My childhood on earth
My childhood on earth could have been a paradise.
As an only child and the heir of my parents, who loved me dearly, I was well cared for.
When I became of age I was to take charge of the administration of their estates, woods and other property.
Their earthly possessions meant a great and powerful capital.
They were convinced that I, Lantos Dumonché, would represent them in a worthy manner as far as the highest circles of society, as befits a ruler.
Because it was God’s will!
For centuries our family had represented this place; our family was born on earth to rule and to lead.
I can still hear my father and mother saying these words and yet it was almost nine hundred years ago.
Their God wanted me, Lantos, to act as all those other generations had acted.
I was to rule and keep my illustrious family from dying out.
Many eyes rested on me, including those of God.
My parents lived for me, and if they were able to experience this, it would mean the greatest happiness imaginable to them which God could give the human being on earth.
They were very grateful to Him for everything.
A new generation meant to them that God loved them and favoured them.
Many prayers were sent up and they were befriended with many clergymen for this purpose.
I was their only child and heir, it would and should happen in this way, but fate, or another power, decided otherwise, so that my childhood was no paradise for me.
I had reached the age of twelve, but was not aware of all this wealth.
On the contrary, I felt like the other children who did not know or possess such wealth.
Another few years and the greatest happiness for my parents would become reality.
They lived for this, and for this alone.
No illness or other suffering could darken their earthly happiness, since every earthly help lay within their reach.
They were also convinced that their happiness could not be destroyed.
Their faith was strong, they loved their God and acted according to His will.
They considered everything as a task assigned to them by God.
This was also confirmed by the clergymen of that time.
A son was given to them and to them a son meant the furthering of their family.
In old records, drawn up centuries ago, it was written that he who bore the name of Lantos Dumonché, would be born to rule.
If the successor was of age, the present administrator would gradually withdraw and the former would accept the administration.
The last administrator would then start to lead a quiet but well-considered life in order to be able to enjoy his earthly possessions.
When I had reached the age of twelve, a wife was already arranged for me.
We came into contact with each other from time to time.
However, we were both unaware of this arrangement.
We played, had fun and would get to know each other in this way and perhaps love each other.
In any case, it was certain for her parents and my parents that we would marry.
We were to be informed of these plans at the age of fifteen and we had to accept them.
An own free will, refusal, was ruled out.
I did not understand the task which my parents assigned me.
When my mother spoke to me about it, her words passed me by.
I was never left alone, there were always nurses around me, both men and women.
I preferred to play in nature, because nature attracted me, I lived there and felt happy.
At the many parties which my parents held I was introduced to everyone.
Everyone had to get to know me, but that also passed me by.
I did not realise what the fuss was about and why the parties and festivities were held.
Much earthly gold was squandered, but nothing was given to the poor.
Hundreds of children came to my birthday, in my honour.
My future wife was also amongst those present and she was the chosen one of all of them.
However, the girl I loved was not allowed.
That was Marianne, my little girlfriend, the little daughter of our gardener, whom I met in the wood from time to time.
I liked her very much, but my mother thought it was stupid and forbade it.
On one of those afternoons I felt an aversion to all those rich children arising within me.
It was so strong that it overcame me, so that it could be read from my face.
The party was ended earlier than usual. The children were sent home and I was put to bed.
They thought that I was ill.
The most learned men from that time were sent for.
They examined me, but did not find anything.
Their diagnosis was exhaustion and I therefore had to stay in bed for a few days.
I was clearly aware that I was neither tired nor sick.
I thought the whole situation was very strange, but I did not talk to anyone about it, since I instinctively did not trust anyone and was very quiet by nature.
I dealt with all of this myself and reflected upon it a lot.
I felt aversion to all these children, but even more so for my mother, who had refused my little friend.
I also knew that both Marianne’s parents and my parents did not know that we met each other in the wood.
They would have forbidden her it and then we would have been torn apart.
Since I knew this, I kept quiet about my inner feelings and so even as a child a dislike came to me for this life, the wealth and the parties of my parents.
The more I was spoiled, the more silent I became and my aversion to their parties and birthdays grew.
I did not possess any particular intelligence and, for that matter, I was not an extraordinary child either.
My strengths were average.
It therefore soon appeared that I was not like all the others of our family who had borne the name of Lantos.
It was impossible for me to learn anything, I kept forgetting it again.
However, if it concerned art or history, I only had to be told once; I did not forget any of it.
This held my greatest interest, especially art.
All the other things I had to learn had to be repeated many times before it was finally understood that I was good for nothing and the teachers were changed.
Yet they also soon understood that I was either backward or sick and was not capable of learning, which was still necessary for my education.
To them I was a hopeless case and one teacher followed another.
Only I remained and did not change.
My nursery was like a museum, a place for collecting art products.
Not in my mother’s opinion, because where did I get those shoddy feelings?
Those feelings did not belong to our family.
A tidy-out was held, but other objects came in the place of them and my playroom remained a museum.
It was no longer possible for me to display objects, but when I was alone - unfortunately, that did not happen often - I got out my figures and statues and I established the value which each one possessed.
My feeling for art had developed intensely, to the annoyance of my parents.
The academics were consulted about it, as to how I could forget about this, because it was absurd.
However, it appeared impossible, even although they tried it several times by talking to me about other things.
I continued to feel for art, art had my love and I gave into it completely.
This was the only gulf, the only suffering which I caused my parents in my childhood.
I was a sweet child in many other things, honest, but too soft for them.
They started to suspect that I would not become a ruler in this way, as they had wanted me to become.
When it concerned art, I could ask hundreds of questions and all my questions were - as the academics said and I eavesdropped again - very deep and I asked them with human knowledge, something which greatly surprised them.
I was examined several times, I was prescribed different organic exercises, but I continued to love art.
My feeling for art even developed more and more each day, but I kept it hidden and I felt, no matter how young I was, that this feeling had nothing to do with my body.
I could not understand their analyses, nor my parents, so that I remained a mystery to them in this sense.
They accepted it, because they thought I was too weak and they eventually put it down to mental exhaustion.
The busy life was too tiring for me; the academics said that slowly but surely these feelings would recede to the background.
My parents had to give into me a bit, which they also did because apparently it would not work otherwise.
This is why they let me be and I always spent time in nature.
I now enjoyed more freedom in my movements and that was exactly what I longed for.
I would be free for a few months, did not have to study, because my nurse would teach me part-time.
To all of them I was now a weak child and it was understandable that this worried my parents.
Something had come into their old-fashioned concepts which shook faith and belief in this earthly happiness.
Their family had always been blessed with robust health.
This is why earthly life could be called a paradise for them.
However, I, their only heir, was weak, there was no doubt about it.
Yet I was a normal child.
However, where did those feelings for art come from?
I heard them say these words.
I did not think about why I hid my true character.
I did not have the slightest idea that I was doing wrong, but I already said that I had an aversion to parties and all those rich children.
Every day my mother came to visit me in the wood.
She asked me questions about how I felt and I gave her a random answer.
If I felt happy then I also reassured her, but sometimes it was as if another power forced me to make her afraid, as a result of which I spoiled her life; in these situation she got to hear a whispered ‘yes’.
From this she determined that I was not yet as she wished me to be.
I had no idea who and what incited me to do this, but I clearly felt it arising within me.
It was quicker than my own thoughts, it had already been said before I was aware of it.
Then I started to think about it and often found it a great pity that I had answered her in this way.
However, it overcame me so suddenly and irresistibly.
I did not think about it for long; I was still too young for that, but I understood that it meant freedom for me.
Along with these feelings there were also others which I had never known before.
I was continually occupied making figures of clay.
I searched for the earth for it in the wood and kneaded it until it stuck.
My nurse was surprised about it and forbade it because I made myself too dirty.
Yet I could not leave it; she had to keep on forbidding me time and again, but I remained incorrigible.
This feeling grew after each statue that my hands formed, they took shape and life came into them.
It happened of its own accord, I did not have to think about it.
I asked her not to talk about it, since my parents would forbid me, and as a result of her love for me, for which I was later very grateful to her and still am, I could go my own way to my heart’s content.
I loved her dearly; she was good for me and we understood each other completely.
I had no interest for anything else, it was in my thoughts day and night.
My products did not remain alive for long, because they fell apart, but I had the satisfaction that they had lived.
However, it would not leave me alone and I looked for things to prevent them from falling apart.
I found those things.
I mixed the earth with other earth which I got out of the water at the pond and which I kneaded to a dough until it was dry.
As a result of this I got a solid substance, ready for modelling.
I buried the statues which I made under the earth and I already had several kinds.
Suddenly I got the idea of making a God.
To me it would be a great figure, firm and strong.
However, I did not yet feel any of His power.
Everyone talked about him, God lay on everyone’s lips.
Everyday people could be heard talking about Him!
I started this work with devotion and I sculpted Him in full form.
When I was finished I showed my latest product to my nurse and asked her:
‘Who do you think that this statue is?’
‘A gentlemen’, she said.
‘A gentlemen?’ I repeated her answer and smiled because she did not know.
She understood my smile and asked: ‘Who is it then, Lantos?’
‘God’, I said.
‘This is God, my God.
Is yours different?’
She was visibly shocked and her gaze remained fixed and staring upon me.
‘God, you say?’
‘Yes’, I answered, ‘who else could it be?
Is God different to this figure; is He perhaps not clear enough?
Do you not recognise Him?’
I asked her many questions after each other, however, she continued to look at me and said nothing.
‘Does it surprise you?’ I asked her.
It was a disappointment to me and she felt this, because she said: ‘But child, what makes you think that?
Where did you get this thought from?’
Then she mumbled something like: ‘And they call that not normal, weak or sick!’
I understood her, but did not go into it and waited for another answer, but she did not say anything more.
Then I asked her: ‘Will you not talk about this either?’
She nodded to me and remained in thought, staring in front of her.
I placed my arm on her shoulders and kissed both her cheeks, a sign of a relationship and understanding.
I saw tears on her cheeks and I therefore asked: ‘Are you crying, have I hurt you?
Should I not have made this statue?’
‘My Lantos, dear boy, what makes you think that?’
I accepted this as a sign of admiration and felt gratified.
How proud I was of my statue.
Adults each had their God and now I had mine.
‘Do you know’, I said in answer to her last words, ‘that I love you more than my parents?’
She looked at me with surprise, inwardly moved.
She took both my hands in hers and looked me in the eye for some time.
‘I also love Marianne very much’, I continued, ‘none of the others.’
If I had been a bit older I would have known what went on in her old and wise head; however, now that all passed me by and I was already thinking of other things.
‘Now I will make Marianne’, I told her, released myself from her embrace and set to work.
When I was occupied like this I knew beforehand what I had to do; those thoughts came into me of their own accord.
When my train of thought slowed down, I knew that I would not manage to achieve anything.
It was exactly as with talking, when my mother wanted to find out something about my health.
The statue of Marianne was soon finished and I showed it to her too.
I saw her trembling but I did not understand it and was only waiting for her approval because I valued it.
‘Lantos’, she said and thereby looked at me full of admiration, ‘it is Marianne.’
It is the spitting image of her’, she said to herself involuntarily, but I caught these words and was very happy.
I continued: ‘Then is my God also real after all?’
She knew that no one had taught me this art, that my parents would forbid me, that it did not become my social position and yet she said: ‘Who taught you that?’
‘No one’, I said, ‘I can do it!’
I could not have given her a clearer answer, but I felt that it was not myself who had spoken.
It happened outside of me, but I could not find any words for it and thought it was very normal.
Marianne was given a place with all the other statues which I already possessed.
I also buried her under the earth; no one was allowed to know.
I wanted to make her happy as soon as she came to visit me in the wood.
This day was a radiant day for me.
A few days passed and the academics who examined me thought that I was making progress.
My parents were very happy, but I understood that this time would soon belong to the past and this made me afraid.
During these anxious hours I discussed my suffering with my God.
I got out the statue and placed it on a platform and talked to it.
I could only do this when I was alone.
I did not dare to entrust this secret to anyone, not even to the woman who took care of me.
I asked my God whether I was ill and many other childish questions.
Then I was myself and had to think about it and make an effort to be clear.
However, that game did not satisfy me either.
Sometimes I lay on my back for hours gazing at the sky and saw various figures in it.
I tried to portray some of them, which I did not succeed in.
I made clouds and a sun, let it shine and attached it to a tree.
I felt the heat reaching me from my home-made sun and told my nurse about it.
She had to laugh, but it did me good, because I was sensitive to friendliness.
One afternoon Marianne came to visit me.
She had run away from home and come to me in silence.
I asked her to sing something for me, because she had a beautiful voice which I loved without knowing exactly.
I said: ‘Come on, sing something, I have a surprise for you.
If you don’t do it, you will not get the surprise.’
‘What have you got?’ she asked, very curious.
‘Sing first’, I said.
Marianne sung, it was a song which everyone in the neighbourhood knew.
I both admired her for this wonderful gift and also envied her as a child can be envious.
She sung as if her whole life depended on it.
When she had finished her singing, she said: ‘And now the surprise!’
‘Come on’, I said, ‘come with me.’
I took her statue out from under the sand and moss.
I had wrapped it in leaves, afraid that it would break.
‘Sit down over there and see who this is.’
Marianne recognised herself, mostly by her blond curls.
I had plaited them together with twisted branches and leaves, I spread the clay around it and it held, however fragile it might be.
She was very pleased and happy.
‘Who taught you that?’ she asked.
I said: ‘No one.
You may keep the statue, but it has to stay here with all the other statues.’
We called it our art gallery and she agreed with it.
However, where did I get this feeling for art, this knowledge, I had not learned it, had I?
I am telling all of this in detail, because I intend to make it clear to you how pure my childish feelings were with regard to my hobbies, in this case my art.
Later I will come back to this when the time has come.
We played together and had fun, so that the day soon passed and I already longed for the next one.
That night it rained heavily.
When I went back to my favourite place in the wood the next day I immediately saw that my sun had been ruined by the rain.
It had burst and was no more than a yellow spot with little rivers.
On the ground and along the tree trunk lay some yellow sludge.
Before it was my sun which warmed me.
That night my happiness had been destroyed.
I got out my God and He was also soft and fell apart.
My God had died and I told this to my nurse, but she did not go into it, but followed all my actions in a penetrating way.
I felt it but asked: ‘Shall I make your statue?’
She thought about my question for a long time and finally she said: ‘If you can do it.’
She did not need to ask me a second time and I ran off to fetch the necessary materials.
I came back to her and kneaded the earth into a solid mass.
She observed me for some time and then asked: ‘What are you doing now?’
‘Killing it’, I said.
‘Yes’, I replied, ‘otherwise it will fall apart.’
I felt again that it was not me, these thoughts were quicker than I was.
Yet I continued and had already started to model her.
I did not need to look at her on the whole, the statue was completed at a fast rate.
A push here and a pinch there, it all came forth from my inner being, which I felt very clearly.
Only my hands kneaded and modelled the material.
When I had worked for a while I asked her: ‘Can I go now for a while, otherwise I cannot finish it.’
She was amazed at this, but I went.
After a short time I returned, her statue was finished and I showed it to her.
At the same moment she called out: ‘Lantos, Lantos, where did you get all of this from, I have to talk to your parents about it.’
As soon as she said those words, an unpleasant feeling overcame me.
I felt a tightness in my chest, so that I could hardly breathe.
I thought I was going to faint, but after a moment it disappeared and I felt normal again.
This all happened in a short space of time.
I looked at her and, however young and childish I was, I cursed the moment that I had made this statue.
Danger threatened and I felt the reason for it, but I could not find an explanation for it.
‘Are you unwell?’ she asked softly and tenderly.
‘No’, I replied briefly and sharply, ‘I feel fine.’
For the first time I had spoken like a Dumonché, which frightened her.
However, our beautiful relationship had been destroyed because I no longer trusted her in anything.
In my feelings I withdrew from her, I could no longer be reached in anything.
I did not understand why, I did not understand any of this, yet I felt what I wanted, because it lay deep within me.
She had talked to my parents about it and from what was said I understood that she had not told the ‘reason’.
She had only told that I had put her in her place in a sharp and cold manner.
How did my parents react to it?
They thought I was as I was supposed to be.
They saw the true character of their family in this and they were pleased.
With this the incident was over and done with, but I had changed.
From then on I ignored all her good intentions.
I remained afraid of something, but of what?
I longed for Marianne, she was the only one I still trusted and to whom I could express my inner feelings.
My love for her grew.
I destroyed the statue of my nurse, it did not get a place with the other statues.
When she asked me questions, I avoided the answer.
However, a conciliation came again, because she continued to give me her love.
After a few days I gave in, by which tears flowed down her cheeks and she embraced me passionately.
‘My boy’, she said, ‘how can you be so angry.’
As a result of this I understood that she did not understand my true feelings and did not feel my fear.
I fought for something as if my life depended on it, which was not felt by her, who was much older, after all!
I was guarding something, which lived around and in me, but which I did not understand myself.
Other children of my age will also hide their world when they are not understood.
No being will entrust someone with feelings who does not have the same feelings and react to them.
The life of the soul closes itself off irrevocably.
The feelings of the child either become dormant or it continues to worry and does not know how to stop.
It shall and will achieve what it longs for, it becomes sharper and more conscious, until it develops and the true qualities appear.
A person builds his own future on this.
In the years to come the spirit will develop, especially when the male or female age is approaching.
Then a person is aware or asleep, but that state of sleep belongs to those who neither experience, feel, deal with or possess all of this which I am telling you about here.
A driving force lay within me and people thought of weakness, therefore material, but this whole problem only took place in my inner being.
This force unavoidably closed itself off to those who did not understand me.
However, when an older person surrounded me with his love, it opened of its own accord and I moved to that power of love, which made me happy.
As a result of this I also yielded to the woman who took care of me and was my teacher.
I was very certain that she if she had told my parent the real reason, I would not have accepted anything from her under any circumstances.
This made my conciliation and the return of my old feelings for her easier.
I told her that I was not angry, but also that she was not allowed to speak.
‘You will not break your promise, will you?’ I added.
‘My promise, did you say?’
‘Your promise’, I repeated and continued to look at her.
New thoughts arose within me and I asked her: ‘Will I make another new statue for you?’
‘Do as you wish, my boy’, she said, upon which I rushed off and disappeared.
When I was a dozen paces away from her I felt my urge to model lessen and I sat down to have a think.
I do not know how long I sat there, the time fled past, thoughts followed each other and I became tired from thinking and fell asleep.
I only woke up when I heard my name being called.
Marianne stood before me.
I immediately remembered the promise and did not greet her.
Marianne did not know what was going on inside me, but she looked at me angrily, turned round and walked away.
‘Stay’, I shouted after her, ‘stay!’
However, she did not stay and had already disappeared.
I went on my way again, but could not reach the thoughts I desired and I went back.
My nurse smiled at me from afar and I understood her smile.
This statue was no longer discussed, but I told her: ‘Do you know that I will soon be leaving here?’
‘Soon be leaving here, Lantos?
What makes you think that?’
‘I eavesdropped, I heard my mother say so.
I am better, don’t you know that?’
‘No’, she said, ‘I know nothing about it.’
However, the following day my mother came to tell her.
She enquired with interest how I was getting on and also about her feelings.
I looked from my mother to the woman who loved me and awaited my death sentence.
I already knew what she would say, she said: ‘The wood does him good, he is much better.’
It was decided that I would receive my physical education somewhere else in a few months’ time.
New teachers would give me their powers, but my free life would then be over and a new one would begin.
The next day I told Marianne the big news; she behaved in a very shy way.
We wandered around the surrounding area together, hand in hand, like two people in love.
She suddenly said to me: ‘I will plait some wreathes and then we will get married.’
I immediately agreed to her little plan and we picked flowers together in order to make the happy event a success.
My beloved dog was with us and the sweet animal would become our child once we were bound in matrimony.
Soon the wreathes were ready and we went back to my nurse who continually remained in the immediate vicinity and did not lose sight of us for a moment.
We went towards her, hand in hand.
I was the spokesperson and said: ‘You have to marry us.’
‘What did you say?’
‘Marry us’, I repeated, ‘we have decided to get married, because I will soon be leaving.’
Deadly seriousness lay within us for this event.
When she observed us and felt from our serious little faces and posture that she must participate, she bound us in matrimony with a few words.
We were man and wife and Marianne immediately applied her rights.
I had to obey, be nice to her and put her first in everything.
However, we had soon forgotten our union and looked for other games to kill time.
For hours we lay on our backs, hand in hand, gazing at the sky, but neither of us broke the silence.
It was as if she felt that she would soon miss me.
However, then she suddenly jumped up and took to her heels.
What possessed that cheeky girl?
I was just thinking about this, but could not get to the truth.
Sometimes she came back after a few hours and when I asked her about her disappearing and about her tantrums, I did not get an answer.
I felt that she was spying on me from all sides and behaved differently than normal.
Was that because I was leaving?
When I asked her whether she thought it was a pity that I was leaving, she started to weep.
I stroked her blond curls and promised to give her something.
When she sung I knew that she was happy.
She grasped my hand in hers and was now wild with joy.
How I had begun to love her!
I told her that I loved her very much, even more than my parents.
She understood this completely.
Our little souls longed for warmth, especially I, since I did not get that from my immediate environment.
Then we lay down again and told each other beautiful things.
Suddenly she said: ‘Come on, Lantos, I will bury you.’
‘Bury?’ I asked.
A strange game, but I liked it and did not want to disappoint her.
I would be buried and she would mourn for her husband.
She buried me under sand and leaves, my head remained free, but I had to keep my eyes closed.
I did what she wanted, because she was still the one who thought up new games.
I roared with laughter, but to her it was serious.
She mourned that it was a sweet passion.
Tears rolled down both her cheeks.
I also became serious.
Marianne kneeled next to me and said: ’Oh, how I loved him and now he is no longer here.’
It was tragic, she felt real human suffering.
While she wept I felt a remarkable force entering me.
I started to tremble and shake and cold shivers ran through my body.
I wanted to put an end to this game, but it was not possible for me to do that, I was paralysed, my power over my limbs had gone.
These feelings remained for some time, but our game was disrupted by them.
Then I felt my strength return.
We looked each other in the eye and we both felt that something had happened which was not part of our game.
Without wanting it, it had overcome me.
Then we burst out laughing and this game was a part of the past.
Unexpectedly, she asked to see her statue.
When we came to the place where I kept my collection, I got out her statue, but it was a dreadful sight, wasted away to a slimy mass.
She insisted on making a new one.
She did not need to ask me twice and this statue became even nicer than the first one.
I wrapped it in an old piece of cloth and buried it again.
All that time she had not said a word, but when I had buried the statue she said: ‘Are you ill?
You look so pale.’
‘No’, I said, ‘I feel very well.’
Yet she continued to stare at me and suddenly she turned around and disappeared.
She made me furious by disappearing so suddenly.
I ran after her, wanted to know where she was going without saying anything.
That was the only big fault which I had discovered about her, but which bothered me and hurt me.
I did not see her for days and I just wandered around and looked for some other diversion or complained about my distress to my nurse.
She could not give me an answer to Marianne’s actions either.
With her behaviour she smashed something within me, she broke something, as a result of which I suffered.
Then I could not be reached in anything and my true nature was revealed to others around me.
I then destroyed everything in sight and was supported in this by my parents.
Now I was one of them, after all, now they were no longer afraid of anything.
Time passed and I met Marianne once more.
I asked her the reason for her sudden disappearance, but she did not answer me and ignored my question.
Then I no longer knew myself and got hold of her in order to give her a good shaking.
She screamed for help and my nurse rushed to her aid at her calls and freed her.
Marianne took advantage of the situation and took to her heels.
I was furious, but I did not dare to measure my strength against those of my nurse and I therefore also hurried off and sought my happiness in my room.
There I came to myself and felt that my fear for that other thing in me had disappeared.
I already felt it from the moment that my mother had spoken to my nurse about my leaving.
That time was now irrevocably determined.
I thought about Marianne and asked my mother whether I could greet her.
However, she forbade it and shrugged her shoulders.
Another child, whom I could not stand and had not seen for a long time, was to come to me.
However, this visit was just short; as a result of my mood an end was made to it and my future wife left.
I would not see her again, another power broke this bond, which neither spirit nor person could change anything about.
The next morning I was taken to other surroundings, where I would be educated.
My childhood, the most beautiful time on earth, was over.
I did not meet Marianne again.
In my mother’s feelings there lay a deep chasm between her and me which could not be bridged.
No matter how young I was, I still felt the significance of this.
However, I did not feel as she did, her standing, birth, wealth and power did not awaken me.
Before I left I thanked my nurse for everything.
I would not see her again either.