Child and sea

The child tears itself free of my hands to stay by itself with the sea. On the edge of the earth it stands, at a threshold that crumbles into eternity. A little voice sprouting from the sand says to the hundred voices of the sea, "Come and catch me if you can!" And the white-maned element is there, its endlessness abandoned for a game. A wave dashes at his heels, reaching for him hissing, splashing, and then retreats, pretending fear, driven off by little naked feet. "The sea's running away!" Though next moment the wave returns once more, acting as though enraged, threatening him with its foaming mouth. He runs from it shouting boldly, slapped by a wet palm from behind, both of them braying laughter. So on and on child and sea will play forever, unless I part them forcibly, intending to carry the child away to hands and words, none of which he comprehends, leading him imperceptibly, and step by step, toward exile from his rapport with the world. Translated from the Bulgarian by Jascha Kessler and Alexander Shurbanov

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