표지에 호기심이 일어 사봤다가 모리스 센닥이 쓴 서문을 보고는 (사실 서문을 잘 읽지 않는 편이라 넘기려 했는데 마지막 장에 모리스 센닥이라는 이름이 있는 것을 발견하고는 다시 돌아가서 읽었음 ㅋㅋ) 기대에 차서 읽었던 책이다. 읽으면서 센닥이 딱 좋아했을 법한 이야기라는 생각을 했다. 소재가 참신하면서도 은근 심오하고 (단순 애들 동화라고 하기에는 아이들이 이해할 수 없는 영역의 철학적인 고뇌가 담겨 있음) 진짜... 진짜 재밌다.
다만 요새 내가 책을 닥치는 대로 사들이는 나쁜 버릇이 생겨서 이것저것 읽어 대느라 이 책에는 아마도 읽어야 할 다른 책들이 없었더라면, 그리고 심적 여유가 더 있었더라면 들였을 애정과 시간을 충분히 쏟아붓지를 못했다.. 근래에 문학에 대한 흥미를 급격히 잃어서 비문학 위주로 읽기 시작한 영향도 없진 않고. 읽는 동안 재밌다는 생각은 하면서도 이런 순수하고 좋은 이야기를 읽을 만큼의 여유가 내 가슴에 남아 있질 않구나 싶어서 서글펐다.
There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself—not just sometimes, but always. When he was in school he longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in. On the way he thought about coming home, and coming home he thought about going. Wherever he was he wished he were somewhere else, and when he got there he wondered why he’d bothered.
As he and his unhappy thoughts hurried along (for while he was never anxious to be where he was going, he liked to get there as quickly as possible) it seemed a great wonder that the world, which was so large, could sometimes feel so small and empty.
“I don’t know of any wrong road to Dictionopolis, so if this road goes to Dictionopolis at all it must be the right road, and if it doesn’t it must be the right road to somewhere else, because there are no wrong roads to anywhere.
“What kind of a place is Expectations?” inquired Milo, unable to see the humor and feeling very doubtful of the little man’s sanity. “Good question, good question,” he exclaimed. “Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you’re going. Of course, some people never go beyond Expectations, but my job is to hurry them along whether they like it or not.
Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens.
“Ordinance 175389-J: It shall be unlawful, illegal, and unethical to think, think of thinking, surmise, presume, reason, meditate, or speculate while in the Doldrums. Anyone breaking this law shall be severely punished!”
“Well, if you can’t laugh or think, what can you do?” asked Milo. “Anything as long as it’s nothing, and everything as long as it isn’t anything,” explained another. “There’s lots to do; we have a very busy schedule—— “At 8 o’clock we get up, and then we spend “From 8 to 9 daydreaming. “From 9 to 9:30 we take our early midmorning nap. “From 9:30 to 10:30 we dawdle and delay. “From 10:30 to 11:30 we take our late early morning nap. “From 11:30 to 12:00 we bide our time and then eat lunch. “From 1:00 to 2:00 we linger and loiter. “From 2:00 to 2:30 we take our early afternoon nap. “From 2:30 to 3:30 we put off for tomorrow what we could have done today. “From 3:30 to 4:00 we take our early late afternoon nap. “From 4:00 to 5:00 we loaf and lounge until dinner. “From 6:00 to 7:00 we dillydally. “From 7:00 to 8:00 we take our early evening nap, and then for an hour before we go to bed at 9:00 we waste time.
“You see,” continued another in a more conciliatory tone, “it’s really quite strenuous doing nothing all day, so once a week we take a holiday and go nowhere, which was just where we were going when you came along. Would you care to join us?”
All the colors had returned to their original brightness, and as they raced along the road Milo continued to think of all sorts of things; of the many detours and wrong turns that were so easy to take, of how fine it was to be moving along, and, most of all, of how much could be accomplished with just a little thought.
“When my brother was born, the first pup in the family, my parents were overjoyed and immediately named him Tick in expectation of the sound they were sure he’d make. On first winding him, they discovered to their horror that, instead of going tickticktickticktick, he went tocktocktocktocktocktock. They rushed to the Hall of Records to change the name, but too late. It had already been officially inscribed, and nothing could be done. When I arrived, they were determined not to make the same mistake twice and, since it seemed logical that all their children would make the same sound, they named me Tock. Of course, you know the rest—my brother is called Tick because he goes tocktocktocktocktocktocktock and I am called Tock because I go tickticktickticktickticktick and both of us are forever burdened with the wrong names. My parents were so overwrought that they gave up having any more children and devoted their lives to doing good work among the poor and hungry.”
“You see,” he continued, beginning to feel better, “once there was no time at all, and people found it very inconvenient. They never knew whether they were eating lunch or dinner, and they were always missing trains. So time was invented to help them keep track of the day and get places when they should. When they began to count all the time that was available, what with 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year, it seemed as if there was much more than could ever be used. ‘If there’s so much of it, it couldn’t be very valuable,’ was the general opinion, and it soon fell into disrepute. People wasted it and even gave it away. Then we were given the job of seeing that no one wasted time again,”
“Besides,” explained the second, “one word is as good as another—so why not use them all?” “Then you don’t have to choose which one is right,” advised the third. “Besides,” sighed the fourth, “if one is right, then ten are ten times as right.”
“I didn’t know they grew at all,” admitted Milo even more timidly. Several people shook their heads sadly. “Well, money doesn’t grow on trees, does it?” demanded the count. “I’ve heard not,” said Milo. “Then something must. Why not words?” exclaimed the undersecretary triumphantly. The crowd cheered his display of logic and continued about its business.
“I never knew words could be so confusing,” Milo said to Tock as he bent down to scratch the dog’s ear. “Only when you use a lot to say a little,” answered Tock.
“These are for people who like to make their own words,” the man in charge informed him. “You can pick any assortment you like or buy a special box complete with all letters, punctuation marks, and a book of instructions. Here, taste an A; they’re very good.” Milo nibbled carefully at the letter and discovered that it was quite sweet and delicious—just the way you’d expect an A to taste.
“A’s are one of our most popular letters. All of them aren’t that good,” he confided in a low voice. “Take the Z, for instance—very dry and sawdusty. And the X? Why, it tastes like a trunkful of stale air. That’s why people hardly ever use them. But most of the others are quite tasty. Try some more.”
“Done what you’ve looked,” angrily shouted one of the salesmen. He meant to say “Look what you’ve done,” but the words had gotten so hopelessly mixed up that no one could make any sense at all. “Do going to we what are!” complained another, as everyone set about straightening things up as well as they could.
“AHA!” interrupted Officer Shrift, making another note in his little book. “Just as I thought: boys are the cause of everything.”
“SILENCE!” thundered the policeman, pulling himself up to full height and glaring menacingly at the terrified bug. “And now,” he continued, speaking to Milo, “where were you on the night of July 27?” “What does that have to do with it?” asked Milo. “It’s my birthday, that’s what,” said the policeman as he entered “Forgot my birthday” in his little book. “Boys always forget other people’s birthdays.
ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ이 대목이 이 소설 최고의 명대사라고 생각한다
“Good point,” replied the policeman, taking off his cap and putting on a long black robe. “I am also the judge. Now would you like a long or a short sentence?” “A short one, if you please,” said Milo. “Good,” said the judge, rapping his gavel three times. “I always have trouble remembering the long ones. How about ‘I am’? That’s the shortest sentence I know.” Everyone agreed that it was a very fair sentence, and the judge continued: “There will also be a small additional penalty of six million years in prison. Case closed,” he pronounced, rapping his gavel again. “Come with me. I’ll take you to the dungeon.”
“Don’t be frightened,” she laughed. “I’m not a witch—I’m a Which.” “Oh,” said Milo, because he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Well,” said the old lady, just as a rat scurried across her foot, “I am the king’s great-aunt. For years and years I was in charge of choosing which words were to be used for all occasions, which ones to say and which ones not to say, which ones to write and which ones not to write. As you can well imagine, with all the thousands to choose from, it was a most important and responsible job. I was given the title of ‘Official Which,’ which made me very proud and happy.
“I thank you very much,” said Faintly Macabre. “You may call me Aunt Faintly. Here, have a punctuation mark.” And she held out a box of sugar-coated question marks, periods, commas, and exclamation points. “That’s all I get to eat now.”
“Be very quiet,” advised the duke, “for it goes without saying.” And, sure enough, as soon as they were all quite still, it began to move quickly through the streets, and in a very short time they arrived at the royal palace.
“Are you ready with the menu?” reminded the Humbug. “Well,” said Milo, remembering that his mother had always told him to eat lightly when he was a guest, “why don’t we have a light meal?” “A light meal it shall be,” roared the bug, waving his arms. The waiters rushed in carrying large serving platters and set them on the table in front of the king. When he lifted the covers, shafts of brilliant-colored light leaped from the plates and bounced around the ceiling, the walls, across the floor, and out the windows. “Not a very substantial meal,” said the Humbug, rubbing his eyes, “but quite an attractive one. Perhaps you can suggest something a little more filling.”
“That’s ridiculous. How can they eat dinner right after a banquet?” asked Milo. “SCANDALOUS!” shouted the king. “We’ll put a stop to it at once. From now on, by royal command, everyone must eat dinner before the banquet.” “But that’s just as bad,” protested Milo. “You mean just as good,” corrected the Humbug. “Things which are equally bad are also equally good. Try to look at the bright side of things.”
Milo and Tock wondered what strange adventures lay ahead. The Humbug speculated on how he’d ever become involved in such a hazardous undertaking. And the crowd waved and cheered wildly, for, while they didn’t care at all about anyone arriving, they were always very pleased to see someone go.
“For instance,” continued the boy, “if you happened to like deserts, you might not think this was beautiful at all.” “That’s true,” said the Humbug, who didn’t like to contradict anyone whose feet were that far off the ground. “For instance,” said the boy again, “if Christmas trees were people and people were Christmas trees, we’d all be chopped down, put up in the living room, and covered with tinsel, while the trees opened our presents.” “What does that have to do with it?” asked Milo. “Nothing at all,” he answered, “but it’s an interesting possibility, don’t you think?”
“Well,” said the boy, “in my family everyone is born in the air, with his head at exactly the height it’s going to be when he’s an adult, and then we all grow toward the ground. When we’re fully grown up or, as you can see, grown down, our feet finally touch. Of course, there are a few of us whose feet never reach the ground no matter how old we get, but I suppose it’s the same in every family.”
“Oh no,” said Milo seriously. “In my family we all start on the ground and grow up, and we never know how far until we actually get there.” “What a silly system.” The boy laughed. “Then your head keeps changing its height and you always see things in a different way? Why, when you’re fifteen things won’t look at all the way they did when you were ten, and at twenty everything will change again.”
“But there are many other ways to look at things,” remarked the boy. “For instance, you had orange juice, boiled eggs, toast and jam, and milk for breakfast,” he said, turning to Milo. “And you are always worried about people wasting time,” he said to Tock. “And you are almost never right about anything,” he said, pointing at the Humbug, “and, when you are, it’s usually an accident.” “A gross exaggeration,” protested the furious bug, who didn’t realize that so much was visible to the naked eye.
“Interesting, wasn’t it?” asked Alec. “Yes, it was,” agreed Milo, rubbing his head and dusting himself off, “but I think I’ll continue to see things as a child. It’s not so far to fall.” “A wise decision, at least for the time being,” said Alec. “Everyone should have his own point of view.” “Isn’t this everyone’s Point of View?” asked Tock, looking around curiously. “Of course not,” replied Alec, sitting himself down on nothing. “It’s only mine, and you certainly can’t always look at things from someone else’s Point of View. For instance, from here that looks like a bucket of water,” he said, pointing to a bucket of water; “but from an ant’s point of view it’s a vast ocean, from an elephant’s just a cool drink, and to a fish, of course, it’s home. So, you see, the way you see things depends a great deal on where you look at them from. Now, come along and I’ll show you the rest of the forest.”
Milo and Tock walked up to the door, whose brass name plate read simply “THE GIANT,” and knocked. “Good afternoon,” said the perfectly ordinary-sized man who answered the door. “Are you the giant?” asked Tock doubtfully. “To be sure,” he replied proudly. “I’m the smallest giant in the world. What can I do for you?” “Are we lost?” said Milo.
“How are you?” inquired the man, who looked exactly like the giant. “Are you the midget?” asked Tock again, with a hint of uncertainty in his voice. “Unquestionably,” he answered. “I’m the tallest midget in the world. May I help you?”
“You must be the fat man,” said Tock, learning not to count too much on appearance. “The thinnest one in the world,” he replied brightly; “but if you have any questions, I suggest you try the thin man, on the other side of the house.” Just as they suspected, the other side of the house looked the same as the front, the back, and the side, and the door was again answered by a man who looked precisely like the other three.
“Are you the fattest thin man in the world?” asked Tock. “Do you know one that’s fatter?” he asked impatiently. “I think you’re all the same man,” said Milo emphatically. “S-S-S-S-S-H-H-H-H-H-H-H,” he cautioned, putting his finger up to his lips and drawing Milo closer. “Do you want to ruin everything? You see, to tall men I’m a midget, and to short men I’m a giant; to the skinny ones I’m a fat man, and to the fat ones I’m a thin man. That way I can hold four jobs at once. As you can see, though, I’m neither tall nor short nor fat nor thin. In fact, I’m quite ordinary, but there are so many ordinary men that no one asks their opinion about anything. Now what is your question?”
“Sometimes it’s much simpler than seeing things that are,” he said. “For instance, if something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn’t there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed. That’s why imaginary things are often easier to see than real ones.”
“Business wasn’t always so good. Years ago, everyone wanted pleasant sounds and, except for a few orders during wars and earthquakes, things were very bad. But then the big cities were built and there was a great need for honking horns, screeching trains, clanging bells, deafening shouts, piercing shrieks, gurgling drains, and all the rest of those wonderfully unpleasant sounds we use so much of today. Without them people would be very unhappy, so I make sure that they get as much as they want. Why, if you take a little of my medicine every day, you’ll never have to hear a beautiful sound again. Here, try some.”
“Besides,” growled Tock, who decided that he didn’t much like Dr. Dischord, “there is no such illness as lack of noise.” “Of course not,” replied the doctor, pouring himself a small glass of the liquid; “that’s what makes it so difficult to cure. I only treat illnesses that don’t exist: that way, if I can’t cure them, there’s no harm done—just one of the precautions of the trade,”
“The dreadful RAUW,” cried the anguished DYNNE, “was my grandfather. He perished in the great silence epidemic of 1712.” Milo felt so sorry for the unhappy DYNNE that he gave him his handkerchief, which was immediately covered in bluish smoggy tears. “Thank you,” groaned the DYNNE; “that’s very kind. But I certainly can’t understand why you don’t like noise,” he said. “Why, I heard an explosion last week that was so lovely I cried for two days.”
“Pardon me,” interrupted Milo as the phone continued to ring, “but aren’t you going to answer it?” “Oh no, not in the middle of the program,” she replied, and turned the silence up a little louder. “But it may be important,” insisted Milo. “Not at all,” she assured him; “it’s only me. It gets so lonely around here, with no sounds to distribute or collect, that I call myself seven or eight times a day just to see how I am.”