Sunday, 17 April 2016

Night Terrors: The Return of the Dreaded Anthelope

I'm fascinated by the way that children hear a word and make up the (wrong) meaning for it. I was guilty of this myself as a child. Apparently, I told my parents repeatedly that there was a 'hippotmus in Teasy's bedoom'.

Mum, understandably dismissed the idea. Given that we were living in North London at the time, the notion that there might be a large mammal from sub-Saharan Africa roaming around upstairs was fairly remote.  I was, however, fairly insistent about its presence. And, fed up with not being believed, I picked up the 'hippotmus' and carried it downstairs in my clenched fist.

I opened my hand to show my disbelieving parent the 'hippotmus' at which point it stung me. Somewhere along the way I had inexplicably substituted 'wasp' for 'hippotmus'.

Eddie has woken up a couple of times of late in absolute terror.  He explains that he is being chased by a giant 'anthelope'.  Initially, I thought he meant 'antelope' and I tried to explain that this deer-like creature wasn't terribly scary.  There is obviously a similar disconnect though between the noun and what it represents because Eddie is insistent about the danger of  this anthelope and dismissive of the idea that it might be related to Bambi.

At some point the mystery of the dreaded anthelope will, I am sure, reveal itself.  Meanwhile, we must against the danger of this creature. Difficult to do that when you aren't sure quite what it is.  Perhaps anthelopes truly are terrifying.  Frankly, I hope not to find out.

Currently reading: Lilies on the Land, a play by the Lions part

No comments:

Post a Comment