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  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #76

Seven-year-old Prince Michael of Chestry experiences loss and pain as the Nazis ravage his native Hungary during World War Two.]      One had to be so careful lately about remembering things.  Thinking and remembering were something like walking along well-known paths and passageways that always used to lead to something lovely ... like Chestry Oak, like the sparkling glass hothouses full of blooming plants and neat little boxes in which seedling plants grew, like the long picture gallery downstairs ending in the great east window, two stories high, glowing in countless colors like a huge gem ... but now the same paths and passageways might end in something dead or frightening.  The great east window was no more; it had been taken down, piece by piece, crated and carried down into the deepest of the old dungeons, along with everything else, chandeliers, pictures, the loveliest furniture, until the rooms and halls were naked and echoing dark caverns one hated to walk through alone.  The hothouses were no more.  Chestry Oak was dead.       Yes, one had to walk on tiptoe, remembering to look carefully ahead and turn quickly away before one was faced with something ruined or dead.  The thing to do was make little tunnels of throughways, from now to once-upon-a-time, each leading to a lovely thing to remember.  Something like the ancient vaulted passageway deep underground, that led from the castle to the stable-buildings.  In very, very bad weather it was still used; he had been through it a few times and it had always been fun too -- the long, long shivery walk, everything smelling old and damp, full of scurryings of unseen little beasts -- then suddenly one popped into the tackroom that smelled of clean leather and wax and horses.   -Kate Seredy, The Chestry Oak (1948), p. 60  

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