As a child I loved fairy tales and believed them as if they were non-fiction. Once I read a story about a girl who, after reading Puss in Boots, forgot the open book on the table and went to sleep. At night the cat jumped off the page and became her best friend.
“Wow!” I was fascinated. “That’s a great idea! Which book should I leave open for a night?”
It was a big question. There were so many characters to choose from. Dumbo? I imagined the elephant in our small apartment and brushed off the idea. Pinocchio? I wasn’t a big fan of this liar. Winnie the Pooh? Hmm, he seemed nice, but kind of silly. Karlsson? Well, he could fly, but he would eat all my candies. Pippy Longstocking? She was just a girl like many of my friends and I didn’t like her hair style.
In the end I left the idea of being original and opened Puss in Boots in the middle. I thought if the cat went out of the book once he probably was more experienced than all other candidates. I was a little bit worried that the mouse who was also an ogre and whom the cat was going to eat on the chosen page could come to life as well, but, again, I hoped that, being real, the cat would still eat him.
I woke up in the morning full of expectations. I looked around, but the cat wasn’t seen anywhere. I came up to the table and saw him standing still on paper in the same position as he was yesterday. He didn’t even move!
I was disappointed, but left the book on the table again for the next night. Nothing. Maybe it was because I didn’t forget to close the book, but left it open on purpose? Each detail might count. On the third night I put the book on the table and played with some toys to give myself a chance to forget about the whole business. When my head touched the pillow I knew that I hadn’t pretended well enough and the cat knew I had never forgotten about him. So I wasn’t surprised not to see him next to my bed in the morning, and with a deep sigh I put the book back on the shelf. I lost my hope to witness a miracle.
Today I look back at naive little me with a condescending smile. But the funny thing is that I still believe in the power of the written word. Many books’ heroes are much closer to me than the people I can touch with my hand. I don’t expect them to come off the pages, but I know where I can find them when I feel the need. On my bookshelf.