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Knjiga

Čarovnica s Četrte ulice in druge povesti

Myron Levoy»

prevod: Uroš Kalčič

naslovnica: Vesna Vidmar, ilustracija Boštjan Plesničar

ilustracije: Boštjan Plesničar

format: 148 × 210

strani: 200

vezava: trda

izid: 2011

ISBN: 978-961-241-553-2

razprodano

Cathy Dunn je vedela: če starki ne bo dajala kovancev, jo bo čarovnica začarala v kuščarja. Ali v kozo. Ali pa v pajka, tako majčkenega, da jo bo mama pohodila. A nekega dne je vseeno sklenila, da ji ne da svojega centa – in še istega dne je dobila vročino.
Cathy je samo eden izmed mnogih otrok, ki so s starši prišli v New York, iskat boljše življenje. Tu imamo potem še gospoda Keplika, »vžigalkarja«, ki gradi mojstrovine iz vžigalic; pa Noreen Callahan, ki jo je sram delati v smrdljivi očetovi ribarnici; in poleg drugih celo posebnega Božička, ki obdaruje judovske otroke za njihov praznik!
Dvojezična izdaja knjige Čarovnica s Četrte ulice in druge povesti je zbirka nadvse prijetnih, magičnih zgodbic o imigrantskih družinah in njihovem vsakdanu, ki s pomočjo humorja in domišljije ni nikoli čisto navaden. Knjiga je še posebno primerna za glasno branje v slovenščini in angleščini, ki mu bodo radi prisluhnili otroci in mladi vseh starostnih skupin.

Prevod knjige je finančno podprlo Veleposlaništvo Združenih držav Amerike v Sloveniji.

Preberite odlomek

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Prelepa kmetija gospe Dunn

Gospa Dunn si je od nekdaj želela kmetije. Dublin, kjer je živela, preden je prišla v Ameriko, je bilo veliko mesto, z gnečo na ulicah in hrupnimi vozovi, ki so drdrali po kamnitem tlaku, možje so nenehno iskali delo, otrok pa je bila sama kost in koža in so bili nenehno lačni.
Tako ji je moral mož obljubiti, da bosta v Ameriki, kamor sta se selila, privarčevala sleherni cent, ki jima bo ostal, in si s prihranjenim denarjem kupila kmetijo. Lepo kmetijo s kokošmi in kravami in krompirjem, s sladkim vonjem po detelji in veselo žuborečim potočkom, ki bo tekel pred vrati. Kmetijo, kjer bosta njuna otroka, Cathy in Neil, lahko prišla do dobre sveže hrane ter v miru odraščala in se veselo prekopicevala. Lepo, prelepo kmetijo.
Potem ko so prispeli v New York, skupaj z drugimi tisočimi priseljenci iz Irske, Italije, Madžarske in Rusije, so se Dunnovi vselili v majhno stanovanje v drugem nadstropju velike najemniške hiše blizu Druge avenije. Eni sosedje so se pisali DeMarco, drugi pa Kandel. V Dublinu so imeli vsi irske priimke, zato je bilo to zanje nekaj novega in majčkeno strah zbujajočega. Ampak novi sosedje so jih prav prijazno sprejeli in jih za nameček posvarili pred gospodom Warfieldom, strašnim, trdosrčnim gospodarjem. Gospodu in gospe Dunn je bilo takoj lažje pri srcu, zaradi gospodarja pa si nista delala preveč skrbi, saj so bili hišni lastniki tudi v Dublinu vse prej kot prijazni. Pa tudi drugih reči sta se prav hitro privadila.
Potem si je moral gospod Dunn najti delo. Dolgo ga je iskal, in naposled se je zaposlil kot nakladač premoga. Zajemal je premog in ga metal na kovinsko drčo, po kateri je kakor ogljena reka hrumel v hišne kleti. Včasih je stal na kupu premoga na tovornjaku in ga potiskal skozi pravokotno luknjo na drčo. Drugič spet je plezal po gori premoga spodaj v kleti in odstranjeval črne grude z drče, da niso zaustavljale novih in novih pošiljk premoga, ki je hrumel v premogovni zabojnik.
Ko je gospod Dunn ob večerih prišel domov, je bil tudi sam videti kako velik kos premoga. No, ampak po temeljiti kopeli in topli večerji je bil spet skoraj tak kot nekdanji gospod Dunn.
Plača je sicer zadostovala za najemnino in za to, da so si za čez zimo lahko kupili plašče, pa tudi malo več jagnjetine in masla so si lahko privoščili kakor nekdaj v Dublinu, a prihraniti se denarja ni dalo kaj prida. Po letu dni je gospa Dunn v svoji skrivni prazni škatli od kosmičev naštela štiri dolarje in dvaindevetdeset centov, gospod Dunn pa je imel v svoji brivski skodeli osem dolarjev in dvanajst centov.
Če bo šlo tako naprej, je premišljevala gospa Dunn, nikoli ne bomo imeli dovolj za kmetijo. Treba je bilo kupiti nove čevlje, novo odejo, večji lonec za obaro pa to in ono in še kaj. Zatorej se je gospa Dunn odločila, in njena odločitev je bila trdna kot skala, da morajo takoj, pri tisti priči kupiti kmetijo, čeprav samo delček nje, sicer se jim bo denar razkadil kakor megla nad dublinskimi dimniki. In gospod Dunn je moral priznati, da ima čisto prav.
Takoj naslednjega dne je gospa Dunn kupila kokoš. Na tržnici so ji povedali, da je dobra, zanesljiva nesnica, rdečka z Rhode Islanda, najboljša, kar jih je. Gospa Dunn jo je zavila v šal, si jo vtaknila pod pazduho in jo odnesla tistih pet ulic do domače kuhinje. Tam jo je odložila na tla in jo gledala, kako bahavo stopiclja po rumenem linoleju.
Otroka sta jo imenovala Amelija, zato pač, ker jima je bilo to ime všeč, in sta jo krmila z zrnjem, koruzo in krušnimi drobtinicami. Gospod Dunn je iz skladišča premoga znosil domov lesenih lat in iz njih zbil kletko. Potem je Ameliji iz še nekaj lat in žične ograje naredil majhen kokošnjak in ga zadelal s prstjo, pomešano s kamenčki, da je lahko kokoška brskala po njej. Iz klobučevine, ki jo je dobil iz starih klobukov, pa je napravil lična, mehka gnezdišča.
Ameliji se je kmalu pridružila Agata in nato še Adelina. Zdaj sta Dunnove v klobučevinastih gnezdih vsako jutro čakali dve sveži, slastni jajci, včasih tudi tri. Cathy in Neil sta imela Agato, Amelijo in Adelino srčno rada, kot da bi bile njune sestre. In vsaka kokoška je bila malo drugačna: Amelija je bila silno ponosna, že skoraj prevzetna kot kakšen petelin; Agata je kar naprej nekaj brkljala in vsepovsod vtikala kljun; Adelina pa je bila plaha in je najrajši posedala v kletki in si trebila perje. Kmalu so še drugi otroci v hiši začeli prinašati kokošim darilca: Aaron Kandel jim je nosil koščke velikanskega oblata, ki mu Judje pravijo matzo in ki ga je imela Adelina še zlasti v čislih; Fred Reinhardt je prinašal ostanke gosto zbitega kruha, ki mu Nemci pravijo pumpernickel; Vincenc DeMarco pa posušena semena čičerke. Gospa Dunn se je dečkom tu in tam oddolžila s svežim jajcem, da so ga odnesli domov.
No, in zdaj je bila na vrsti zelenjava, zakaj kdo je že slišal za kaj takega, kot je kmetija brez zelenjave? Gospod Dunn je torej zbil velike, globoke zaboje, jih napolnil s prstjo in vanjo zasejal semena. Potem jih je zložil na podest požarnega stopnišča pod oknom spalnice. Ko je bil podest do zadnjega kotička zadelan z zaboji, je z njimi obložil še stopnice, ki so držale do naslednjega podesta. Kmalu je požarno stopnišče vzbrstelo v zelenju bujnih poganjkov paradižnika, stročjega fižola, krompirja, čebule in peteršilja. Na vsaki okenski polici pa so stali lončki z začimbami: z rožmarinom, timijanom, meto in drobnjakom.
Čez teden je gospa Dunn skrbno plela in zalivala »požarni vrtiček« in krmila kokoši. Ob nedeljah pa je gospod Dunn, potem ko si je že tretjič zapovrstjo skušal zmiti z obraza in rok še zadnje ostanke premogovega prahu, popravljal žično ograjo, podpiral odganjajočo zelenjavo z visokimi palicami in vrvico ter zbijal nove zaboje. Potem sta skupaj z ženo hodila iz sobe v sobo in občudovala lončke z začimbami, zelenjavo, kokoši in gobice, ki so rasle v ploskih posodah na okenskih policah.
Nekega dne pa je prišel pobrat najemnino strašni, trdosrčni hišni lastnik, gospod Warfield. Ravno je nameraval vstopiti v hišo, ko se je nanj, sončnemu vremenu v posmeh, usula plohica in mu omočila klobuk. Snel si je klobuk in si ga nejeverno ogledal, kajti na nebu ni bilo niti oblačka. Mogoče je pa kdo izmed stanovalcev zlil pomije skoz okno? Ozrl se je navzgor in zažugal s pestjo proti nevidnemu sovražniku pri vrhu hiše.
Tedaj je zazijal od osuplosti in pest mu je odrevenela v zraku, zakaj tam zgoraj, v tretjem nadstropju, je kovinske rešetke požarnega stopnišča prepletal nekakšen viseči vrt. Neka ženska je zalivala to zeleno fatamorgano s kanglico in nekaj vode je kapljalo z enega stopniščnega podesta na drugega in nazadnje kapnilo gospodu Warfieldu na glavo.

© Modrijan založba, d. o. o., 2011

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Mrs. Dunn's Lovely, Lovely Farm

Mrs. Dunn had always wanted a farm. Back in the old country, she had lived in the great city of Dublin with its crowded streets and noisy carts over the cobblestones, with its men forever looking for work, and its thin children, forever hungry.
She had made her husband promise that when they came to America they would save every penny they possibly could, so that in time they could buy a farm. A lovely farm with chickens and cows and potatoes, with the smell of sweet clover and the giggle of a brook always beyond the door. Where their children, Cathy and Neil, could have good fresh food, could grow and run and tumble. A lovely, lovely farm.
When they arrived in New York, with other thousands from Ireland and Italy and Hungary and Russia, they moved into a little apartment on the third floor of a building near Second Avenue. One of their neighbors was named DeMarco and another was named Kandel. In Dublin everyone had Irish names; this was something new and different, and a little frightening. But the neighbors said hello and smiled and warned them about Mr. Warfield, the terrible, horrible landlord. And Mr. and Mrs. Dunn felt much better, because in Dublin the landlords had been terrible and horrible, too. Things were becoming familiar very quickly.
The next task was for Mr. Dunn to find work. After much searching, he found a job hauling coal. He helped send the coal roaring like a river down a metal chute into the basements of buildings. Sometimes he would stand on the mound of coal in the back of the truck and coax it down through a square hole into the chute. And sometimes he would stand on the coal pile down in the cellar, clearing the coal away from the bottom of the chute so that more coal and still more coal could come roaring down into the coal bin.
Mr. Dunn would come home every night looking just like a great lump of coal, himself. But after a good washing and a hot dinner, Mr. Dunn looked almost like Mr. Dunn again.
And though they could pay the rent and buy coats for the winter, and could afford a little more lamb and butter than they could in Dublin, they couldn't seem to save much money. After a year, Mrs. Dunn counted four dollars and ninety-two cents in her secret empty cereal box, and Mr. Dunn had eight dollars and twelve cents in his shaving mug.
At that rate, they would never have enough for a farm. There were new shoes needed, and a new blanket, and a bigger stew pot, and this, and that, and the other. So Mrs. Dunn made a firm decision. They must buy their farm now, as much of it as they could, or the money would vanish like a mist over the chimneys of Dublin. And Mr. Dunn had to admit she was right.
That very next day, Mrs. Dunn bought a hen. They had told her at the market that it was a good dependable laying hen, a Rhode Island Red, the best. Mrs. Dunn wrapped the hen in a scarf, tucked it under her arm, and carried it five blocks back to her kitchen. Then she put the hen on the floor and watched it strut on the yellow linoleum.
The children named it Amelia for no special reason, and fed it cereal and corn and crusts of bread. Mr. Dunn brought home scraps of wood from the coal yard and built a coop. Then with more wood and some chicken wire, he built a little barnyard filled with dirt and pebbles in which Amelia could scratch. And he took some old felt hats and shaped them into nice, soft nests.
Soon, Amelia was joined by Agatha, and then Adeline. Now there were two eggs, sometimes three, every morning in the hat-nests, fresh and delicious. Cathy and Neil loved Agatha and Amelia and Adeline as if they were their own sisters. Each hen was different: Amelia was very, very proud and strutted as if she were a rooster; Agatha was a busybody, forever poking into everything; Adeline was shy and loved to sit in the coop and preen. Soon, the other children in the building started bringing the three hens little presents: Aaron Kandel brought pieces of a huge, flat, dry cracker called matzo which Adeline particularly loved; Fred Reinhardt brought scraps of thick pumpernickel bread; and Vincent DeMarco brought dried seeds called chick peas. And sometimes, Mrs. Dunn would give one of the children a freshly laid egg to take home.
Now, it was time for the vegetables, for who ever heard of a farm without vegetables? Mr. Dunn built large, deep boxes, filled them with earth, and planted seeds. Then he put them on the fire escape outside the bedroom window. When the fire-escape landing was covered with boxes, he put new boxes on the iron stairs leading up to the next landing. Soon, the fire escape was blooming with the green shoots of tomato plants, string beans, potatoes, onions, and parsley. And on every windowsill were pots of spices: rosemary, thyme, mint, chives.
On weekdays, Mrs. Dunn carefully weeded and watered the fire-escape garden and fed the chickens. And on Sundays, after he had tried to wash the last of the coal from his face and hands for the third time, Mr. Dunn would repair the chicken wire, and prop up the growing vegetables with tall sticks and string, and build new boxes. Then he and Mrs. Dunn would walk from room to room, admiring the pots of spices, the vegetables, the chickens, and the mushrooms growing in flat boxes on the kitchen shelves.
But one day, Mr. Warfield, the terrible, horrible landlord came to collect the rents. As he was about to enter the building, a sun shower drenched his hat. He took off the hat and looked at it with disbelief, for there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Perhaps a tenant had spilled some dishwater on him, from above. He looked up and shook his fist toward the top of the building, at the hidden enemy.
His mouth dropped in astonishment and he forgot to bring down his fist, for up above, three stories up, was a hanging garden twining about the metal bars of the fire escape. A lady was watering the green mirage with a watering can, and some of it had dripped down the fire escape from landing to landing until it finally splashed on Mr. Warfield's head.

© Myron Levoy, 1972

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