Une petite histoire

I was at my French conversation class earlier in the week, and someone had brought a few things to show us. She’s an elderly lady, recently bereaved and she seemed keen to talk and when we were each asked if we had any ‘petites histoires’, she told us about an incident which had happened to her when she had been travelling several years ago.

She was a little muddled, deviating off into side stories, and my French isn’t always reliable, so I rather lost the beginning of what she had gone on to tell us. She had been talking about travels in Sicily, and maybe the story still was in Sicily, or maybe she was somewhere else, but she was on a train, so I thought, going from one small town to another, travelling alone.

In her hands, as she told her petite histoire, she had a little home-made booklet about three inches by five; it had a green cardboard cover which had gone slightly furry with use, and the pages inside were a thick, quite soft, white paper. The book, which must have been maybe seventy pages, was fastened in one corner with a piece of raffia passed through a pinched hole.

On the front was printed:

Laboratoire de création
Atelier des Anges
Petite Littérature

l’observateur d’absurde
regarde le monde guerrier
avec son cœur de poète
temps de réflexion

… and inside In French, obviously, were little comments, musings and aphorisms, with the occasion geometric design or little cartoons which reminded me of Picasso.

The elderly lady told us the book had been given to her by a young man, on the train… now I think I may have been mistaken about that, maybe it was in a museum, but however she received it, it just seemed such a curious incident.

Doesn’t this just cry out to be part of a story? Someone is on a train in a foreign country, and somehow during a conversation with a stranger he or she is given a mysterious, hand-printed book… Who is the stranger, why does he give the book? What does it mean? What happens next? Hmmm, I must ponder on this!!


  1. david lewis

    Sorta reminds me of the book 1984 when the hero asks the old man feeding pigeons on the park bench what things were like before BIG BROTHER. All he got was a rambling response of disconnected facts and stories that meant absolutely nothing.We’ll all get there one of these days. In fact I find myself rambling a bit. Uh ooh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. david lewis

    A workmate of mine went to Mexico City on a trip with his brother-inlaw and after a few days after he was gone I got a phone call asking for him at work. I explained that he wasn’t here but in Mexico and who wanted to talk to him. It was Visa Card inquiring about his credit card purchases that were out of the ordinary. It seems they have a profile of your spending habits and if something is out if wack they flag it. It makes you think who else is keeping track of you and what they will do with the information. 1984 is here and BIG BROTHER is watching you!


  3. redjim99

    And how is the French conversation coming along? I spoke on the phone to a French friend last week, to see how his knee op is doing. So difficult when I can’t see the expressions and body language as well.



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