July 30, 2013
La Comtesse de Ségur.
La Comtesse de Ségur is best known for Les Malheurs de Sophie, but Xavier garnished each night of our stay in Provence with a chapter from Mémoires d'un âne (1860) - the life of a donkey told from his own perspective...how he has both benevolent and evil owners, how he saves a little girl from a fire, comforts a chronically sick girl, finds toddler orphans on his path, encounters bands of thieves and recounts small moments of donkey glory - all set in the Second Empire of la belle France. All the little ones tucked under the sheets listening with cocked heads at times, asking about little-used French words deployed by the Comtesse, admiring Cadichon the donkey along the way. These are the moments I learn the most about the French, their language and our cultural differences. We Americans love a happy ending to every tale, whereas the French - even for their littlest beings - don't mind calamity punctuating the tale.