong, he uses his super-natural powers to defend the wronged ones. He is a kind-hearted optimist, engaged in the activities similar to those of other folk heroes: he takes care of hares, plays the magic pipe and gets a magic wand as a present. In this book, the author creatively uses elements of various folk genres: motifs of fairy tales and myths, magic objects, proverbs, paraphrases of folk songs, etc. The wooden kid lifts the Bell of Joy from the bottom of the earth and banishes fear and sadness from his country. However, his main task is to free his mother from captivity, who is locked up in the castle tower of Kingstown. To achieve this purpose, the hero releases the Storm-Woman, fastened in golden chains to the Eternal Oak.  The Storm-Woman destroys the tower of the prison-castle, and the boy sets eyes on his mother again. “Her gait was somewhat tired, her face lined with wrinkles of sorrow, her hair gone grey. But she walked with her head raised high, her posture very straight – like the Truth itself”.
  Truth, Freedom, Revolution and Resistance are the main concepts stressed in this work. Obviously, the writer intended this book not only for children. The tale is preceded by a long, rather philosophical prologue, densely packed with international words, cultural references which can be understood only by adults. Due to the ambivalence of the addressee, the book had limited success. The highly intellectual prologue of the book prevented the child-reader from reaching the essentially simple and dynamic beginning of the story and meeting with its charming and childish hero.


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