Jeus is with the doves, Mother!
When you are big and you want to expand your life and the everyday things give you a chance to spread your wings, you think that is why I am a person, an adult.
But if you think back to your childhood years, then you will feel that you already started there.
And a child spreading its wings is more beautiful than when an adult does it.
The child does it with ease, it wanders by itself to all those new things!
It happens of its own accord.
The things speak, they have something to say, which that child has to dream about and, if it is really sensitive, even starts sleepwalking from it as well, which a grown up person is anxious for, but cannot interfere because then you make a mess of things.
Just spread your wings, Jeus, thinks Crisje, take a good look at the world, we also did that.
And truly, Jeus has not only discovered himself, but also his surroundings.
He has already met the hens and rabbits.
They are very nice animals, but why they are animals he doesn’t know.
It goes through his mind now and again and then the questions come.
They are things which he doesn’t understand and which Crisje will later get to hear about.
Fanny, their dog, is next to him.
He knows Fanny like himself and Fanny knows Jeus.
A while ago life was different for Jeus.
And whatever that means, it spins through his whole body, his nimble legs sway as a result and his snub nose receives an elegance, because then Jeus is thinking, and thoughts pull a person’s head apart at the seams, you see stripes, ‘thinking about things’ as his mother calls it and his father says: “you should do that when you are lying in your coffin.”
They haven’t any time for that kind of thinking now!
“Why has the world changed?” Jeus wants to know from Bernard.
Bernard looks at his brother to see if he is going to pull a fast one on him.
But when Bernard notices that it is sheer curiosity, he says:
“That is a good one, Jeus, winter is behind us.”
“Oh”, Jeus lets slip, “is that the reason?
But what is a winter, Bennad?”
Yes, that is also a point.
‘What is a winter?’
Bernard has to chuckle about it.
“That is also natural...
Jeus, a winter has snow, doesn’t it, and a summer has nice days, then the sun shines.”
“But why can’t that sun shine in the winter?”
‘That is a bit too much,’ thinks Bernard.
He is not a town hall clerk.
Bernard looks round, then looks at Jeus and now sees that he is only being kept from his work.
He rids himself of all that questioning.
And he does it effectively.
That was good thinking.
“There is Johan, and he is older than I am, just ask him.
I have other things to do.”
Johan is already coming.
Jeus looks at Johan, but then he has an idea of his own, he takes off now, wanders off with Fanny behind the gardens into the courtyard, but then Bernard screams:
“Just stay out of there, will you, otherwise you will have mother to face.”
It is jealousy, Jeus feels.
Bernard is only furious that Fanny is following him.
Jeus looks round; he discovers a new paradise.
And he is in the middle of it.
Where are the birds now and those beautiful trees?
There is no water.
First think about it.
That other country was nicer.
This leaf is hard.
That other leaf, which they call a vegetable here and eat, is used there for decoration.
He looks at the heads of lettuce, at the string beans, at everything that lives here and is planted in the ground.
Jeus looks at the stalks and wants to know everything about it.
There is Crisje, she always follows him, more than the other two boys, who know their domain and are already lord and master.
Jeus crawls through greenery and cabbage and wants to know why this was planted here.
When Crisje calls:
“Why are you crawling over the ground and not using your legs”, Jeus doesn’t even hear her.
These things make such a deep impression on his life; they grip his soul as it were, which now also has an impact on his life.
Jeus looks in the hearts of the flowers, kisses them and picks a few nice ones for mother.
And when Crisje comes into the garden, he helps her, but it is more of a hindrance than a help and he pulls the good things out of the ground, so that Crisje has to keep grumbling at her Jeus.
Crisje continues to follow him.
She ascertains that Jeus doesn’t have enough eyes to take everything in.
What a love of nature that child has, she thinks, hopefully he will not become a farmer, that is no life, that is suffering poverty!
Jeus keeps hearing: “You mustn’t do that, Jeus, otherwise Our Lord will be angry!
He can’t stand that you pull His things out of the ground, that is a sin!”
But, Crisje, he doesn’t understand that concept yet, but it will come.
‘What is he up to’, thinks Crisje.
Jeus is taking things out of the ground and throwing them up in the air.
Crisje knows that.
For she has seen that before.
Jeus wants to make balloons.
What a child he is.
Everything that is round is pulled out of the ground and thrown in the air.
But because it lands on the ground again so quickly, he gets bored with it and stops of his own accord.
When the child also goes up in the air, he knows that Crisje has got him by the scruff of his neck and a slap will follow, but it does not hurt.
It is only annoying and you must then think of something else to do.
Crisje pulls the weeds out of the ground and is very busy.
Jeus wanders round and is looking for something else, there is so much here which is new and interesting to him.
But he goes back to the gardens.
Not to Crisje’s garden but to aunt Trui’s garden, then he knows Crisje won’t be able to find him.
And then he lies down and falls asleep.
It isn’t long before his little friend is there, the oldest one of those other children with whom he sometimes plays.
But what is his name, Jeus wants to know.
When that child is standing in front of him, Jeus asks:
“What is your name?”
“I’m called José.”
“It’s a nice name.”
When Jeus is outside of his body through sleep, he is older and he can ask what he wants and he can think better as well.
He understands everything.
Jeus doesn’t know that the Tall One is behind this and he gives him exactly as much to think about as he can cope with and deal with.
It is precisely calculated, so to speak, and is for later.
The Tall One knows that Crisje will also feel the misery of it one day.
But that will also be avoided.
There is one thing which demands all the attention of the Tall One, Jeus has to learn to think.
And the nerves have to deal with that thinking, so that they can tolerate, being able to cope later with everything that goes through a person’s head.
José said to Jeus that he must lie on his back.
Then he can see where José lives.
And now that Jeus has gone to sleep and lives in the world of José, he also sees the Tall One who looks at him in a friendly way and just like his father can, speaks in a dialect as if he has done so all his life.
This is why that man is so familiar to Jeus.
That man understands the child and climbs into that little heart of his completely and Jeus loves him just as much as he loves Fanny and Crisje.
He knows exactly how much he already loves his father, but that does not come up to what he feels for Crisje and the Tall One, who is even more than a father to him.
It has never occurred to Tall Hendrik to bring balls for him.
And then those lights!
Now that Jeus enters the world of his little friend he runs to meet José and throws his arms around his neck.
How fast Jeus can run; he is almost flying.
And José says to Jeus that he can also fly here, but he must not try it there, otherwise he will fall to the ground and there will be accidents.
Will Jeus never forget that?
‘No, of course not, I understand’, José is told and they know there that Jeus will not get it into his head to jump from the roof because he thinks that he can fly.
The Tall One must prevent that from happening.
And that is placed very strongly in the life of Jeus, it is actually already burned into him.
Because he doesn’t want any trouble, certainly not for Crisje, for that is not the intention.
Jeus is in the hands of the angels and angels do not bring trouble, they know exactly what they are doing!
“Where do you actually live, José?
Is that heaven?”
“No, Jeus, that really has nothing to do with heaven, but it is a part of it, which your mother is always talking about.”
“And is Our Lord there?”
“No, not there, He is somewhere else.”
“Can I not see Him?”
“Maybe later, but I don’t really know, Jeus, if you do your best.”
“Can that drunken woman get to heaven, but that’s not possible, is it?”
“She can also go to heaven, Jeus, but she must better her life.”
“That is exactly what mother says, José.”
“Your mother knows, Jeus.”
“And Gerrit Noesthede, who does nothing but act the fool?”
“He can also go to heaven, Jeus, all people can enter heaven if only they want to live a good life.”
Jeus stops his friend and asks:
“Where is the Tall One now, José, who is just like father?”
“He has something else to do just now, Jeus, but he will come back shortly.”
Every step in this world gives him something to think about.
Jeus sees something and cries out:
“Take a look, José, those are nice ones.”
Jeus looks at the beautiful birds which live here, he calls them and, sure enough, they come and sit on his hand.
This is an experience for him which he can’t help but enjoy.
When he asks José whether he may take a few with him, José has to disappoint him, because that isn’t possible and is not allowed, they have already had their lives there and now belong to Our Lord.
“You can tell Crisje all about it”, José says.
“Then your mother will be happy.
Crisje will not wish to possess more than this, if you tell her everything about it.”
And Jeus understands that the apparently so unnatural is as plain as the nose on your face.
He understands immediately and Bernard doesn’t know a thing about it.
But José has something completely different for Jeus.
What Jeus sees are beautiful pears, peaches, plums, such as they don’t have on earth.
He eats one and says:
“Goodness me, how tasty they are.
You don’t need to eat anything else here, do you?
That’s a good one.
What I have to eat there is sometimes as greasy as anything is, and I choke on it.
But aunt Trui and mother say that I need it for my body, otherwise I will be sick and then they will be worse off than ever.
But you don’t need anything, José?
And that is understandable as well.
Do people know this life, José?”
“No, Jeus, few do.
But you will tell them about it.”
“I promise you, José, I will tell them, father and mother, Trui, the whole neighbourhood, Bernard, Johan and Gerrit, they will hear it from me.
And is there singing here as well?
Can they sing here like father can and Peter and Gerrit Noesthede and Jan Maandag?”
“I know, Jeus, that they are good singers but they sing better here.
You must not forget, here they sing for Our Lord and that is a different matter entirely.”
“That is true, José, I can understand that.
I will tell father.”
“But now you must go home again, Jeus.”
Jeus sees the Tall One coming.
The friends throw their arms around each other and embrace.
Saying goodbye is difficult, but if Jeus is careful, he hears, José will really come back to him.
But then the Tall One takes Jeus in his arms and brings him back to aunt Trui’s garden.
Jeus looks into his friend’s lovely eyes and kisses the Tall One.
“You are my boy, Jeus” ..., which Jeus can still hear when he awakens.
He rubs his eyes and jumps up.
They are already looking for him, mother cannot find him and Johan is shouting ...: “J..e..u..s, J..e..u..s, where are you?”
They run into the house.
Father is already home.
Where did that child go?
Jeus has to go to his father.
For Crisje is busy with dinner.
“Where have you been all that time, tell me quickly?”
Johan tells that he found Jeus lying in aunt Trui’s garden.
“He was having a snooze there, father.”
Tall Hendrik looks at his child.
His reception is not friendly, all eyes are focused on Jeus, Crisje doesn’t know what she should make of it.
“Come over to me.”
Tall Hendrik puts him on his knee and asks again:
“Where were you, why did mother have to look for you?”
Jeus looks his father straight in the eye.
The child doesn’t move a muscle; something impresses Tall Hendrik about this and he cannot understand whether it is childlike or even human behaviour.
He must understand this child as a father, as an adult, and that is not so easy, Tall Hendrik.
More is required for this than a strict word, unity is required, descending into the soul, following those thoughts, and otherwise you will be completely off the mark.
And Crisje already knows that her Hendrik is off the mark, in this way he will not get a word out of the child.
Jeus is silent!
Tall Hendrik calls the child to order, it is him and no one else.
His children will give an answer to every question and a proper one at that.
Young or old, Johan or Bernard, it doesn’t matter, if father has something to ask, they have to realize, they can give in to it and that’s all there is to it.
Crisje now already finds that this discipline is too rigid, they are still children!
“Where were you, what were you doing there amongst the plants, I want to know”, Tall Hendrik repeats.
But not a word passes the child’s little lips.
It looks at Crisje, Johan and Bernard.
And look, his eyes are gleaming with ... ‘mother, why do I have to talk?
Why is father so harsh to me?
Why is he so cruel?
But I didn’t do anything, did I, mother?’
It is as if the child feels what Crisje wants.
Jeus just looks at his father.
There is a world going on here, which Tall Hendrik does not know, feel, or see.
Thoughts fly invisibly to the other heart.
They nestle there, are felt, dealt with and sent out again.
This sensing, adjusting and understanding are infallible.
You do not have to find any words for it.
You do not need to move your lips, it all happens on its own; it costs no effort.
You do not have to be a scholar for it, it lives in nature.
Crisje knows it is also a quality, it lives in each person if you are sensitive to it, and are graced with that sending out and receiving of thoughts from Our Lord.
But Tall Hendrik has none of it!
Crisje knows that!
And now a smile appears on that little face, the feeling of ‘what do you really want from me’!
When Tall Hendrik asks again: ‘Where were you’, this life bursts out resolutely at his father, who is at an utter loss:
“I was in heaven, father!”
You see, Tall Hendrik, you weren’t expecting that.
Crisje is beaming!
She finds this questioning a torture for herself and for Jeus.
Johan and Bernard start to laugh.
But they quickly change their minds, these two get to hear:
“Shut your gobs ... understood?
It is no laughing matter.”
Tall Hendrik doesn’t know what to say.
This is something new to him.
A child of two and a half years tells him that he has been in heaven.
Tall Hendrik quickly adds:
“So, you were in heaven?”
Johan and Bernard have to laugh and are given a clip round the ears.
Jeus also looks.
He sends out the thought to the boys that they mustn’t pay any attention to it.
And now as well, because Johan is sensitive to it, it is as if his oldest brother senses Jeus and receives his sympathetic thoughts.
Johan changes immediately, it can be felt and seen, but Tall Hendrik doesn’t notice a thing.
Crisje, yes, Crisje, she has sensed it and understood.
Crisje thinks: ‘How is it possible?’
“And what did you do there, if I may ask, Jeus?”
You see, Tall Hendrik, there is now life in the child.
This is another tone, which touches this life and tells something to the soul.
Jeus looks, beaming with happiness, at Tall Hendrik and says:
“I was eating apples and pears there, and plums, and apricots!”
Bernard splits his sides laughing, but Bernard is knocked off his chair by a slap.
“One more time and you will go to the cellar, won’t you, am I the boss here or is it you!”
“But Hendrik”, says Crisje.
But Hendrik says to Crisje:
“When I am talking they have to listen, Cris.”
So this is now the problem.
Eating apples and pears in a heaven?
That is too far away for Tall Hendrik and he doesn’t understand it either.
He continues to ask:
“And what else, Jeus?”
“I’ve forgotten”, Jeus says quickly.
Hendrik asks Crisje:
“Since when does he have the gift of the gab, Cris?”
“He talks all day, Hendrik.
Where he gets it from I don’t know but he already bombards you with questions.”
“So, you want to be a scholar, because if you are already starting to talk now, I can see it happening as well.
But I’m here as well.
I will decide for you, won’t I?
And what did you do there, Jeus?”
“I’ve forgotten ...!”
Tall Hendrik can’t make any sense of it.
But what he does know about is, that dinner is ready, and now they will eat.
Crisje gives Jeus his dinner.
It is food!
“I don’t want any dinner, mother!”
“What?” says Tall Hendrik, “you don’t want any dinner?
Have we not anything to say here?
Come on and eat!
You have nothing to say about this yet and mother’s food is so tasty as well!”
And to Crisje:
“Where were you with him, Cris?”
“At the back in the garden, Hendrik, but he pulled everything out of the ground on me.
And then he was suddenly gone and I didn’t see him anymore.
He must have gone to play in Trui’s garden.
He throws everything in the air which is coloured.”
“He will be an artist, Cris, believe me, they start early.
But there are no artists in my family.
Then he can suffer poverty!
I have something else in my head than painting with brushes and splurging with paint.
Making good portraits is well paid.
But he will sing.
He will sing and nothing else.”
“And what about you, Johan?”
Father involves Johan in the conversation and he replies very politely: “Yes father!”
Nothing more and just enough, that is good of you, Johan, that’s the way it should be!
Tall Hendrik is starting to enjoy it, he has to laugh about himself, and it will turn into a little party.
Bernard seizes this chance and fools about; he doesn’t know how to behave out of high spirits, but, that bit too far and Tall Hendrik reacts.
He first puts Bernard straight in his chair.
He is sitting again, a bit too harsh for Crisje, but what can she do?
And now eat your dinner!
“And you, stubborn mule, eat ... eat I tell you and I have nothing to do with your talk!”
Tall Hendrik forces his little lips open, yet the child refuses to eat.
But that is not so difficult, father can do anything.
And Crisje sees that her husband lays Jeus across his knee and gives the child a hiding, which is his lot.
Jeus is now sitting next to Tall Hendrik, meanwhile Bernard’s food goes down the wrong way and he almost chokes on a potato, which is hanging in his throat.
Bernard also goes across his father’s knee.
In a flash the piece of potato flies to the ground and Bernard can continue to eat.
Crisje thinks it is like a fairground.
Is that peace for you?
Is that eating for you?
Did she slave away for this?
Crisje mustn’t say anything just now, because she will only make it worse.
She buries her feelings, not a word passes her lips.
Now and again she says something to remind Tall Hendrik that they are eating.
He does everything at the same time; he talks and has his hands full with the boys.
One is sitting on his knee, moves to a chair, is picked up again and put on his knee.
A short while later the child is back on the chair.
There is talking, actions are taken and there is hitting.
This is not enjoyable, Crisje feels.
This is not eating, this is a fairground.
But Hendrik will get to hear it later; now Crisje will say nothing, because the children are present and then she would undermine the authority of Tall Hendrik.
Now it is Jeus’ turn.
“Eat”, Tall Hendrik orders, “you will eat!”
Crisje mashes up some food, it is tasty!
But Jeus has forgotten Crisje, the recent bond has been broken, the contact of feeling to feeling has gone!
Jeus ignores Crisje.
Mother can achieve nothing, even though mother begs Jeus to eat.
Everything has gone, what now?
Tall Hendrik cannot stomach it.
No respect for your mother either?
Now that Tall Hendrik tries to force the child to eat using violence, the child blurts out:
“I don’t want any food, this food makes me feel sick!”
“God damn it”, Crisje hears, “that is too much.”
Tall Hendrik grabs the plate with food, and puts a mouthful on a fork and aims it at the child, but his little mouth remains closed.
Hendrik wrenches his little mouth open and puts the food inside.
Jeus refuses, but Tall Hendrik manages and laughs triumphantly at the child.
“That is one and now all the others.
And you can get into bed as quick as lightning.”
Did you think that, Tall Hendrik?
Wait a minute, then you will see.
Jeus spews out the food.
The child has to vomit.
Tall Hendrik gets a fright.
Crisje races to the child and grabs it out her husband’s hands.
“You and your nonsense, can’t you see that the child cannot eat?”
“Is there something wrong with him, Cris?”
“But you can see that yourself, Hendrik.”
“I actually think, Cris, that he has eaten apples and pears, he can’t eat any more, can he?”
Crisje lays Jeus in his bed.
A while later Hendrik hears Jeus saying, “Tall One” ...But, if he wishes to know, it has nothing to do with him.
Jeus sees the Tall One and he is completely different to this one, his father.
Because he doesn’t understand him.
Hendrik hears the child dreaming.
He hears a name, it is José!
“What is that, Cris?”
“I don’t know, Hendrik, but he keeps mentioning that name.”
“My God, Cris, he is talking early, isn’t he?”
“Hendrik, he thinks more than Johan and Bernard and you and I put together.
You will live to see it!
But now there is something else.
If I were you, I would deal with the children differently.
You are enforcing authority with physical punishment, that isn’t bringing up children any more, Hendrik!”
Crisje gets to hear that Tall Hendrik certainly does know how he has to teach the children.
If those brats learn now, they won’t need to learn any more when they are bigger.
And Tall Hendrik doesn’t intend to make them into gluttons.
They will listen.
But Crisje says:
“This was a complete circus; I’m telling you.
There is no beginning and no end to it, to all that upbringing of yours, Hendrik.”
Tall Hendrik has to be content with this.
But Crisje is right, Tall Hendrik feels.
There was no peace any more or order.
He was really being laughed at, even if he is throwing pots and pans about.
They are silent for a moment, they think about it and they both know: bringing up children is not so easy.
“It is the worst thing that there is, but I can do it”, Crisje hears, “I’m there myself!”
“And I know that”, Crisje also utters, “I know that!”
“What do you know, Cris?”Hendrik just wants to know.
Crisje has to think.
And Crisje needs time for it.
But then she answers:
“I will tell you something, Hendrik.
If you continue like that you will destroy the best in him!
I’m telling you!
And you will be sorry yet!
Didn’t you see, Hendrik, that Jeus was not himself?”
“But do I have to”, Tall Hendrik flares up, “now already look and see whether my children have everything to their taste?
Good gracious, that is something!
Are you mad, Cris?
Just leave that to me.
I know what I can do and they have to listen.
That is all!
And now I don’t want to hear any more!”
And now that is the end of it!
Now I don’t want to hear any more.
But if only you could understand this, Tall Hendrik.
This is the downfall of the world!
It is nonsense!
Is this contact with the children?
Nonsense, Tall Hendrik!
Crisje is completely off the mark.
You know your children!
You are a born psychologist.
You know everything and that is why you are Tall Hendrik, you are a wizard.
But the beautiful part has gone!
However, imagine, Tall Hendrik, that you could have accepted this?
What beautiful things Jeus could have told you.
Don’t you hear something, Tall Hendrik?
But listen, Jeus is dreaming!
The words fly from those little lips.
They can sing better in the heavens than his father.
Peter, who has such a great voice, Tall Hendrik, is nothing in comparison.
In the heavens they can sing and what you make such a fuss about here is just pig squealing in comparison.
Or do you not believe, Tall Hendrik, that the angels can sing?
If only you had listened, Hendrik.
But wait a while, we haven’t finished yet.
I can tell you one thing; you have none of this!
Nothing, you do not know your child!
But Crisje does!
“Listen to that, Cris!”
Crisje doesn’t answer him.
She knows; she had heard, but Hendrik doesn’t give any credence to it.
Again Hendrik hears the child saying ‘Tall One’.
Now the Tall Hendrik is melting, his soul becomes tender.
It is a nice feeling!
Now he hears it again!
It sounds lovely, ‘Tall One’.
Nicer even than ‘father’, that is nothing.
But the children may not say Tall Hendrik!
It sounds so soft, so understandable, so near.
The following morning Jeus will not leave Crisje’s side.
He hangs on her skirt.
Where she is, there is Jeus.
Crisje talks to him and she knows, Jeus is listening, he is dealing with everything, every word.
“Do you have to hold on to my skirt today, Jeus?
That’s bad, isn’t it, if you can look in heaven and we cannot understand you?
Yes, that is bad, Jeus!
But I am here as well!”
Crisje feels what is occupying her child.
The greatest problems are now being dealt with in that little head.
They are problems, which the parents don’t know the slightest thing about.
Older people make fun of it, twaddling, childish nonsense.
A decent and hard-working person, a person who stands firmly on both feet, is not a life to go into this at length ...
But God preserve me, we have other things to do.
But Crisje knows her Jeus; she starts to understand that Our Lord is speaking here, from which she can learn.
How clear the thoughts were when Jeus looked up at her yesterday evening at dinner.
She heard it inside!
There was a voice within which asked: ‘Mother, you must help me!’
But what a beautiful world it is.
It was peace, oh, that silence.
But what a difficult time Jeus will have.
My dear Lord, if it is starting already.
Jeus is back in the garden.
He follows his path.
He follows what he experienced yesterday, but sees that this is not the garden such as the garden which he was able to see at José’s.
This is poverty, this is nothing, everything is dead, and there is no life in it.
Where José is apples and pears grow, you don’t see them here.
And the colours here make you sick.
How much he has to tell Crisje.
But that is not possible, he cannot think yet, but his little head wants to, inside him as well.
There is something through which he sees himself as poor.
What is it, Jeus?
There you are older; here you are like other children.
But you can think.
You just need the words to come and you can start.
But we will help you a bit, Jeus.
We will help you as a child prodigy is helped who crawls to a piano and plays it.
What you have is different, this is more difficult, but, Jeus, shall we try?
Will we place our words in you?
Will you receive them?
Will you experience them?
Yes, oh, it is working!
What another child like that can do, you can also do.
Now they are only thoughts and you need words for them.
You must make sentences.
Then we will raise your life to that other life.
And now, Jeus, you are learning every day, you are different every day and you will outgrow Bernard and Johan.
Soon, Jeus, Crisje will see that and Tall Hendrik can give in to it, whether he wants to or not.
That will come now!
Now it will begin, and that is only possible, because you were in the world of José!
And Jeus knows.
It is strange, but when he is there, talking comes so easily to him.
There that happens naturally, here it is more difficult.
What does Crisje see now?
Jeus has found a stick and hits himself on the head.
Crisje calls out:
“Have you gone mad, Jeus?”
Jeus says that he has to think!
Do you feel it, Crisje?
But Jeus is not mad, Crisje.
Jeus want to let his head think better.
His head gets a beating.
But do you feel, Crisje, how terrible it is?
Jeus could give himself a thrashing.
That head is slow in the uptake and he hits it towards himself.
He is further than his head can deal with.
His brains will not behave as he wants them to.
Crisje has to laugh.
But Jeus is not laughing.
What a happiness Crisje is living in and what is life beautiful!
But that, Crisje, only lasts a few moments as well.
Do you not hear and sense anything?
Trui is standing in front of Crisje and scolds.
They have destroyed her whole garden!
Isn’t that scandalous?
‘The boys have done that,’ Trui says.
And now she can start all over again.
It is scandalous.
Everything has been pulled out of the ground.
“Why don’t you pay more attention to your rascals”, she adds to Crisje.
“Nothing will become of them, nothing, they are villains of the first order, just as long as you know.”
How can Crisje make Trui understand that, as mother of her children, she can’t follow them around the whole day?
Trui doesn’t understand that anyway.
Of course, it is terrible and Crisje will take care of it and Trui is right, but villains, no.
My children are not that, Trui, that’s saying too much!”
Trui still thinks that it is not enough.
“What now, Cris?”
“Nothing, Trui, we will make sure that it doesn’t happen again, that is all!” Trui is powerless for she cannot do anything to Crisje, and she has said all she can say about the matter, and after all they are still children.
Trui is furious, but the best she can do is to leave.
Crisje was just having such a nice time with Jeus and now everything has disappeared at once.
But Jeus didn’t pull that much out of the ground?
Trui is making a mountain out of a molehill.
She knows Trui.
She sees everything seriously and pretentiously.
Really you should laugh about it.
Jeus couldn’t care less about aunt Trui, he is already asking if she wants to leave, because he cannot think.
Aunt Trui shifts one foot in front of the other and disappears from Crisje’s property.
She shuffles through her gate and can no longer be seen.
But Crisje can still hear her.
Trui’s thoughts reach her and they are even worse, much much worse, than the earthly talk of her sister, when Crisje is right there undergoing such verbal abuse.
“Are you a villain, Jeus?”
Crisje is not talking so loudly now, imagine if Trui could hear her.
But villains are completely different.
They steal what they can get.
Not Crisje’s children!
‘Villain’, what a terrible word that is.
It is because Trui doesn’t have any children herself!
Crisje cannot escape it, the word cuts through her life and her heart.
It is bad!
Bernard yes, Crisje is afraid for Bernard, because he is into everything.
But Crisje therefore keeps an eye on him, otherwise he will have to go to the cellar and that is really bad!
She would much rather go to the cellar herself, but Tall Hendrik is serious.
Tall Hendrik has the upbringing of the children in his hands.
And try lying, Crisje?
But it is for Crisje as if her heart is breaking when she has to tell Tall Hendrik that Bernard has got up to mischief.
Then she has a symptom, a strange pain in her and she could cry.
Crisje is worried about this, because Bernard does not know about Crisje’s worries.
Bernard follows his own life and lives in his own world.
Bernard is the fiercest, the fastest and the wildest!
Bernard is into everything and thinks, ‘what is yours is mine’.
Especially apples and pears, Crisje knows.
Where will that ship run aground?
Crisje also knows that she will have trouble with Bernard, and have unpleasant things with Hendrik.
The older Bernard becomes the more that child will explore his neighbourhood and will start to control things.
And she prays continually to keep Bernard under control.
It doesn’t help, but Crisje doesn’t give up.
But her prayer will be answered some day.
And a firm character kicks right and left, feels the prayers; she knows that as well, she has her proof of it.
And then life is not so good.
Now life is difficult, especially when Trui interferes.
But villains, no, that is too much!
“Did you go to her garden, Jeus?
And did you pull everything out of the ground?”
The child looks Crisje in the eye.
He thinks about it, but he will also say something:
“Is that not allowed then, mother?
I was playing.”
“Do you not feel, Jeus, that you are causing your mother grief?”
“Yes, mother”, Crisje gets to hear.
She can already carry out a conversation with Jeus.
She gets the promise from Jeus:
“I won’t do it again, mother!”
Crisje is happy, how is it that that child immediately understands what she wants.
And she knows how she must approach him.
“That is clever of you, Jeus, how happy you make me.
But don’t you want any food?
You must be starving, aren’t you?
Yesterday evening you didn’t have any food!”
That is true, Crisje, Jeus is hungry, give him something nice, a bacon sandwich, this body needs good food, it thinks far too much.
Crisje makes something for him to eat.
Jeus, she sees, is enjoying his sandwich and playing at the same time.
It seems as if Crisje has eyes at the back of her head.
She sees everything.
And Jeus wants none of it.
He is already off exploring.
He needs something new.
He thinks those hens are cacklers and wonders why does a dog bark, and why do they bark so much?
But most of all he doesn’t know how to explain it.
These thoughts live in the child, but his head is not yet ready.
The rabbits, they are nice animals.
But Jeus cannot get hold of them anymore; Tall Hendrik has put a lock on the hutches.
Crisje had no choice but to catch the rabbits which were enjoying the plentiful food in the garden, as Jeus watched.
She chased after the rabbits to the back of the garden.
Johan and Bernard had to help her.
They could not find one rabbit, but Johan didn’t give up.
However, the rabbit was in aunt Trui’s garden and came out with a satisfied stomach.
And Trui also had something to say about that.
‘It will not happen again, Trui,’ were Crisje’s last words.
But Trui had one problem after another as a result of Crisje’s boys and she had had more than she could take.
What would become of this, she didn’t dare think.
They would end up in prison;
For Trui that was already written in history.
You could count on it too.
She knew her kids, but she certainly didn’t want any.
Bah ...they only give you trouble.
She felt happy.
Trui was pleased that Our Lord had not given her any children.
You saw nothing but misery as a result of them.
They were into everything and they did not leave a ‘chicken’ alone.
Pestering pigs, so that the animals became nervous.
She had a lot to complain about.
And then that shitting on her roof from all those doves.
You simply lived behind the neighbourhood, where that lower lot of people lived.
There was nothing left any more of a tidy Grintweg.
Thank God, they did not have the nerve to come into her house just like that.
Trui kept Cris’ little men at a distance.
They had respect for her.
They could not bring up children there, Tall Hendrik had bother enough, but that?
Anyhow, he could only make a fuss.
Yes, but that would become flawed as well!
Children made Trui sick.
If only she could get another house, then she would be off.
It is stupid that her husband, Gradus, had let himself be deceived, otherwise she would have had a nice life on the hill.
Lovely and free, alone, but that also escaped her.
Crisje knows that Trui sat alone at home, grouching the whole day, and if she ever went outside and worked for a while in the garden she immediately got into an argument with Crisje about the boys.
Trui laughed at Crisje fairly and squarely.
That distasteful carry-on with those poor people of Crisje, meant nothing to Trui, it was simple, utter crap!
If she didn’t go to heaven in her way, then Trui would just stay out.
At the end of the day you could live as you wanted.
If you only had money and she did have, fortunately!
Gradus earned a good wage!
When Trui saw that Crisje spoke to Mrs De Man, the woman lived next to Crisje and you couldn’t walk past her and ignore her forever, because that is the worst thing that there was on this earth and which hurt people the most, she showed her displeasure as she spat out her poison toward Crisje with a look that would kill.
And however crazy it was, the drunkard saw and felt Trui’s hate.
That drunkard wasn’t so insensitive after all.
To add to this, this same drunkard could say harsh, apt words, which came out as if a judge spoke them, and Trui usually had to make do with it.
Even if Trui always had her words ready, she couldn’t compete with the drunkard.
She was too smooth and too sharp for her.
When Trui once thought she could outwit that woman, she got to hear:
‘We will build a world for you alone, then you can wring everyone’s necks and you will have the place to yourself.”
That was followed by something else and Trui heard:
‘They should scrape you out!! ...’
And anyone who understood that got a shock because it had to do with having children!
Trui called out: “Go to blazes for all I care, you can drop dead, filthy woman!”
If Trui didn’t leave, Mrs De Man would have sent her black dog after her, which the whole neighbourhood was afraid of.
Hector was not to be sneezed at.
The dog was always chained up, because he bit everything in sight.
Many human calves had had to suffer for it and always required a doctor’s care.
It was so savage that even Bernard had respect for it.
But the most surprising thing was, Jeus could romp with Hector as much as he wanted.
The dog didn’t do anything to him, on the contrary!
Hector already howled when Jeus came outside in the morning.
And the first thing that Jeus did was say good morning to Hector.
Mrs De Man kept an eye on Hector and Jeus, because she did not trust her dog.
Today he was sweet, tomorrow you would be bitten and she would also be in trouble.
Mrs De Man wanted nothing to do with anybody; the only person was Crisje.
Now and again they had a conversation together.
But Crisje didn’t understand where she got those words.
Never in her life, for all her years, had Crisje heard of scraping out.
What that person didn’t think of?
Trui was full of poison, it had such an effect on her that she sat crying for days on end and Gradus had to beat his fists on the table to calm Trui.
But Gradus did not get to hear what was really the matter with her.
Trui was sensible enough to say nothing and Gradus understood that Mrs De Man had probably touched a sensitive spot.
However, Hector continued to wag his tail and Mrs De Man continued to watch.
From then onwards Trui lived on a war footing with the drunkard!
Crisje thought, ‘give me that drunkard any day’.
Trui has no life.
She is never satisfied with anything.
Trui is at odds with everyone.
Also Crisje, and now the villains as well, which you saw no end to, and it could last a lifetime.
Life was a big mess, and life was horrible.
There was nothing nice about it, nothing.
Trui didn’t care about life.
She had had her fill of it!
It made her sick!
Jeus has discovered something new.
Why didn’t Crisje tell him that before?
How come, he didn’t think of that.
He sees doves flying around.
They are sitting on the roof, but that is too high and he has been warned about it.
But there is a ladder.
If you climb carefully, you will go higher and higher and your snub nose will soon be sticking out above the attic, where these doves live and flutter about in their own world.
Where they coo and mate, lay eggs and breed young!
Jeus climbs up the rungs.
He finds the dovecote, looks at that world, messes about with the door to open it and now sits in a world of Our Lord.
He immediately manages to catch a few young doves and kisses them.
What beautiful creatures they are.
He saw them in that other world.
Why do these doves not fly away?
Why do they not go and sit in the trees?
He will not chase them away; he wants to play with the doves.
If only José and the children were here now.
Now Jeus has something to show them.
Now he has something as well, and is not empty handed.
And as if it was meant to be, he sees his friend a little while later.
José admires the doves.
Jeus has long conversations with his friend.
What do you think of my doves, José?
Aren’t they nice?
Do these doves not have what they have where you come from?
Look at this neck.
And these wings, these eyes!
And this beak.
See this blue thing around its neck?
Won’t you take a few with you to let them fly around there?”
Jeus becomes tired.
He lies down and falls asleep.
Now he flies into universe and follows the doves in their flight.
What kind of world is this?
You cannot get enough of it.
José has disappeared.
He is suddenly gone.
But the doves are still there and call to him to follow them and that is only possible when he is sleeping.
Jeus wants to go high, up into the blue.
Just like the doves, those over there, with their crests in their necks.
They are beautiful creatures.
And that one there with its nice tail, it looks just like a “hawk up”.
An animal that he has seen and heard of, there at the farmer’s, where they have two of them.
Johan gave them a name.
Jeus no longer remembers what they are called.
But then suddenly the word comes back to him.
Someone says it.
“They are turkeys, Jeus ..., turkeys ... turkeys ...”
That’s it, now he will never forget it again.
And this evening Jeus will be talking about turkeys ...
Tall Hendrik will like that.
If he remembers, otherwise he will probably remember later, tomorrow, and then it’s a story for Crisje.
Jeus is flying in the universe and sleeping at the same time.
Flying in the universe is a matter of course, natural ...
Jeus lies down, goes to sleep andbedankt, is nu aangepast, ook extra spatie in het Spaans. whoops, there he goes already.
He is eating the food from the land with the doves, picks up something nice, he feels how they mastered the art.
Everything is different.
Hens are exactly the same, but cannot fly.
Rabbits eat differently.
And so do dogs, including Fanny.
Fanny is howling while looking everywhere for Jeus, and finally finds him upstairs.
But that doesn’t waken him.
The last few days, Crisje notices, he has been ignoring the dog.
The child now has so much in his head and that must be dealt with first.
But Fanny keeps an anxious eye on his boss.
However, Bernard wants Fanny for himself, because he thinks that it is him who creates and makes the games, and Johan is letting things slide.
Bernard has already said: “Jeus can do what he likes with Fanny.”
However, he has something else on his mind.
And there is more to see than just dogs.
You can move an inch without tripping over them.
What Crisje notices is that Fanny doesn’t lie in front of the cradle now any more.
Gerrit means nothing to Fanny.
How strange that is.
Everything is different, the children, the dog, their doings, everything.
But they are growing up and life goes on!
Crisje doesn’t know how long Jeus has been sleeping in the dovecote, but now Tall Hendrik is back again and demands the children’s attention.
The roll call is sounded.
There is one missing.
The captain goes mad.
Roll call has to be sounded again; Jeus still isn’t there.
Where is Jeus, Cris?
Crisje has to think.
Yes, she was busy.
She cannot keep track of Jeus all day.
She has her hands full.
For goodness sake, not another drama like yesterday evening, Hendrik, it keeps Crisje awake.
They are now in search of Jeus.
Wait a minute, Johan saw him wandering about.
When Johan was here, about that time, Jeus was sitting here on the floor ...
And where else?
Neither Crisje nor Johan saw him outside.
Suddenly Johan remembers!
“Just come with me, mother, I know!”
And there was Jeus lying, sleeping in the middle of the dovecote.
Only now do they understand Fanny.
Fanny ran back and forth and from back to front.
They thought that Fanny wanted to help search but the animal only wanted to send the family upstairs, but they did not understand the dog.
That is not so easy either.
You have to have dog brains for that, or be able to feel exactly what a dog like Fanny wants.
Jeus can already do that, which is why he can also talk to Fanny.
Crisje lifts the child up, startling him.
Isn’t that a fright, Hendrik?
“He is sleeping with his eyes open”, utters Tall Hendrik.
And Johan has never seen anything like it in his life.
It is a wonder to him.
Confused, Jeus looks around him and starts to cry.
He doesn’t want to leave the doves.
It is better here than anywhere else.
Jeus kicks right and left, he feels himself being torn away from his beautiful world, but cannot resist the force of Tall Hendrik.
“How did he get here, Cris?”
“This afternoon I think, Hendrik.
I haven’t seen him there before!”
Jeus screams: “Let go of me, for goodness sake.
Let me go, turkeys ... turkeys ... let go of me ...!”
Tall Hendrik splits his sides laughing, Crisje doesn’t understand where Jeus got that word ‘turkey’.
But then they hear from Johan that he saw Hakfoort’s turkeys.
But that was a long time ago, certainly four days ago ...!
The child eats well.
Crisje is happy, as long as they want food everything is okay.
The rest will follow by itself.
And they can do that, only she is sometimes worried about Jeus, he dreams and thinks too much.
When Tall Hendrik hears that Jeus was hitting himself on the head, because he couldn’t think, Tall Hendrik has to smile in spite of himself.
That is something to think about.
But what kind of child is it?
What does a child like that want?
Have you ever seen that in your life?
No, never, but it certainly isn’t stupidity, Tall Hendrik senses that, and Crisje knows.
He has too much feeling, can think too powerfully, what he has too much of, thousands of children have too little of.
You either have it or you don’t.
Jeus has it!
Jeus is lying in his bed thinking.
It is nice to be alone.
What they have to say there in the kitchen doesn’t matter to him.
Hendrik says to Crisje:
“Is he not becoming too old, Cris?
Should we not let him sleep somewhere else?
To me he is too bright, Cris!”
“We will wait a while with that, Hendrik.”
And when they had been sitting there chatting for less than half an hour, they became aware that they were once again faced with a new problem, and Crisje knew that he could not sleep alone yet, because he got out of bed in his sleep, crept out the kitchen door and headed straight for the attic.
Tall Hendrik says: “Cris, I believe Jeus is sleepwalking.
He is walking towards the attic with his eyes open.
Isn’t that something?”
Tall Hendrik tried to grasp the child, but Crisje stopped him.
“Stay away, Hendrik, that can frighten them to death.
You must let him go his own way for a while.
If you pick up sleepwalkers, Hendrik, it locks their nerves and they can get all kinds of things from it, my mother told me that and I have already heard so much about it.”
Crisje and Tall Hendrik follow the child.
Up the stairs, stepping carefully.
Calmly, higher and higher.
Jeus is at the top of the stairs.
The child doesn’t see anybody.
He doesn’t even see Tall Hendrik.
He brushes past him ... and opens the dovecote and lies down.
The child is sleeping!
They look for a moment and follow the child in this strange sleep.
The child mumbles something, he is talking to the animals.
They hear: “José, Tall One ...!”
Suddenly Crisje says:
“Now you can lift him up, Hendrik.”
“How are you so sure about that, Cris ...” asks Tall Hendrik.
“I don’t know, but I sense it.”
Tall Hendrik lifts Jeus up, the child continues to sleep peacefully.
He lays him in his little bed.
The little soul continues to sleep.
Tall Hendrik doesn’t understand anything about it.
He says to Crisje:
“He has got that from me, hasn’t he, Cris?”
Good heavens, Hendrik, if you started sleepwalking as well.”
It is too much for Crisje, but they laugh about it heartily.
Not that, no, not that.
Tall Hendrik would possess too many gifts then and there would be no end to it.
“If you started sleepwalking as well, Hendrik, I might as well set fire to the house, because there wouldn’t be anything left of it anyway.”
It is bliss, Crisje.
Tall Hendrik laughs.
He hasn’t been able to laugh like that for ages.
Gerrit’s everyday nonsense is nothing compared to it.
This lives and comes straight from that little bed.
‘No, he has nothing from me’, Tall Hendrik thinks, ‘nothing, but perhaps he can sing!’
Crisje, who has now also succumbed to rest, thinks over what she has been allowed to receive today.
Tall Hendrik is already sleeping.
Gerrit and Jeus are sleeping exactly opposite her, both the others are lying in the box bed in the other room.
The best room, where no one ever comes and where the statues are, of Mary, Our Lord and Joseph.
The Holy Family, a beautiful set, for which she paid a lot.
But who doesn’t have the Holy Family in their home?
If they do not have them, they aren’t people, they are not religious, they have nothing.
They may not leave Jeus on his own yet.
But when it is necessary, Hendrik will just have to build a little bedroom in the attic.
Then Johan and Bernard can go upstairs soon.
There is no room anywhere else.
But it is becoming dangerous, Crisje senses.
Jeus is already looking at Crisje, as if the child sees more than adults.
And that is frightening!
That is bad!
But what does she want?
From the animals the child comes to people, Crisje senses.
If the animals have told him everything about themselves, people will follow, and then?
Yes, then what, Crisje?
It is ingrained in Crisje’s head that Jeus will then have to leave the room.
As quickly as possible!
He can already ask her things which Johan doesn’t even think of himself.
Bernard is different, he sees a lot but he asks nothing, he has his own world, he helps himself.
Crisje thinks that it is better if they can ask everything.
Then they do not wander around so alone and you can help them a bit.
So the boys are growing up!
They are becoming older and more mobile, they are on the spree from one thing to another, look at everything and more and get up to mischief.
Bernard has already stood in front of the cellar three times.
But nothing has become of it yet.
The fear is there, but the boys are getting older and the mischief is getting worse.
Those little minds are toiling to learn everything there is to know about life.
This life, of which Trui no longer sees the colours, with which it is packed, but which according to Trui is not worth a cent any more.
But that is tempting God!
This is going too far!
Life is wonderful, if only you can make that of it, if only you want to see the nice things, otherwise you are a plucked chicken yourself.
One which doesn’t want to lay eggs, which can’t lay eggs!
Which is finished and goes in the pot.
It is true as well, she suddenly remembers, that white one only eats, but you don’t get any more eggs from it.
That one is for Sunday.
I must remember tomorrow, then Hendrik can just pluck it.
That is true, and I don’t need to buy meat for the soup, I will have everything then!
Now Crisje will not be able to take flight, the chicken is keeping her on earth; earthly affairs demand her full attention.
But a healthy sleep is also a grace and she gets one!
Outside something is whistling, but it is far away.
It is as if the pigsty is open, but that is impossible, she closed it herself.
Otherwise there will be nothing more.
The doves are still cooing; that is a strange world.
They never get enough of mating.
That is the world of Jeus!
But for how long?
Then it is Crisje!
And then what?
Good gracious, she already sees and hears the child.
Mother, mother, mother ... what is that?
And why do you have ...!!
‘In the name of the angels, help, help.
I can’t take this’, Crisje prays, ‘but I will get help then as well!’
It is Thursday today ... it works out exactly ... on Sunday we will have chicken soup.