I read to my children, every night, as if watering them, as if turning the earth at their feet, fertilizing the ground. I feed their eager minds with the stuff of imagination. Some stories I have never heard of, and others I knew as a child, these stepping stones that are there for everyone. What is the real meaning of these stories, I wonder? …. of creatures that no longer exist even in the imagination: princes, woodcutters, empathic dragons, honest fisherman who live in hovels. I want my children to have an old life and a new life, a life that is indivisible from all lives past, that grows from them, exceeds them, and another that is original, pure, free, that is beyond the prejudice which protects us, the habit which gives us shape. I want them to know both degradation and sainthood, the former without humiliation, the latter without ignorance. I am preparing them for this voyage. It is as if there is only a single hour, and in that hour all the provender must be gathered, all the advice offered. I long for the one line to give them that they will always remember, that will embrace everything, that will point the way, but I cannot find the line, I cannot recognize it. It is more precious than anything else they might own, but I do not have it. Instead, in an even and sensuous voice like my mother’s, I steep them in petty myths of Europe, of snowy Russia, the East, of anthropomorphized animals. The best education comes from knowing stories- purity comes from that, and proportion, and the comfort of always having an example close at hand.