The gift of an inquisitive nature to the young can be greater than the wisdom which comes of age

boy with book

A happy Redwall fan

Cornflower, Winifred, Foremole and baby Rollo sat at table with the Abbot and Constance. The slim stone tablet lay on a folded towel to prevent any damage.

Over a supper of mushroom soup, apple and celery slice, hazelnut bread and hotspice herb beverage, Cornflower had related the strange tale, not forgetting the part baby Rollo had played.

Abbot Mordalfus shook his head in wonderment. “Marvelous! You found the tomb of our Founder, Abbess Germaine, thanks to baby Rollo. Sometimes the gift of an inquisitive nature to the young can be greater than that of the wisdom which comes of age. I trust you put the stone back when you left.”

Foremole tugged his snout respectfully. “Hurr, ‘deed oi did zurr, she’m all shut in again naow.”

“Pity, I’d have loved to see it, just once,” Mordalfus sighed.

Constance indicated the tablet with an impatient paw. “Please, can we get on with this? What does the writing say on the stone?”

by Brian Jacques (born 15 June 1939)
from Mattimeo (1989)
Chapter 21
image – mind on fire

Over here you, young scallawag!

Remember when Redwall was at its height? Twelve years ago, nine out of ten bookish eleven year-olds were carrying around some edition from the Redwall series. Die hard fans requested scones with meadowcream, or other foods enjoyed by Redwall characters. I used to bake for a living, so scones were no problem, but meadowcream? I was the mother of a die hard fan, so I googled (back then maybe it was Alta Vista,) found recipes and discovered that Redwall was a phenomenon with a huge fan base.

Only then did I get curious about Brian Jacques. As I recall, his website at the time was run by a teenager who met Jacques after sending in fan mail. One thing led to another, as often happens in correspondence between the curious and focused, and ideas were born. Soon this boy, a budding web designer, offered to put up a website.

One of the factoids on the site was that some of Jacques’s early stories were inspired by reading to children in a school for the blind, where he continued to volunteer for many years – and probably still does today. How charming! This was a guy who loved books and had a talent for writing, but grew up poor in an area where most kids dropped out of school early to get jobs and help support their families. His formal education ended at 15, though I doubt that Jacques ever stopped learning. Eventually, a friend showed Redwall to a publisher and in his 40’s Brian Jacques became a popular author.

Pretty soon, I was the one writing fan mail — to Brian Jacques’s teenage webmaster. Back then I was too shy to go directly to the man himself. What can I say? I’m a late bloomer.

I’ve got to say that I love stories about kind, determined people who keep plugging away at their gifts, and it doesn’t hurt at all to hear about authors who come into their own later in life. Andre Norton is another example.

Mice are my heroes because, like children, mice are little and have to learn to be courageous and use their wits.
by Brian Jacques
from About BrianWhere do his ideas come from?

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